Ottawa Mayor Fails to Win Exemptions in Anti-discrimination Law

An effort by Mayor Charlotte Whitton of Ottawa to win exemption of the municipality from some key provisions of the Ontario Anti-Discrimination Law failed today when an Ottawa Judge ruled that the city would have to amend its employment application form to comply with the law.

Mayor Whitton had addressed a brief to the Ontario Human Rights Commission arguing that since city employes were required to meet security tests, the city had a right to know their religion, national origin and similar data.

After three hours of closed-door negotiations, Judge J.C. Anderson, acting as a Commissioner, ruled that the city had acknowledged a “technical violation” of the Ontario fair employment law in asking such questions, He also urged that if the city so wished, it could direct a request to the Ontario Legislature for changes in the law’s jurisdiction to exempt cities.

The Commission was represented by Charles Dubin. A. A. Borovoy appeared as both complainant and as counsel for the Labor Committee for Human Rights. Murray Height and David Denler, Ottawa councilmen, attended and registered their dissent from the Mayor’s views. No witnesses were called because the case was settled without a formal hearing.

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