Human rights complaint filed after B.C. mom’s maternity benefits clawed back

EI benefits alleged to have been deducted to offset disability assistance

VANCOUVER — A human rights complaint has been filed on behalf of a mother whose maternity and parental benefits were clawed back by the B.C. government.

The Community Legal Assistance Society filed the complaint on behalf of Sooke resident Jess Alford, whose partner receives disability assistance.

Alford received Employment Insurance benefits after the birth of her child in 2014, but the complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal alleges all the money was deducted to offset disability assistance paid by the province to her partner.

According to the Community Legal Assistance Society, the B.C. government claws back maternity and parental benefits from primarily female claimants in about 150 families every year.

The society says that amounts to sex discrimination contrary to human rights law because the policy puts families with a female wage earner in a worse financial position than families with a male worker.

Lawyer Laura Johnston says although the complaint was filed after the permitted time frame, the tribunal has agreed to hear it because it is in the public interest.

“This complaint is about changing the policy so other families don’t have to experience this,” Johnston said.

“The B.C. government could step up and say, ‘We are going to fix this human rights problem and we are going to change this policy,’ and that would solve the complaint,” she said. “But if the B.C. government chooses to fight this complaint and put this family through litigation, it could take many more months.”

A hearing date has not yet been set by the tribunal but talks will begin with the province in hopes of avoiding a lengthy legal battle, Johnston said.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Arguments ramp up against proposed Sooke daycare

Proposed Church Road facility clears the latest hurdle

Lengthy cannabis report leaves Sooke council with questions

Temporary use option for pot producers seen as untenable

UVic announces review into circumstances of fatal bus crash

Upcoming student trip on the same route not cancelled

Saanich police injured while arresting suspect

Man accused of shoplifting pulls out a knife, struggles with arresting officers

Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team to soar to soar over Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Red Arrows fly past Sept. 26 over the parliament and Inner Harbour

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

Tim Hortons dropping Beyond Meat products from menus except in B.C. and Ontario

Beyond Meat burgers dropped nationally, but breakfast sandwiches still available in B.C. and Ontario

RCMP seize $1.9 million in B.C. traffic stop

The driver and passenger were detained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

‘Troubling, insulting’: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats, responded with a call for love after Trudeau photos surface

Elderly B.C. man gets 10 years in prison for sexually abusing young daughters

WARNING: This story contains graphic details and is not appropriate for all readers

‘This is not a drill’: Whistler Blackcomb gets first snowfall of the season

The 7th Heaven Summit had a dusting of snow Tuesday morning

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

Most Read