ontario news watch

Senate ordered to reinstate executive who alleged he was fired because of racism

OTTAWA — A federal tribunal has ordered the Senate to restore an executive who said he was fired on the basis of racial discrimination. 

Darshan Singh served two years as the Senate’s human-resources director, but his lawyer says he has no interest in returning to the role.

Senate administrative officials told the public sector labour tribunal that Singh was fired in December 2015 due to his “attitude and behaviour” toward his supervisor, but Singh says his manager undermined him because of racial prejudice.

Senate lawyers disclosed during the tribunal process that emails sent by Sen. David Wells and former Sen. George Furey discussed Singh with former Speaker Sen. Leo Housakos days before his firing.

The tribunal ordered the Senate to provide the emails, but its lawyers argued they were protected by parliamentary privilege, a kind of legal immunity meant to help Parliament maintain its independence.

Senators were set to vote on whether to provide the emails, but before the vote could happen, lawyers reached a confidential agreement last month that the tribunal approved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2024.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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