News Release Archive

A board of inquiry has dismissed a complaint by Gillis Carrigan
against the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.

Mr. Carrigan made a complaint under the Human Rights Act on May
5, 1994. He alleged that he was discriminated against because of
his marital status when, after separating from his spouse, he
tried to apply for family benefits on behalf of himself and his

Mr. Carrigan's complaint challenged regulation 20 of the Family
Benefits Act. This regulation states that married, separated
parents may not apply for family benefits until six months after
their separation. Other categories of family benefits recipients,
for example, unmarried, divorced or widowed parents, face no such
waiting period.

Mr. Carrigan alleged that the regulation discriminated against
him because of his marital status and that it should be declared
void pursuant to section 10(1) of the Human Rights Act, which
states that regulations, "which refer to a characteristic against
which discrimination is prohibited, which appear to restrict the
rights and privileges of the individual or group in question, are
void and of no legal effect." The complaint could not be resolved
following an investigation. The matter proceeded to a board of
inquiry chaired by David Miller.

In his decision of June 12, Mr. Miller found that a decision of
Mr. Justice Goodfellow of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in
Rhyno v. the Minister of Community Services (1994), which held
that regulation 20 of the Family Benefits Act was not
discriminatory under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
means that regulation 20 cannot be found to violate the Human
Rights Act.

Mr. Miller quoted Justice Goodfellow's decision, in which he
concludes that "the differentiation created does not amount to
discrimination because it treats ... (Ms. Ryno) ... the same as
all other married separated persons with child. She falls in the
same boat as all those of that classification."

Mr. Miller found that, given Justice Goodfellow's finding, the
board of inquiry has no jurisdiction to consider the effect of
section 10(1) of the Human Rights Act on regulation 20 of the
Family Benefits Act.

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is considering the
possibility of appealing this decision to the Nova Scotia Court
of Appeal.


Contact: Wayne MacKay or Francine Comeau  902-424-4111

trp                  June 18, 1996 - 10:15 a.m.