Syndicat des infirmières, inhalothérapeutes, infirmières auxiliaires du Cœur-du-Québec (SIIACQ) v. Centre hospitalier régional de Trois-Rivières, D.T.E. 2012T-760 (C.A.), October 16, 2012 decision.
On October 16, 2012, the Court of Appeal rendered judgment in the matter Syndicat des infirmières, inhalothérapeutes, infirmières auxiliaires du Cœur-du-Québec (SIIACQ) v. Centre hospitalier régional de Trois-Rivières, D.T.E. 2012T-760, confirming the dismissal of a nurse who had failed to disclose his medical history of alcoholism and mental problems at the time of his hiring.
The Court of Appeal analyzed the issues in the light of Sections 18.1 and 20 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms which prohibits requiring information regarding any ground of discrimination listed at Section 10 either in an employment application or at the time of the interview, unless the questions are based on the aptitudes or qualifications required for the job. The Court reemphasized the distinction between the prohibition against employment discrimination and an upstream form of conduct, i.e. the gathering of information which is likely to result in discrimination.
In order to determine whether information sought has any connection with employment, the Court recommended application of the test laid down in the Meorin case. Ultimately, the Court ruled that a health institution is entitled to make inquiries concerning the psychiatric records of nurses seeking employment. The case law has established criteria justifying dismissal in cases of misrepresentation, i.e. 1) the relationship between the misrepresentation and job duties to be performed by the employee; 2) the fact that the employer would not have hired the employee had there been full disclosure, and 3) the intentional nature of the misrepresentation.
The Court stated that misrepresentations are likely to undermine the employer-employee trust relationship. That a question is potentially discriminatory does not justify a candidate withholding the truth in an employment application or during a job interview. However, if the question is discriminatory in nature, the misrepresentation should not be the deciding factor behind the decision of an employer to terminate employment.