Federal Appeal


Constitutional Law

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Nature of rights and freedoms

It was impossible to conclude that job-sharing was adverse to being on leave without pay

Retired RCMP officers at issue were women who worked part time hours for certain periods and claimed that as result they were not entitled to pension as generous as male colleagues. Officers’ pension benefits for job-sharing periods were based on hours officers regularly worked under their job-sharing arrangements, calculated in same fashion as pension benefits were calculated for other RCMP members who worked part-time hours. Officers claimed that denial of opportunity to purchase full time pension benefits was violation of right to equality on grounds of sex and parental status under s. 15(1) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Officers unsuccessfully brought application for declaratory relief. Officers appealed. Appeal dismissed. Officers failed to establish requisite adversity of treatment to give rise to infringement of s. 15 of Charter. Pension entitlements could not be viewed in isolation from rest of remuneration package afforded to two groups of employees. Without any evidence as to relative value of two packages, it was impossible to conclude that job-sharing was adverse to being on leave without pay. Federal Court did not err in concluding that officers had failed to establish that differential treatment was based on enumerated or analogous ground. Any inequality in treatment that officers might have incurred was not shown to have been based on or to have arisen by reason of officers’ sex, family or parental status as there was no evidence to suggest that option of leave without pay was unavailable to female officers who had children.

Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General) (2018), 2018 CarswellNat 7614, 2018 FCA 223, Johanne Gauthier J.A., Mary J.L. Gleason J.A., and Judith Woods J.A. (F.C.A.); affirmed (2017), 2017 CarswellNat 2726, 2017 CarswellNat 2727, 2017 FC 557, 2017 CF 557, Catherine M. Kane J. (F.C.).

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