Fine line between security measures and discrimination

A recent case of alleged discrimination on the part of an airline against a Muslim Canadian highlights the ever-present tension between the need for security measures and the problematic nature of certain screening practices, says Toronto employment lawyer Kevin Marshall.

“There are two competing objectives that must be grappled with,” says Marshall. “One is security, and the other is discrimination. The staff must stop people who may be a threat from entering the country, and yet they must do so in a way that’s non-discriminatory.”

In Yaffa v. Air Canada, 2014 CHRT 22 (CanLII), which is currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Mohamed Yaffa alleges Air Canada subjected him to “enhanced security screening,” including “enhanced questioning,” on six different occasions from March to June 2010 because of his race, nationality or ethnic origin, colour and religion.

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