Oct 28th, 2019
EDMONTON: Two years after filing a human rights complaint against a single father who asked him his age and gender, babysitter James Cyrynowski has now dropped his human rights complaint against the Alberta dad.
Cyrynowski’s decision to withdraw his complaint follows a written request by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca) asking the Alberta Human Rights Commission to dismiss Cyrynowski’s complaint. The Human Rights Officer and the Northern Director both recommended that Cyrynowski’s complaint be dismissed.
Cyrynowski made national headlines after filing complaints against at least two different Edmonton-area parents for allegedly violating the Alberta Human Rights Act, based on the parents’ requests for information about Cyrynowski’s age and gender, and whether he had children of his own. Both parents had posted ads on Kijiji looking for a babysitter, and Cyrynowski had responded to the ads.
The first parent, Todd, a single father of two boys aged 5 and 8 at the time, asked Cyrynowski for his age, gender, and what town he lived in. Mr. Cyrynowski answered 28, male and Edmonton.
Todd ended up not needing a babysitter and didn’t contact Cyrynowski further. Mr. Cyrynowski likewise, did not follow up with Todd. Instead he filed a Human Rights Complaint against Todd the very next day, alleging discrimination on the basis of age and gender, in violation of section 8 of the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Meanwhile the second parent, Danielle, an Edmonton mother of three young children, replied to Cyrynowski’s response to her ad by asking him whether he had any children of his own, and about his employment status, and by requesting references.
Danielle ultimately retained a babysitter who lived in her neighbourhood and worked close to her children’s daycare. Danielle did not follow up further with Cyrynowski or with other individuals who had contacted her online. Likewise, Cyrynowski did not make any attempt to follow up with Danielle.
Rather, on April 30, 2019, he filed a complaint against Danielle, alleging discrimination on the basis of family status in violation of section 8 of the Alberta Human Rights Act. In his Complaint, he stated: “I applied for a caregiver job on Kijiji. I was asked if I have children. I do not. I did not get the job.”
While Cyrynowski has now dropped the complaint against Todd, his complaint against Danielle is still pending a decision by the Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission based on the request and recommendations (1, 2) that the complaint be dismissed.
Cyrynowski’s complaint withdrawal echoes a similar tactic used by serial human rights complainant, Jonathan (Jessica) Yaniv in British Columbia. Yaniv filed complaints against female estheticians who had refused to provide a Brazilian bikini wax for Yaniv’s male genitalia. Like Cyrynowski, Yaniv dropped human rights complaints against female estheticians after the Justice Centre began representing the women.
After being chastised in a decision for dropping yet another complaint against another woman who obtained legal representation, Yaniv finally proceeded to having Yaniv’s complaints heard and adjudicated by the BC Human Rights Tribunal. The Tribunal ruled that female estheticians, who were defended by the Justice Centre, have the right to refuse to handle male genitals against their will. The Tribunal awarded costs to be paid to three individual women by Yaniv.
“Human rights commissions and tribunals are susceptible to abuse and need reform,” stated Marty Moore, Justice Centre staff lawyer, who represented the single father pro bono. “The Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Alberta Legislature need to take action to prevent parents from being dragged through these legal processes by bogus complaints,” continued Moore.