There was a problem with pay equity; Bell was not paying women as much as they were paying men for comparable jobs. Bell had done research and the result showed that they were in fact not paying women on equal levels – however they claimed that this report was flawed. Bell did not want the case to go to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal because they "knew" that they would lose, not because they discriminated, but because they thought the system was unfair. The Canadian Human Rights Commission recommended that this case go to a Tribunal, however this motion was overruled in the Federal Court Trial Division.
- Was the judge correct in dismissing the appointment of a Tribunal in contravention of an order by the Canadian Human Rights Commission?
Appeal allowed, case to proceed to Tribunal.
Bell tries to argue that the system is unfair because it allows for the Commission to make regulations that bind the Tribunal, however this claim is rejected. They also claim that the union cannot claim here because they helped negotiate the contracts and that the Commission did not have evidence to send it to a Tribunal.
The court held that the Commission did have the authority to send it to a Tribunal, as they do not need to make a finding before they do this, but rather only identify a prima facie case. Further, saying that the union cannot play a part in this is irrelevant because it is the discriminatory practice and the people that it affects that are the concern of this motion. The court held that the Trial Division judge erred in his decision, because dismissed the case based on the fact that he did not agree with the Commission opinions to the merit of the case. This is irrelevant as the court does not have to agree with the opinions; they only have to determine if the recommendation was legitimate, which it was in this case.
A union can represent their employees who are discriminated against even if they helped to negotiate the contracts that caused the discrimination.
This case was appealed to the Supreme Court.