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A Human Rights Tribunal adjudicator ruled that not all negative comments violate the law.

Sometimes it’s just bad manners.

Telling someone to “return to Quebec” is not a violation of the Human Rights Code, a British Columbia court ruled.

According to a story in Blacklock reporter, a discrimination complaint was dismissed by the court, which found that, rather than discriminatory in nature, the comment was simply rude.

Tribunal Arbitrator Devyn Cousineau wrote: “This type of comment falls under the category of comments that are rude and disrespectful, but which do not constitute a violation of the Human Rights Code. “

The complaint was registered by Quebec-born Jonathan April, who complained that he was mocked by Salvation Army personnel at a halfway house in Victoria. April testified about an incident in 2017 in which a manager told her, “If you’re not happy here, why don’t you go back to Quebec?”

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Although the Salvation Army denies that this ever happened, according to the court report, April said the comment caused other staff to laugh at him, leaving him humiliated and stigmatized.

Cousineau concluded that this single comment is not negative enough to violate the Human Rights Code, especially since it does not invoke any harmful stereotypes or insults towards Quebecers.

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The court ruled that all the circumstances should be taken into account in all cases alleging discrimination from a single comment, including: “the context in which the comment was made, whether an apology was offered, and whether or not the recipient of the comment was a member of a group historically discriminated against.

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Neither of those things applied in this case, the court found.

Even if Blacklock reports that other courts have also been cautious about sanctioning occasional remarks, it must be said that incidents of hate and racism increased dramatically in British Columbia and other provinces during COVID-19.



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