Public Service Alliance of Canada “created hostile and discriminatory environment” for Jewish members
Ottawa, ON – February 9, 2024 – Today, Jewish members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) filed 14 individual complaints at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal against their union for advancing an anti-Israel agenda and causing a culture of discrimination and harassment against Jewish PSAC members that developed as a result of the union’s ongoing one-sided advocacy concerning the Israel-Hamas war.
Immediately following the October 7 terror attack in Israel by Hamas, a Canadian listed terrorist entity, PSAC began promoting unbalanced and biased views against Israel that led to a hostile environment for Jewish workers.
The complainants are all federally regulated employees and will be represented pro-bono by Daniel Lublin and Marc Kitay from Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers, one of Canada’s leading workplace dispute firms.
“The essence of the complainants’ case is that PSAC is clearly advancing an agenda that discriminates against Jewish union members, including donating union funds to UNRWA despite credible reports of agency workers holding innocent Israelis hostage and other behaviours that adversely impact them,” said Daniel Lublin, Founding Partner of Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers. “These actions and others have left PSAC’s Jewish members pointing out that their union, which is supposed to represent their interests, is in fact causing an environment of fear, hostility, alienation, and bias against them. PSAC’s alleged behaviour is a clear violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act that prohibits the union from engaging in differential treatment on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, and religion or religious beliefs.”
PSAC officials were made aware of the filing at the Human Rights Commission, including the relief sought by their Jewish members.
“Jewish members of PSAC should not be forced to endure their union’s dissemination of anti-Israel views and anti-Jewish propaganda, which creates an unsafe environment where Jews are villainized in the eyes of their peers,” said Marc Kitay, Partner at Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers. “Despite complaints to PSAC’s executive about the problematic conditions, no investigative or remedial action has been taken. In some instances, the union even used these complaints as a platform to further disseminate antisemitic and anti-Israel views. A union’s job is to represent the interest of all its members. No one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen or targeted because of their background and beliefs. There must be impartiality.”
Among the relief sought by the complainants are a public apology, financial damages, orders to cease funding of UNWRA and BDS initiatives, and a means for them to re-direct their union dues to a Jewish charity of their choosing.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs’ (CIJA) Legal Task Force, comprising volunteer lawyers from across Canada to coordinate litigation in defense of Jewish people, connected the complainants with the pro-bono offer from Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers.
“We are incredibly thankful for the pro-bono services that Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers are providing and the work they’re taking on for these Jewish PSAC members dealing with such an anti-Jewish and hostile environment from their own union,” said Richard Marceau, Vice-President, External Affairs & General Counsel for CIJA.
- PSAC Complaint Schedule
- Canadian Human Rights Act
- PSAC allocating $25,000 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA, representing Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
About CIJA’s Legal Task Force
Facing a surge of antisemitism targeting the Canadian Jewish community in the shadow of the Israel-Hamas war, CIJA and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto (UJA) created a Legal Rapid Response Team, uniting some of the top legal minds in our community as volunteers to combat hate and support those looking for legal recourse to address issues such as criminal antisemitism, discrimination in the workplace and educational institutions, professional misconduct, or refusal of service. It now has hubs in many cities across Canada.
The Legal Task Force’s Rapid Response Team is chaired by Nanette Rosen, a veteran of Canada’s Justice Department, and Mark Freiman, the former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario and former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Stay In the Know!
Get all the latest information from our newsletter, "This Week in Canadian Jewish Advocacy."