Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, October 30, 2009 --- Members of the Filipino Canadian community and other interested persons are encouraged to attend the court hearing into the case of a Filipina Canadian mother whose son was exposed to discriminatory remarks and treatments for eating with a spoon and a fork in a Montreal West school.

The case will be heard by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal on November 23 and 24, 2009, at the Montreal courthouse (Palais de Justice), at 1 Notre Dame East. The courtroom will be confirmed closer to the hearing date.

In September 2008, the Quebec Human Rights Commission ruled that the then seven-year-old Grade 2 student, Luc, had been subjected back in 2006 to racially discriminatory comments by his educator (she asked him whether “in (his) country Filipinos wash their hands before they eat”). However, the Commission considered it an isolated incident and found no evidence that Luc was reprimanded because of his cultural eating habit. Furthermore, the Commission ruled that Luc was actually reprimanded by his educator, for his “inconvenient” eating manner at lunch and acting like a clown, rather than for his culture-based practice of eating with a fork and spoon.

In the end, the Commission only partially upheld the complaint, chose not to bring the case before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, and suggested mediation for the parties. However, the investigation has been plagued with procedural anomalies, including the following:

➢ The Commission’s investigator met with and took written statements from the educator and the principal, as well as two School Board employees. However, the investigator never met with Ms. Gallardo—who filed the complaint—her husband, their son Luc, or any of their witnesses on the Complainant’s side, to take written statements;

➢ The Commission obtained evidence submitted by the School board to rebut the family's version but did not disclose it to CRARR during the investigation;

➢ The investigation did not take into account key evidence presented by CRARR on behalf of the mother. Particularly, it ignored a newspaper article in which the school Principal was reported to have made discriminatory comments similar to those complained about by Ms. Gallardo and which she considered to be offensive to the Filipino community as a whole (such as “you are here in Canada... you should eat the way Canadians eat”).

Ms. Gallardo, who mandated CRARR to represent her and her son before the Commission, decided to file the lawsuit before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal at her own expense, to ensure justice and fair treatment for herself and her son.

Members of the Filipino Canadian community and other interested persons are invited to show support to Ms. Gallardo, her son and the community as a whole, by attending the hearing, and to make a financial donation help support the family and CRARR in their fight for equality. For information to how to make a donation, write to