The BC Court of Appeal has ruled that it is not discriminatory for adoptive mothers to have a shorter leave benefit than those for women who give birth. Judgment in BCGEU v. Govt. of BC dismissing an appeal of an arbitration award was handed down on August 23, 2002. The collective agreement contained a standard non-discrimination clause. The court stated that the same analytical framework must be applied to it as to an issue under the Human Rights Code. The court held that adoptive leave did not have the same purpose as maternity leave: “In my opinion the purpose of the Maternity Leave and Maternity Allowance provisions, when seen in their context, is not the encouragement of family formation but, rather, protecting the health and well being of pregnant women and new biological mothers, (not simply new parents), while undergoing the health and other stresses of giving birth and recovering from giving birth, so that they can reasonably effectively return to the work force.”The court dismissed the appeal and upheld the arbitrator’s dismissal of the grievance.
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