Settlement on hold as CBSA appeals ruling favouring ex-cop

By Admin Wednesday May 14 2014 in News
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A former Toronto auxiliary cop who was discriminated against by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) faces another legal challenge before he can collect a more than $20,000 settlement.


Levan Turner, who moved with his wife to B.C. in 1995, once helped with an arrest while working as an auxiliary officer in downtown Toronto.


Turner’s 11-year fight for justice began after he was twice refused full-time job openings with the CBSA. At the time he had been employed by them for five years as a seasonal inspector in Victoria.


He was refused the positions even though he had good performance reviews and comments from his bosses.


Turner filed a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), that was referred to the Tribunal for a hearing in 1993.


He claimed that he was refused the job due to his size and colour of his skin.


A Tribunal heard Turner was falsely portrayed by managers “as an obese, older Black man, likely to be lazy and untruthful, and therefore unacceptable as a potential employee of the newly-established law enforcement-oriented CBSA”.


Turner argued that he loved Canada and wanted to serve his country.


The Tribunal, after deliberations and appeals, ruled in March this year that Turner was discriminated against and will be awarded compensation for damages and lost wages, in addition to interest accrued.


The full amount of his settlement is to be decided in another hearing. It was estimated he lost $20,000 in wages.


But before he could celebrate, the CBSA returned to court last month seeking to appeal the decision and compensation.


The Agency, jointly with the Attorney General, filed for a judicial review to the Federal Court of Canada last month in an action that names Turner and the CHRC as plaintiffs.


The action alleged a number of errors were made and procedures not followed by a Tribunal member.


David Yazbeck, who is Turner’s lawyer and acts on behalf of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said a hearing will be held next year.


“There are both a paper and an actual hearing part,” Yazbeck told Share. “The parties will file affidavits in support of their cases as well as a written legal argument.”


He said the parties will have to make arguments before a judge as part of the day-long hearing.


“We may also end up back before the Tribunal to decide the remedy part,” said Yazbeck. “Just because they started an application in Federal Court does not mean the Tribunal’s process must be stopped.”


He said a hearing to decide compensation will go ahead despite the appeal.


Tribunal member Wallace Craig, in a strongly-worded judgment, wrote “our institutions, including the criminal justice system, reflect and perpetuate those negative stereotypes. Blacks are among the primary victims of that evil.


“A significant segment of our community holds overtly racist views,” said Craig. “A much larger segment subconsciously operated on the basis of negative racial stereotypes.”


He accused the CBSA of the “discriminatory use of staffing practices in the two job competitions that resulted in Turner being deprived of employment opportunities”.


The CBSA refused to comment since the matter is before adjudication.

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