A Victoria man is struggling with high levels of stress and anxiety after not seeing any follow-through on his win at a Human Rights Tribunal case.
Chris Hughes won his case against Transport Canada in June, after a 12-year long struggle to prove he was turned down from a job position after admitting he had suffered from depression. Since his win he has not seen a penny of the $375,000 he is owed in back-payments, or been offered a job as a marine intelligence officer, as Transport Canada was ordered to do.
“I’m defaulting on my credit cards, I’m defaulting on my line of credit and I’m two months behind on my storage payments where my memorabilia is of my life,” Hughes said, adding that he’s been relying on friends to couch surf, and even on getting enough money for food.
“Everyday is a struggle, and now my hair is falling out.”
Hughes was one of the top candidates for a marine intelligence analyst but was abruptly turned down after sharing his past emotional troubles. Years into fighting this decision Hughes was able to prove that interview notes had been altered to make him look like a less desirable candidate.
After this fallout Hughes had to liquidate all his assets in order to continue fighting for his case.
Hughes and his legal representative reached out to Transport Canada in July about the payments, but Transport Canada’s legal representative faxed them back saying that the remedial awards “are not required to be implemented,” after citing Section 30 of the Crown and Liabilities Proceeding Act, which states that the Minister of Finance has to authorize any awarded funds.
Hughes argued that while Garneau has concurrent authorization of Transport Canada, this act only applies to provincial and federal matters, not Human Rights Tribunal cases.
Hughes also learned in September that the position that should have been reserved for him was instead temporarily assigned to another person. So, he and his lawyer have since filed a contempt of court order against Finance Minister Marc Garneau and Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Carla Qualthrough for not pushing the payment forward in his case.
Hughes is scheduled to do his initial presentation of this file to a federal judge on Tuesday.
“The government is also working on an accessibility act. It’s ironic that they’re claiming that they want to remove barriers,” Hughes said. “If someone like me can’t get a job from a court order, how is anyone else with a disability supposed to?”
In an email Transport Canada said “Given that this legal matter is before the Court, Transport Canada is not in a position to speak to this situation.”
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