The court hears arguments in case #29188, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse v. The Attorney General of Quebec, on October 14, 2004.
In 1997, some Quebec teachers complained to the Human Rights Commission that a new collective agreement discriminated against them based on age. The Commission brought the matter before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal. The Attorney General of Quebec, the school boards, and the unions asked the Human Rights Tribunal to decline jurisdiction. The Tribunal rejected this motion, but the Quebec Court of Appeal reversed the Tribunal’s decision. The Court of Appeal held that the dispute in question should be resolved by arbitration under the collective agreement with the teachers. The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the teachers. The Supreme Court of Canada must decide if the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal should be barred from hearing a complaint referred to it on the ground that the labour arbitrator has exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute.
Lawyer Béatrice Vizkelety presents arguments on behalf of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. Lawyer Mario Normandin speaks on behalf of the Attorney General of Quebec.