This has been a hard case to watch. Part of it due to the Government's seemingly tough stand on the issue and the agony Cheryl Hutchinson has been put through to get some justice.
The court has yet to rule that Cheryl Hutchinson's father would be entitled to the money, however they have decided that keeping the money they were awarded by the BC Human Rights Tribunal, $118,000, would be a miscarriage of justice.
The BC Government was with holding the award until the case was heard in BC Supreme Court partially on the basis that the Hutchinson's would not be able to repay the money if the province wins in court.
This is a victory for poor folks in BC. If you were well off the money would be paid as the government as they would accept they had a reasonable chance of recovery. That amounts to discrimination on the basis of someones economic status. Had the Hutchinson's been well off they would not have required to go to the Human Rights Tribunal in the first place.
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Decision
Hutchinson - B.C. Supreme Court decision
For more information Disability issues in BC go to The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities is a provincial, cross-disability advocacy organization. Our mandate is to raise public and political awareness of issues that concern us. We hope, through our work, to facilitate the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of society and to promote independence.
CBC WebPosted Nov 26 2004 07:53 AM PST
VANCOUVER - A Vancouver woman with severe cerebral palsy who won a landmark human rights case this summer, has won another major battle – this time in court.
The B.C. Ministry of Health had refused to give Cheryl Hutchinson permission to hire her father as her caregiver, despite the fact that he has looked after her since she was 13.
Earlier this year, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled that refusal amounted to discrimination.
The ruling was the first of its kind in Canada. And other disabled British Columbians had hoped it would allow them to hire family members as caregivers.
However, the provincial government appealed, and also applied to withhold $118,000 in damages – pending the results of that appeal.
But a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the Hutchinsons deserve the money now, even if they aren't able to pay it back if the province wins its appeal.
LINK: B.C. Supreme Court decision
In his decision, Mr Justice Bryan Ralph notes Philip Hutchinson is 73 years old, and living on Old Age security and Canada Pension Plan benefits.
Ralph writes that he recognizes there is a reasonable chance Mr. Hutchinson won't be able to repay the award should the province win its appeal.
But he says the Hutchinsons will suffer the greater harm if they don't receive the money.