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Political Belief

The Act defines political belief as a belief in a political party registered under Section 24 of the Election Act. Registered political parties include, but are not limited to: Prince Edward Island Liberal Association Inc., the Progressive Conservative Association of Prince Edward Island, the Island Party of PEI, Island New Democrats and the Green Party of Prince Edward Island. In order to claim discrimination under political belief, the person making the complaint is required to show evidence of:

  1. a membership of or contribution to a registered political party, or
  2. open and active participation in the affairs of a registered political party.


Under the Act, political belief does not include a lack of participation or belief in a political party. If, for example, someone who does not belong or associate with a political party was not hired for a job, while another individual who does belong to a political party does get hired, the non-political individual could not claim discrimination under the PEI Human Rights Act.

Consider these scenarios:

Scenario 1: Chantal has just started working for a restaurant owned by a well known supporter of the provincial governing party. There is an upcoming provincial election and Chantal has been campaigning for another political party by attending rallies and going door to door. Her picture even appeared on the front of the local newspaper showing her support for the opposition. After returning from a rally, Chantal’s supervisor tells her that she is no longer needed. When she questions why she is being let go, the supervisor says that her political activism is not good for business because of the clientele they serve.

Scenario 2: Kevin has been employed at a provincial park for five years. Recently, he found out that he is not being offered a position at the park this year. Two months ago, there was a provincial election and the governing party changed. Kevin worked for the opposition party during the election campaign. Kevin believes that he is not being called back to work because of his involvement with the opposition party.

Chantal and Kevin could be experiencing discrimination in the area of employment on the basis of political belief. However, if Chantal or Kevin did not associate with or participate in a registered political party, their complaints would not fall under the PEI Human Rights Act.

Exceptions:

General Occupational Qualification:
There may be some jobs where having certain political beliefs may be a genuine occupational requirement. For example, it may not be discriminatory for a political organization to hire advisors who share the organization’s political beliefs. On the other hand, political belief is not relevant to an employee’s ability to work on a highway paving crew.

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