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South Cariboo resort owner’s discrimination appeal dismissed

Kin Wa Chan, owner of Spruce Hills Resort, will have to pay out $173,000 to seven former employees
Melonie Eva is the primary complainant in the human rights case against the owner of Spruce Hills Resort and Spa. File photo.

A South Cariboo resort owner at the centre of a BC Human Rights discrimination complaint has had his application for a judicial review of the ruling dismissed by a BC Supreme Court justice.

The ruling, released last week in Kamloops, upheld the 2018 BC Human Rights Tribunal decision that determined Kin Wa Chan, owner of Spruce Hills Resort, would have to pay out $173,000 to seven former employees.

The pay out is to cover lost wages and “injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect” stemming from the seven employees’ allegations that they were terminated or forced to leave their jobs in August 2016 because they were not Chinese.

In the original complaint, the former employees alleged that Chan said that he preferred Chinese workers because they don’t need to be paid holiday pay or overtime.

Chan applied for review of the decision that the complainants had concocted the grounds of discrimination in an effort to seek compensation that couldn’t be recovered under employment standards legislation.

In his ruling, Justice Dennis K. Hori writes that the Tribunal’s 2018 decision was “not unreasonable” given the evidence presented at the original hearing, which took place in March 2018.

READ MORE: Spruce Hill Resort discriminated against woman with cancer: BC Human Rights Tribunal

“The Tribunal is entitled to accept or reject the petitioners’ evidence and its submissions so long as its reasoning for doing so is sound,” Hori wrote. “In this case, the Tribunal rejected the petitioners’ position for justifiable reasons.”

Melonie Eva, one of the former employees and lead plaintiffs in the human rights complaint, told the Free Press she wasn’t surprised the appeal was dismissed, though delays due to COVID-19 have made for a long, drawn out experience.

“It’s been a long, five-year emotional journey for our entire group,” Eva said. “We have never received a single cent of compensation awarded to us.”

According to Eva, Chan is now ordered to pay an additional $20,296 in interest on top of the awarded amount.

When reached for comment, Chan said he had not yet discussed the matter with his lawyer and could not speak to last week’s ruling.

Earlier this year, Chan was ordered by the BC Human Rights Tribunal to pay a woman $16,536 in damages on another, unrelated matter.

That case centred around a 2017 incident in which the resort refused to give the woman a massage due to her history of cancer.


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