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

Group seeks to build honorary RCMP sculpture in Sooke

Sooke RCMP officers work long hours protecting the community, and a local… Continue reading

Refugee family gets help with rent

Sooke council changes scope of $3,600 grant

Central Saanich police chase down speeding biker

A motorcyclist from the Lower Mainland was caught on the Tsawout reserve… Continue reading

Sooke high school welcomes new principal

Laura Fulton was formerly vice principal at Belmont High and Spencer Middle schools

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait seeking re-election

So far, Maja Tait only declared candidate in mayor’s race

Victoria’s Our Place in desperate need of clothing donations

Downtown service provider feeling pinch from less frequent community clothing drives

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Saanich to light up Layritz Park with solar-powered lights

Saanich plans to install more solar-powered lights after installing them in Layritz… Continue reading

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

All the colours of the rainbow, in a cloud

Rare phenomenon spotted at Mount Washington

Solitary confinement in Canadian prisons unconstitutional: B.C. Supreme Court

Associations argued that solitary confinement was inhumane

1 in 4 B.C. consumers unable to pay bills, debt repayment: poll

Since interest rates first rose in July, poll suggests households across B.C. have had to tighten budget

Most Read