Tribunal Finds That School Board Did Not Discriminate Against Parent of Student By Denying School Transfer Request

  • January 15, 2020
  • Anna Karimian, BLG

In Bettencourt v Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, 2019 HRTO 607 (CanLII), which was released on April 3, 2019, the applicant (“Bettencourt”), who was a parent of a student, claimed that the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (the “School Board”) discriminated against him on the basis of race, disability, family status and marital status, contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”).

Specifically, Bettencourt alleged that the School Board acted in a discriminatory manner by denying his request to transfer his son to a new school without either obtaining the consent of his former spouse (with whom he was engaged in a custodial dispute) or providing legal documentation supporting his right to make sole educational decisions with respect to his son.

He argued that the School Board improperly denied his transfer request, despite knowing that Bettencourt’s disability affected his ability to drive his son to another school out of district. Bettencourt further claimed that his son’s “primary residence” was with him and that the School Board ought to have relied on this fact alone in giving him the authority to make educational decisions on his son’s behalf.