Court of Appeal of Quebec

Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Jean-Marie) c. Ville de Montréal (SPVM)

August 01, 2018

500-09-026178-160

Chamberland, Hogue, Roy

Appeal from a judgment of the Human Rights Tribunal. Dismissed.

On September 2, 2010, the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse received a complaint of racial profiling allegedly committed by the two respondent police officers. Following its investigation, it suggested corrective measures and gave the respondents until May 23, 2014, to implement those measures. An excerpt of the resolution of January 16, 2014, was served on the complainant on April 25, 2014, and was received on April 29, 2014.  The resolution contained an error, which the Commission corrected on May 22, and the complainant received the correction on May 29, 2014. The deadline to implement the corrective measures was then extended to June 20, 2014. On that date, the complainant accepted that the Commission represent him before the Tribunal. The originating application was filed on August 20, 2014. The Tribunal dismissed the application on the basis that it was prescribed, the suspension of prescription having ended on April 29, 2014, the date the complainant received the first resolution.

The judgment meets the standard of reasonableness.

The Commission’s submission, that prescription is suspended until the application to institute proceedings is filed, cannot be accepted. In s. 76 (2) of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (CQLR, c. C-12), the legislature retained the date of notification as the time prescription begins to run again, not the date on which the application was filed.

The Commission’s argument, based on Université Laval c. Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (C.A., 2005-01-24), 2005 QCCA 27, SOQUIJ AZ-50290361, J.E. 2005-280, D.T.E. 2005T-130, [2005] R.J.Q. 347, [2005] R.J.D.T. 1, that prescription is suspended at least until expiry of the deadline for implementing the suggested corrective measures, is also dismissed. In that decision, the time that prescription began to run anew was not in dispute.

Finally, it is true that the Commission can only represent the complainant before the Tribunal once the deadline for implementing the corrective measures has expired. However, the impossibility to act may not be the result of voluntary acts of the person against whom prescription is set up. It must be the result of an irresistible situation, such as psychological or physical incapacity. To the extent the Commission is subject to prescription, which begins to run again when the complainant is notified of the Commission’s intention to represent them before the Tribunal, it must bear that in mind when setting a deadline for the implementation of suggested corrective measures. 

*Summary by SOQUIJ

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