Halifax fire service faces racism complaint
Several black Halifax regional firefighters have filed a complaint of racism against the service, fire Chief Bill Mosher said on Tuesday.
The group of firefighters came forward in 2007 claiming the department was treating them unfairly. He didn't give details.
"We've been working through those issues over the past year and a half, and they've made a decision to take that further to the [Nova Scotia] Human Rights Commission, so it's in front of them now," Mosher said.
Mosher spoke to council behind closed doors on Tuesday.
Coun. Sue Uteck insists they should have been told about this months ago.
"Absolutely," Uteck said. "I'm starting to believe that this council is like a bunch of mushrooms — we're kept in the dark and fed BS."
Mayor Peter Kelly said he believes council would have been told eventually if the human rights commission was scrutinizing a municipal department.
"It would be, I would think, a normal process to inform council at some point in time. What that time frame is, I don't know. And I'll find out for you," Kelly said.
For his part, Mosher said he didn't want to overwhelm council with a number of concerns.
"There are many complaints that are lodged and we don't want to barrage council with a lot of issues when they don't need or don't, I guess, necessarily maybe not want to have everything," Mosher said.
Mosher is scheduled to return to council on April 21 to give an update on the case.
Once a complaint is filed, the human rights commission must decide whether to send it on to a board of inquiry for a hearing. Only a board can decide if the complainant has been discriminated against.
However, the commission says many complaints are settled before that stage.