What is the evidentiary problem in s. 19 of the Canadian Human Rights Code on discrimination against elderly single women?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Grigg v. R., 1996 CanLII 620 (BC SC):

40 The plaintiff's claim leaves the following conundrums: 1.How disproportionate must the impact be to equal adverse effects discrimination? 2.Given that the basis is on age, what range of ages is considered "old" or "elderly"? 3.The evidentiary problem: Plaintiffs argue the effect of s. 19 is to exacerbate their already disadvantaged positions in society as elderly women. The plaintiffs have adduced sociological evidence that elderly single women are a class of individuals who tend to have the lowest incomes in our society. The evidence is that these women are not, in the majority situations, single. Some are widowed or divorced, but many are also married or in common-law relationships. The social science evidence does not establish that women of their age group as disclosed by the affidavits are likely to be poor, or that they are the sort of "single" women that the social science study talks about. Such an evidentiary problem was dealt with in Sutherland v. Canada (1994), 1994 CanLII 3497 (FC), 115 D.L.R. (4th) 49.

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