Application of ITAR - A settlement is reached with Bell Helicopter following a complaint to the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse



    MONTREAL, Jan. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - An agreement has been signed by Bell
Helicopter and the complainant following a complaint of discrimination filed
with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in
relation to the application of the United States' International Traffic in
Arms Regulations (ITAR). The complainant alleged that he had been refused an
internship with the company because of the application of the US regulations,
which require Canadian and Québec companies that manufacture military
equipment and have contracts with US companies to exclude workers born in
certain countries(1) from specific jobs, even if they hold Canadian
citizenship.

    Exclusion based on place of birth

    The complainant, who was born in Haiti but has held Canadian citizenship
for almost 30 years, applied for an internship with Bell Helicopter as part of
a training program. His application was accepted, along with that of 14 other
students, but when he began his internship he was notified that his place of
birth, Haiti, disqualified him from continuing under the ITAR rules.
    The agreement, the details of which remain confidential, follows a claim
for damages made by the complainant as a result of his exclusion, which was
considered discriminatory by the Commission following an investigation. Since
the matter has been settled to the satisfaction of the complainant, the
Commission will cease to act in this specific case.

    Opposition to discriminatory rules

    The Commission reiterates its opposition to the application of the ITAR
rules in Québec because of their discriminatory impact. It has conducted a
legal analysis of the rules and concluded that they include requirements that
are inconsistent with The Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. More
specifically, they infringe the right to equality without discrimination based
on ethnic or national origin. "We can no longer accept that companies
established in Québec submit to foreign rules that infringe on the values and
rights of citizens as recognized by the National Assembly," says
Gaétan Cousineau, the president of the Commission.
    The Commission does not challenge the need for military equipment
manufacturers to establish security rules. However, security controls must be
designed and applied in a way that is not based on the ethnic or national
origin of the workers concerned.
    The Commission stated its position in letters to the federal and
provincial governments in July 2007, urging the governments to take action to
prevent American rules from causing discrimination in Québec.
    The Commission is following the political developments in this matter
attentively. It also points out that any person who believes that his or her
rights have been infringed by the application of the ITAR rules may rely on
the services of the Commission.

    
    ------------------------
    (1) The following countries, for instance, are targeted: Belarus, China,
        Cuba, Haiti, North Korea, lran, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria
        and Vietnam.

    Source : Robert Sylvestre
             (514) 873-5146 or 1 800 361-6477, extension 253
    
    -%SU: CPN
    -%RE: 1




For further information:

For further information: Robert Sylvestre, (514) 873-5146,
1-800-361-6477, extension 253

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Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse

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