Nova Scotia

Gay former navy officer's human rights case against military in court

A hearing has begun in Halifax in the case of a former navy officer who alleges he was harassed because he is openly gay.

Retired Sub-Lieutenant Paul Ritchie asking Federal Court for review into human rights claim

Retired sub-lieutenant Paul Ritchie is fighting the Canadian military in court, claiming he was discriminated against based on his sexual orientation. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

A hearing has begun in Halifax in the case of a former navy officer who alleges he was harassed because he is openly gay.

Retired sub-lieutenant Paul Ritchie is asking the Federal Court for a judicial review of a decision from the Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissing his claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Documents filed with the court describe a complex legal fight dating back to 2009, the year after he enrolled to become a naval combat systems engineer in the Royal Canadian Navy.

A report from a Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator concluded that, as the military itself admitted, Ritchie was at times treated differently as he studied at the Naval Engineering School in Halifax.

However, the investigator found that even in cases where Ritchie was treated differently, there was no conclusive evidence that it was due to his sexual preference.

The CBC's Brett Ruskin is live blogging from the hearing.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the court as the Federal Court of Appeal. In fact, the hearing was before the Federal Court.
    Mar 16, 2016 11:13 AM AT

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