Quebec medical residents head to court seeking an end to questions about having children

New medical residents (Lyndsay Aelick/CTV Northern Ontario)

The federation that represents medical residents in Quebec and one of its members are asking the province's Superior Court to end a practice they find discriminatory: being asked during a job interview if they have children, or if they intend to.

The federation, which has been fighting the practice for years, is asking for punitive damages for itself and a resident it is representing who it says had to answer such questions during a recent interview.

The federation is seeking $300,000 for itself and $80,000 for the resident for what they call "systemic discrimination." The federation says it will donate any damages it receives to human-rights organizations.

In the request to the court for a permanent injunction, the resident says she was asked, "Out of curiousity, what industry does your spouse work in?" and "There are candidates who say, for example, 'I want six children in five years.' I want to hear your thoughts on that."

The Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services and Laurentians integrated health and social services centre (CISSS) are defendants in the claim, because the plaintiffs say they engage in this practice despite having denounced it publicly for years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.