How have courts interpreted a finding of discrimination in the context of a claim of heterogeneity within a claimant group?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Abbotsford (City) v. Shantz, 2015 BCSC 1909 (CanLII):

In Quebec v. A, Madam Justice Abella, citing Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd., 1989 CanLII 96 (SCC), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219, clearly stated at para. 354 that heterogeneity within the claimant group does not defeat a claim of discrimination: … discrimination does not require uniform treatment of all members of a particular group. It is sufficient that ascribing to an individual a group characteristic is one factor in the treatment of that individual. If a finding of discrimination required that every individual in the affected group be treated identically, legislative protection against discrimination would be of little or no value.. It is rare that a discriminatory action is so bluntly expressed as to treat all members of the relevant group identically. In nearly every instance of discrimination the discriminatory action is composed of various ingredients with the result that some members of the pertinent group are not adversely affected, at least in a direct sense, by the discriminatory action. To deny a finding of discrimination in the circumstances of this appeal is to deny the existence of discrimination in any situation where discriminatory practices are less than perfectly inclusive. It is to argue, for example, that an employer who will only hire a woman if she has twice the qualifications required of a man is not guilty of sex discrimination if, despite this policy, the employer nevertheless manages to hire some women.

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