News Release Archive

A board of inquiry into the complaints of Patricia Gerin and
Peter Eaton against IMP Group Ltd., Steve Malone, Christine
Boucher and Peter Radcliffe, has dismissed the complaint. In this
ruling there are significant criticisms of the Human Rights
Commission's handling of the complaints. 

Ms. Gerin made a complaint under the Human Rights Act Nov. 19,
1990. She alleged that she was discriminated against because of
her race and/or colour by IMP, Mr. Malone and Ms. Boucher. She
also alleged she suffered reprisal because she supported a 
co-worker, Isabel Ulloa, who had made an earlier human rights
complaint against IMP and Mr. Malone, which was settled after a
board of inquiry was appointed. 

Mr. Eaton made a complaint Nov. 7, 1990 against IMP, Mr. Malone,
Ms. Boucher and Mr. Radcliffe. He alleged that he suffered
reprisal because of his support of Ms. Ulloa.

The complaints could not be resolved following an investigation.
The matter proceeded to a board of inquiry chaired by Bruce H.

In his decision of July 9, 1996, Mr. Wildsmith found the evidence
did not support the complaints. He found that Mr. Eaton lacked
credibility and that Ms. Gerin's belief that she was
discriminated against was based on a misperception. He found that
IMP and Mr. Malone may have treated the complainants poorly but
the evidence was not sufficient to show reprisal. 

The board of inquiry found that the Nova Scotia Human Rights
Commission caused delay in hearing the complaints, by the length
of its investigation and because its legal counsel was booked so
far ahead. The complaints were laid in late 1990 and emerged as a
board of inquiry decision over five years later. Most complaints
are now handled in a much shorter time. 

The board of inquiry found that commission staff, investigating
Ms. Ulloa's complaint, may have contributed to the personality
conflicts that underlay Ms. Gerin's and Mr. Eaton's complaints.
It found that commission staff failed to consider some
information provided by the respondents in their defense. It
found that by failing to call commission staff to testify at the
hearing the commission justified a negative inference about the
adequacy of its investigation. 

The board of inquiry found the commission apparently failed to
act upon a complaint by Mr. Malone against it. It found that
commission staff told Ms. Boucher that she could not make a human
rights complaint against Ms. Gerin and Ms. Ulloa, unless she also
complained against IMP and Mr. Malone, which she did not wish to

The board of inquiry found the commission, by the inadequacy of
its investigation, its handling of potential complaints by Mr.
Malone and Ms. Boucher, and its conduct at the hearing lent
support to IMP's claim that the commission was biased against it. 

In his decision, Mr. Wildsmith said, "The commission as a
repository of the strong arm of government must at all times
strain to assess fairly, objectively and dispassionately all the
evidence. It, like the police and prosecutors in the criminal
justice system, must be beyond reproach."

The executive-director of the commission, Wayne MacKay said, "I
fully agree that the commission must act in a fair and objective
fashion in pursuing human rights complaints. To that end we have
designed a streamlined case processing system in the last year
and hired full-time in-house counsel. These changes, coupled with
the ongoing education and training of investigators, will produce
a higher quality of service with considerably less delay."


Contact: Wayne MacKay    902-424-4111 or 902-422-1043 (home)
         Francine Comeau 902-424-4111

jlw                         July 15, 1996     5:30 p.m.