Family status accommodation: Government will not appeal Johnstone case

The period in which the federal government could seek to appeal in the case of PSAC member Fiona Johnstone has closed. This brings to an end her long legal battle to gain accommodation for her childcare needs. The government finally seems to have recognized that working families need help.

In May the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously upheld a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision in Ms. Johnstone’s favour.  The Canada Border Services Agency had refused to give her a fixed-shift schedule so that she could make arrangements for childcare. The case has been ongoing since 2005 when PSAC supported her complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  The government was found to have breached its human rights obligations at every step in the process.

The Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that family status includes childcare and other legal family obligations. 

While it recognized that there is a legal obligation to accommodate family status - the reality is it is still lacking for many working families.

There is still much work to be done to implement this and other family-friendly practices in the workplace. 


August 11, 2014