Article by Julius Melnitzer, Financial Post
The Federal Court has ordered the Canadian Human Rights Commission to reconsider a discrimination claim by a licensed medical marijuana grower after the Bank of Nova Scotia called in his up-to-date mortgage.
Wendy Hulton of Dickinson Wright LLP said last week’s ruling reflects the evolution of popular and judicial attitudes to marijuana, particularly with its impending legalization for recreational use less than a year off.
“The facts is this case arose in 2009, which was three sets of regulations ago,” she said. “Justice (Keith) Boswell recognized this, and bent over backwards to send off signals that things have changed since then.”
Boswell found the commission had not reviewed “obviously crucial information” in making its decision. Its investigator did not determine whether the bank had a pre-existing policy for homeowners with grow-ops, and failed to consider the import of internal bank e-mails referring to the grow-op as an issue and questioning its legality despite the existence of the license.
“A reasonable person would agree that this evidence was crucial because it lends credence to the applicant’s position that his son’s growing of medical marijuana may have been a factor in the bank’s decision to call in the mortgage,” Boswell wrote.
Boswell’s decision came some seven years after Robert McIlvenna of Sudbury applied for a line of credit increase for renovations to the home where his son, his daughter-in-law, and their three children resided.