From Daily Mail: A single Canadian father has been accused of violating his province’s human rights act by questioning a prospective babysitter about his gender and age, according to court documents.
The father-of-two, identified only as ‘Todd F.’, is being investigated by the Alberta Human Rights Commission after a complaint was filed against him in 2017 by the babysitter, James Crynowski.
Todd posted an advertisement on Kijiji.com, a popular classified Canadian ad site, seeking a ‘babysitter wanted for evening Friday September 1’ for his two sons, then five and eight, as he was planning to meet a friend for dinner.
According to legal documents, Todd received several responses to the posting and among them was Crynowski’s, who listed skills such as CPR, first aid, a clean criminal record and seven years experience of caring for children.
Todd responded to Crynowski with a series of basic questions, asking him where he lived, how old he was, and if he was male or female.
‘Hi, I live in Edmonton. I’m male and 28 years old,’ Crynowski replied, but received no further responses from Todd.
According to his legal counsel, Todd’s dinner plans fell through and he no longer required a sitter, so felt no need to continue the interaction.
Instead of following up with Todd, Crynowski instead filed a formal complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission on September 1, claiming to have been discriminated because of his age and gender.
‘There have been many sleepless nights,’ Todd said in a statement to the Edmonton Journal Saturday. ‘I did not realize that people could object to me finding out all the relevant information I can about a potential babysitter, including their age and sex. I thought I was doing what was best for my young children.’
Todd, who is self-employed, said he rarely uses babysitters and in light of Crynowski’s complaint, he’s unlikely to use one again. ‘Just trying to learn enough about a potential new babysitter can get me in trouble and I need to ensure that my children are safe,’ he added.
The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), a Canadian conservative legal advocacy organization specializing in Canadian constitutional law, is representing Todd on a pro-bono basis and sent a letter to the commission on Monday to have the complaint dismissed.
‘Thwarting parents from even inquiring about a babysitter’s gender or age is inconsistent with giving ‘utmost deference’ to parents’ preferences concerning a babysitter for their children,’ the letter said. ‘It is also inconsistent with the fact that both gender and age may each be bona fide occupational requirements in this context.’
As of Friday, the commission has not dismissed the case.
This is also not the first time Crynowski has filed such a claim. In a similar case back on May 23, 2014, he attempted to claim discrimination in relation to a mother’s advertisement seeking a babysitter for her five-year-old son.
When Crynowski replied to the ad, he was told that the woman was looking for a female sitter. He filed the complaint two days later, and the case went all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court until it was dismissed in May this year.
JCCF president John Carpay said parents need to be able to hire whoever they feel is appropriate to babysit their children. ‘The parents should have full discretion,’ he said. ‘If it is for a service in the home, you have to feel comfortable with a person coming into your home.’
He added: ‘It is unclear why the Human Rights Commission has now accepted Mr. Crynowski’s complaint against Todd, giving the precedent set by the test case.’
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