VOA: Chinese Association in Canada Fined for Discriminating against Falun Gong
(Clearwisdom.net) Voice of America reported on January 28, 2006 that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in Canada ruled that a Chinese association in Ottawa had violated related Human Rights Code by revoking the membership of a Falun Gong practitioner.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission, a governmental organization in Ontario, Canada, issued a press release this week, and stated that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal made a judgment on January 18, finding that the Chinese Senior Association of Ottawa's cancellation of the membership of Falun Gong practitioner Huang Daiming constituted discrimination, and ordered the association to pay Ms. Huang $18,000 for loss of dignity and "mental anguish," and also ordered it to take a number of measures to achieve compliance with the Code on anti-discriminatory policies.
73-year-old Huang Daiming immigrated to Ottawa, the capital of Canada in 1992 and began practicing Falun Gong in 1998. At the end of 2001, a secretary of the Chinese Senior Association of Ottawa informed Huang Daiming that her membership was revoked.
Huang Daiming said, "[they] said it was a collective decision of the association's directors. Those who practice Falun Gong cannot join in the association, and said it offends the regulation of the association." Huang Daiming was dissatisfied with the decision of the association, and negotiated with it numerous times but to no avail. She then decided to complain to the governmental department. Huang Daiming said, "I'll appeal; this was on March 15, 2002, I complained to the Human Rights Commission of Ontario."
Human Rights Tribunal judgment
After receiving the complaint, the Ontario Human Rights Commission verified the facts and came out to mediate several times, but the persons-in-charge of the senior association did not attend the mediation meeting, nor did they accept a reconciliation suggestion of giving an apology. The Ontario Human Rights Commission subsequently delivered the case to the Human Rights Tribunal. After over a year of investigation and hearings, the court made a final judgment that has legal sanction.
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal expressed that if the Ottawa Chinese Senior Association refuses to accept the judgment, it may appeal to a higher court. Ontario Human Rights Commission spokesman Jeff Poirier said that the ruling does not mean that the court has recognized Falun Gong as a religion, but as a belief with religious characteristics.