Ontario court upholds decision on alcohol addiction as a disability.
TORONTO -- Ontario's Social Benefits Tribunal has the jurisdiction to decide questions of law, including whether sections of the Ontario Disability Support Program Act infringe in·fringe
v. in·fringed, in·fring·ing, in·fring·es
1. To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent.
2. upon the Human Rights Code, Justice J. A. Weiler of the Ontario Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal for Ontario (frequently referred to as Ontario Court of Appeal) is headquartered in downtown Toronto, in historic Osgoode Hall.
The Court is composed of 22 judges who hear over 1 500 appeals each year, on issues of private law, constitutional ruled. But the best forum to make that determination is through the Code's procedure itself the judge advised.
In March 2003, the Ontario Divisional Court dismissed the appeal of two men who disputed decisions by the Ontario Social Benefits Tribunal, which agreed with the ODSP ODSP Ontario Disability Support Program (Canada)
ODSP Optical Digital Signal Processing Director's ruling that the two men, who are addicted ad·dict·ed
1. Physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance.
2. Compulsively or habitually involved in a practice or behavior, such as gambling. to alcohol, were ineligible in·el·i·gi·ble
1. Disqualified by law, rule, or provision: ineligible to run for office; ineligible for health benefits.
2. for benefits under ODSPA Section 5 (2). This section states that a person is not eligible for income support if his or her only substantial impairment Impairment
1. A reduction in a company's stated capital.
2. The total capital that is less than the par value of the company's capital stock.
1. This is usually reduced because of poorly estimated losses or gains.
2. is alcohol or other substance dependence or addiction.
As well, the Divisional Court also upheld the Tribunal's decision to not consider the men's argument that ODPSA Section 5 (2) contravenes the Human Rights Code, which guarantees "equal treatment" to "services, goods or facilities without discrimination because of disability," and upheld the decision that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to "give effect to the primacy of the Code."
The men then jointly appealed the Ontario Division's ruling to the Ontario Court of Appeal where Justice Weiler dismissed their appeal.
In his judgement Justice Weiler agreed with the men's argument that the Tribunal has been imbued with powers to consider questions of law, including the Code, and that power is further supported because "the power to apply the Code has not been excluded in the ODSPA, either expressly or by implication."
However, he dismissed the appeal because he ruled that the best forum in which to decide the dispute as to whether the ODSPA section 5 (2) infringes upon the Code "is one that is best determined by the procedure under the Code."