Working Remotely for the Yukon Human Rights Commission: Legal Research is Cool

Mathew YaworskiBy Mathew Yaworski

Like many people during the pandemic, I am working remotely, albeit with a three-hour time difference between Whitehorse and Toronto. Working remotely has its perks: its always calm and quiet, every day is a casual day (although I believe the Commission may have a casual dress policy), my office and the bathroom are literally next to each other, and I get access to a fully stocked fridge every day for lunch.  That said, it is not for everyone. You need to be okay with the absence of, or limited, in-person contract and amenable to working independently.

I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected by the Yukon Human Rights Commission, and blessed by their benediction to let me complete my internship remotely. Regrettably, if I was not in a high risk group for COVID-19, I would have definitely joined my classmate (who was also selected) in relocating to Whitehorse.  Who is she? Well, you’ll have to look for her blog to discover her adventures in the Yukon this summer.

My placement is twelve weeks, but my Supervisor was exceedingly kind and generous to work with me to identify the type of work I wanted to do. In my case, it was primarily legal research.  Granted, for most people, research is boring or a source of monotony. But for me, it is an area that interests me and a skill that I wish to improve. Mastering the use of Boolean search terms in CanLii, Quicklaw, and Westlaw is an important skill.  Research, like any skill, requires practice. Fortunately for me, I have that opportunity here and Quicklaw and Westlaw are accessible through the Nahum Gelber Law Library.

I am assisting the A/Counsel with an active human rights complaint, the details unfortunately I cannot share.  However, I can offer that my work involves conducting research into different sections within the Yukon Human Rights Act.  This includes researching case law related to the complaint and reviewing federal and provincial legislation to distinguish between standards for settlement. What happens to a complaint if the respondent makes a settlement offer?  Is there a test or does a settlement offer have to meet a certain threshold? (ie, fair, reasonable, or fair and reasonable)?

I am still trying to find, or propose, the answer.

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