Last year, we posted an update about the Supreme Court of
Canada's decision to hear an appeal involving Mr. Latif, a
Canadian pilot of Pakistani descent. He alleged that he was a
victim of discrimination when Bombardier refused him entry into a
pilot training program. Our blog post (which includes a
summary of the case) can be
In short, Mr. Latif, who had 25 years' experience as a
pilot, applied for Bombardier's training program in respect of
a particular aircraft. Based on a prior decision of the U.S.
Department of Justice (under its Alien Flight Student Program
("AFSP")) to refuse him entry into Bombardier's
training centre in Dallas, Texas on the basis that he was a threat
to national security, he was also denied entry by Bombardier into
its Montreal training centre. Despite there being no similar
Canadian screening process, Bombardier advised that it was required
to follow the U.S. decision in order to comply with its flight
training certificate issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation
Although the U.S. authorities eventually reversed their
decision, Mr. Latif brought an application to the Quebec Human
Rights Tribunal, arguing that Bombardier had discriminated against
him in denying him entry into the Montreal program. The
Tribunal agreed, basing its decision largely on the evidence of an
expert witness who stated that the U.S. government had engaged in
racial profiling against Muslims and persons of Arabic descent in
numerous post-9/11 anti-terrorism programs. The Tribunal felt
that the AFSP was such a program, and that it was discriminatory
for Bombardier to have followed the U.S. decision without knowing
its basis. It awarded Mr. Latif approximately $300,000 in
damages and held that Bombardier was prohibited from relying on
U.S. decisions in matters of national security when considering
applicants to its Canadian program.
The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned this decision, finding
there was no evidence that the U.S. decision was the result of
racial profiling or discrimination. Mr. Latif appealed to the
Supreme Court of Canada.
In July 2015, in reasons found here, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr.
Latif's appeal. The Court agreed with the Court of Appeal
that Mr. Latif had failed to adduce sufficient evidence that his
ethnic or national origin was at least a contributing factor in the
U.S. decision, which was a requirement to establish discrimination
under Quebec's human rights legislation.
The Court found that, at best, the expert report relied on by
the Tribunal (which did not even mention the AFSP as one of the
programs in which racial profiling existed) showed that, at the
time, "there was a social climate in which racial profiling
was generalized for national security purposes as a result of the
terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and that racial profiling
was practised in certain U.S. government programs". It
could not be presumed solely on the basis of a social context of
discrimination against a group that a specific decision against a
member of that group was necessarily based on a discriminatory
The Court found that there was no other evidence supporting a
connection between the decision and Mr. Latif's ethnic or
national origin, noting in particular that the U.S. government had
been aware of his country of origin in 2003 when it had granted him
entry into the program (for other training which he did not
pursue). It also noted that Mr. Latif had testified that he
was told by an official with the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration that the decision had been the result of an
identification error, not his country of origin.
With respect to the order made by the Tribunal prohibiting
Bombardier from any further reliance on U.S. decisions in admitting
pilots to its Canadian training program, the Court noted that had
there been discrimination against Mr. Latif, and evidence of a
discriminatory organizational policy, a broader order may have been
necessary in the public interest in order to prevent discrimination
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