The Income Security Advocacy Centre and Lake Country Community Legal Clinic are jointly representing an Indigenous Elder in a legal challenge to the discrimination and wrongful termination he experienced while working as an Elder for the Correctional Service Canada.
The Elder is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) of Ohsweken (Six Nations) territory. He was hired to work as an Elder/Cultural Advisor in the Indigenous “Pathways Program.” While working in a penitentiary, he experienced continuous racism, discrimination, harassment and a hostile work environment. He was regularly subjected to derogatory comments from other staff and managers, including being mistaken as an inmate despite clearly wearing identification as an Elder. He brought his concerns to his managers, but no action was taken.
After months of unfair treatment, the Elder was told that a correctional officer had accused him of misconduct. He strongly rejected the accusation and wanted to defend himself. Instead of being given a chance to respond, he was marched out of the penitentiary and was fired a few weeks later.
The clinics are working with the Elder to challenge this mistreatment through both a lawsuit and a human rights complaint, both of which were started in June 2018.