Is being bathed by a woman a legitimate creed-based requirement? Ontario Human Rights Tribunal requires evidence from Rastafarian


June 15 2016

Last year I blogged about a decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that considered the definition and scope of the ground of creed. While the decision laid out a clear analytical framework, the facts of the case were unique and of such specificity that it might have been difficult to see how the framework would be applied to a more traditional scenario dealing with the provision of services. Recently, Tribunal Vice-Chair Mark Hart applied the framework to just such a scenario in his decision in Barker v. St. Elizabeth Health Care, 2016 HRTO 94.

The facts of the case are relatively simple and were described by the Tribunal as follows:

…an allegation that the respondent failed to accommodate the applicant’s needs related to his creed when they sent male personal support workers (“PSW”s) to the applicant’s home commencing sometime in or after January 2014. The applicant states that he is an adherent of the Rastafarian faith, and that Rastafarianism strictly prohibits a man to bathe a Rastaman, or a Rastaman’s Queen (his wife or partner) or a Rastaman’s children, boy or girl.

The Tribunal accepted that Rastafarianism…Read the entire articel at Lexology

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