Local Babysitter files human rights complaint against Edmonton-area dad

A YEG local father of two is facing a human rights complaint for allegedly discriminating against a male babysitter by asking him about his age and gender.

The complaint dates back to Aug. 31, 2017, when Todd, who doesn’t want his last name published to protect his family’s privacy, posted a babysitting job ad on Kijiji. He was looking for someone to look after his then five- and eight-year-old children for the evening.

One of the potential babysitters who responded to the ad was James Cyrynowski, who filed the complaint against Todd.

According to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which is representing Todd pro bono, Todd’s evening plans fell through so he cancelled the babysitter. The JCCF says Cyrynowski did not follow up with Todd about the cancellation and instead filed the complaint the next day.

Postmedia attempted to contact Cyrynowski for this story but was not successful.

Todd said in an email he doesn’t want to speculate on possible motives but was thankful for the help after he reached out to the JCCF.

“There have been many sleepless nights,” he said on Tuesday. “I did not realize that people could object to me finding out all the relevant information I can about a potential babysitter, including their age and sex. I thought I was doing what was best for my young children.”

Todd, who is self-employed, said while he rarely uses babysitters, he’s reluctant to try again because of this experience.

“Just trying to learn enough about a potential new babysitter can get me in trouble and I need to ensure that my children are safe,” he added.

In the complaint, dated Sept. 1, 2017, Cyrynowski said he received a message 10 minutes after applying to the job posting asking for his age and gender.

“I told him I’m male and 28 years old,” he wrote. “I never heard back from him since.”

This is not the first time Cyrynowski has filed a human rights complaint.

A similar case dating back to May 23, 2014, involved a mother posting an ad for a babysitter for her five-year-old son. Court documents show her ad listed a preference for an older woman with experience to look after her son. When Cyrynowski replied to the ad, he was told that she was looking for a female.

Cyrynowski filed his complaint a few days later on May 26. The court case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada where it was ultimately dismissed in May this year.

JCCF president John Carpay said parents need to be able to hire whoever they feel is appropriate to babysit their children.

“The parents should have full discretion,” he said. “If it is for a service in the home, you have to feel comfortable with a person coming into your home.”

Human rights complaints are considered confidential and are only made public once they go before a tribunal.

At the moment, Carpay is simply looking to have the case dismissed and isn’t seeking any kind of legal costs.