Home Featured No new evidence: Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario rejects bid by former Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke to reconsider ruling

No new evidence: Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario rejects bid by former Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke to reconsider ruling

by HR Law Canada

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has rejected a request to reconsider a previous ruling after the applicant claimed she had new facts related to her termination and workplace sexual harassment at Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke.

The Tribunal reaffirmed the discretionary nature of the reconsideration process and emphasized that such a process is not an avenue for appealing the original decision or for presenting new arguments.

The Tribunal, guided by the Human Rights Code’s Section 45.7 and its own procedural guidelines, evaluated the request based on established criteria. These include the emergence of new evidence that could decisively impact the case and that could not have been previously obtained, or a conflict between the decision and existing legal precedents or procedures of significant public interest.

‘New facts’ were previously known: Tribunal

In this instance, the applicant argued for reconsideration based on alleged new facts relating to the termination of employment on June 27, 2022, and on claims of sexual harassment.

However, the Tribunal found that the employment termination issues were previously known and could have been addressed earlier, undermining the argument that these were new facts.

“The applicant’s employment was terminated approximately 18 months before the Decision was issued. The applicant considered requesting an amendment of the Application and advised the Tribunal, however did not follow through with requesting an amendment,” the Tribunal said. “This information was clearly available to the applicant prior to the Tribunal issuing the Decision in 2024 and therefore cannot be considered a new fact or evidence.”

Moreover, the applicant’s sexual harassment allegations were deemed untimely and outside the Tribunal’s jurisdiction as per Section 34(1) of the Code.

“The applicant states that she was too fearful to file an Application due to the impact of the sexual harassment, however, she does not provide any evidence from a doctor, social worker, counselor or other professional to show that the effects of the harassment was so severe that she was unable to file the Application,” the Tribunal said.

“I note that during the same time period, the applicant was able to file grievances which include, in part, some of the allegations in the Application.”

‘Reconsideration’ is not an ‘appeal’

The Tribunal’s decision highlighted that “a reconsideration is not an appeal or a hearing de novo,” and “there is no right to have a decision reconsidered.”

It also referenced prior cases, such as Paul James v. York University and Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, 2015 ONSC 2234, to underline the importance of not using the reconsideration process to rectify deficiencies from the original case presentation.

In Paul James v. York University, the Divisional Court noted, “there were no compelling and extraordinary circumstances for doing so and there were no circumstances which outweighed the public interest in the finality of orders and decisions of the Tribunal.”

The Tribunal concluded that the applicant had not presented new, decisive facts or evidence that were previously unavailable. Additionally, it determined that no other factors presented by the applicant could override the public interest in maintaining the finality of Tribunal decisions.

Ultimately, the Tribunal’s ruling underscores the critical balance between the need for finality in legal decisions and the openness to reconsider cases under exceptional circumstances.

“After reviewing the file, the law, the jurisprudence, and the details of the reconsideration request, I decline to exercise my discretion to reconsider the Decision,” the Tribunal said.

For more information, see Krubnik v. Women’s Habitat of Etobicoke, 2024 HRTO 338 (CanLII).

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