Canadian single dad faces human rights complaint for asking about babysitter’s gender
A single father in Canada may have violated his province's human rights act by asking about the gender and age of a potential babysitter, according to a lawsuit.
The father, identified only as Todd, is being investigated by the Alberta Human Rights Commission after a complaint was filed against him in 2017 by the applicant, who claims the father violated the Alberta Human Rights Act.
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The father, whose boys were 5 and 8 at the time, posted an ad for a babysitter on Kijiji, a popular classified ad site in Canada, because he was planning on meeting a friend for dinner the following night.
Todd received several responses, among them one listing skills such as CPR, and first aid, and mentioning a clean criminal record and seven years of caring for children. When Todd asked for age and gender, the applicant, James Crynowski, responded: "I'm male and 28 years old."
Todd's dinner plans fell through, however, so he stopped corresponding with Crynowski and the other applicants because he no longer needed a babysitter. But Crynowski, instead of following up with Todd, filed a formal complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission on Sept. 1, claiming age and gender discrimination.
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The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a Canadian conservative legal advocacy organization specializing in Canadian constitutional law, is representing Todd and sent a letter to the commission Aug. 19 to have the complaint dismissed.
“Thwarting parents from even inquiring about a babysitter’s gender or age is inconsistent with giving ‘utmost deference’ to parents’ preferences concerning a babysitter for their children,” the letter said. “It is also inconsistent with the fact that both gender and age may each be bona fide occupational requirements in this context.”
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The commission has not dismissed the case, although Crynowski, who filed a similar case against a mother of a five-year-old boy seeking "an older lady with experience," lost a case that went to the Supreme Court of Canada, in which he was seeking more than $1,000 in "damages to dignity."
“It is unclear why the Human Rights Commission has now accepted Mr. Cyrynowski’s complaint against Todd, giving the precedent set by the test case,” John Carpay, Justice Centre president and lawyer, said in a statement.