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

Welcome to Victoria, where a street can have four names

From Oak Bay to View Royal, street names change as the roadways twist and turn

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Sooke cougar sighting unconfirmed

Boy had a close encounter with the big cat

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Garbage piles up at Mount Doug Park in Saanich

Local resident blames the design of the garbage bins

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read