'Race discrimination': Indigenous Quebec man who lived on reserve denied insurance

MONTREAL — Quebec's human rights commission has ruled that an Indigenous Quebec man who was denied car insurance because he lived on a reserve was the victim of race discrimination.

Alexis Wawanoloath, a lawyer and ex-Parti Québécois member of the legislature, brought the complaint in October 2018 after he was refused a car insurance quote because of his postal code in Odanak, about 120 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The commission released a decision last month that found insurance company Industrial Alliance was guilty of racial discrimination against Wawanoloath, a member of the W8banakiak First Nation.

Wawanoloath told reporters today about the lengthy four-year fight to get a ruling from the commission, adding that his complaint had initially been closed in 2020 by an investigator who he discovered also worked in the insurance industry.

The commission ordered the Quebec City-based insurance company to pay Wawanoloath $20,000 in moral and punitive damages.

Industrial Alliance has until Nov. 11 to pay or escalate the case to the Quebec human rights tribunal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press