A second Edmonton-area parent is defending themselves against a recent complaint brought to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Danielle, whose surname is redacted to protect her family’s privacy, is an Edmonton mother of three young children. In February, Danielle posted an ad on Kijiji looking for a babysitter for her children.
On Feb. 6, James Cyrynowski responded to the ad detailing his credentials and experience. Danielle responded by asking James whether he had any children of his own and about his employment status. She also requested references.
Numerous people contacted Danielle in response to the ad, but Danielle ultimately retained a babysitter who lived in her neighbourhood and worked close to her children’s daycare. Danielle did not follow-up further with Cyrynowski or with other individuals who had contacted her online, according to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).
Likewise, Cyrynowski did not make any attempt to follow-up with Danielle. On April 30, he filed a complaint against Danielle, alleging discrimination on the basis of family status in violation of the Alberta Human Rights Act. “I applied for a caregiver job on Kijiji. I was asked if I have children. I do not. I did not get the job,” he wrote in his complaint.
On June 6, the Alberta Human Rights Commission accepted Cyrynowski’s complaint against Danielle, and sent her a letter requiring that she provide a detailed response to the complaint. On June 21, Danielle provided her written response to the complaint, explaining that she had hired a person who lived in her neighbourhood and worked right next to her children’s daycare.
The JCCF, a legal advocacy group based in Calgary, wrote a letter to the Alberta Human Rights Commission on Aug. 28, calling on the Commission to dismiss the complaint against Danielle and respect the rights of children and parents protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Calls for case to be dismissed
This is not the first complaint filed by Cyrynowski.
One dated Sept. 1, 2017, involved a father named Todd who also posted an ad on Kijiji looking for a babysitter for his two young children. Cyrynowski said he received a message 10 minutes after applying asking for his age and gender. “I told him I’m male and 28 years old,” he wrote. “I never heard back from him since.”
After announcing that it would represent Todd pro bono, the Justice Centre learned of Danielle’s case and agreed to represent her on a pro bono basis until the complaint was dismissed.
A similar case dating back to May 23, 2014, involved a mother posting an ad for a babysitter for her five-year-old son. Court documents show her ad listed a preference for an older woman with experience to look after her son. When Cyrynowski replied to the ad, he was told that the respondent was looking for a female.
Cyrynowski filed his complaint a few days later on May 26. The court case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada where it was ultimately dismissed in May this year.
The staff lawyer at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms representing both Danielle and Todd said in a written statement that parents should be able to hire whoever they feel is appropriate to babysit their children.
“It is a sad state of affairs when numerous Alberta parents are subjected to the stress of the Alberta Human Rights Commission process simply for seeking to make informed decisions for the care of their own children,” said lawyer Marty Moore.
“We encourage any parents facing these complaints to contact us to receive help free of charge in defending against this state overreach into their personal lives.”
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