Falun Gong senior booted from club gets $15K
Ottawa group discriminated against elderly woman, human rights tribunal rules
An elderly woman kicked out of the Ottawa Chinese Seniors' Association because she practices Falun Gong will receive $15,000, after an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled she was a victim of discrimination.
Daiming Huang, 78, said she was pleased with the decision from the tribunal, which found the seniors group wrongfully revoked Huang's membership nearly a decade ago.
"I feel happy that the adjudicator recognized the Falun Gong as a protected creed," the Kanata, Ont., resident said through an interpreter in Mandarin.
Huang had distributed Falun Gong literature to five seniors at a 2001 New Year's dinner, crediting her good health to her involvement with the form of spiritual philosophy. She was expelled from the group shortly after.
Group is 'creed' under human rights code
Falun Gong is banned by the Chinese government and its followers have been persecuted in China.
According to Huang's testimony, the executive members of the seniors' association described the beliefs system as a "cult." But the association denied ever making disparaging remarks and any allegations of discrimination.
Rather, the group claimed, Huang left the group voluntaritly after being told that religious proselytizing was not welcome in their secular organization. The executives could not be reached for comment.
The tribunal's April 27 judgment, which was based on Huang's testimony, called Falun Gong a "creed" protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Huang testified that she had not bothered other guests and only handed out Falun Gong literature to several people, some of whom apparently expressed interest.
The Ottawa Chinese Seniors Association, which runs monthly gatherings for hundreds of elderly Chinese to chat over tea, said it will struggle to find the $15,000 to award to Huang.