Judge tells rights board to reconsider social assistance 'special diet' case

The Canadian Press
Published on January 11, 2017

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia judge has ruled the human rights commission unreasonably dismissed a discrimination claim by five social assistance recipients who complain the province hasn't increased the maximum special diet allowance since 1996.

Judge James Chipman has sent the case back to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission for reconsideration in "accordance with the principles of fairness and transparency" and without a new investigation.

The women argued the Community Services Department discriminated against them based on their disabilities.

Under the province's funding for special needs, applicants can get up to a maximum of $150 per month per person for health-related dietary needs. 

In a written decision released today, the provincial Supreme Court judge says he will leave it to the commission to decide whether to refer the matter to a board of inquiry or to entertain an argument by the province that the claim, also made by Halifax's North End Community Health Centre, be dismissed.

Chipman also directed the matter be dealt with during the next commission board meeting.

The Canadian Press