A lawsuit filed by a Calgary man seeking to have his autism diagnosis invalidated has been rejected.
The lawsuit filed in Alberta Supreme Court on Wednesday alleges the province is “entitled to have its decision based on science” and not on emotion, the Calgary Herald reported.
“There’s no evidence that [the provincial government] has a scientific basis for this decision,” said Jennifer Ziegler, who is representing Mark Eberhart.
“The science itself is very clear that the diagnosis is correct.”
The case is one of the first cases in Canada in which a court has rejected a claim that the province has no basis for denying the man’s autism diagnosis.
The man, who goes by Mark Ebers, filed the lawsuit in March after his parents were denied an Ontario-wide exemption for him.
The province has refused to issue the exemption, arguing it is based on “emotional considerations.”
The man’s parents, whose identities are protected by a publication ban, allege the Ontario exemption discriminates against their son because he is autistic.
In the lawsuit, the Eberharts allege that since they were denied the exemption in 2014, they have spent thousands of dollars to “purchase and assemble a large number of ‘tools of the trade’ to create a computer, a home automation system and a device for monitoring the condition of the child.”
They also allege they were required to pay more than $150,000 for a “digital health monitoring system.”
The lawsuit says Ebers is also disabled and cannot operate a computer.
The Eberthands allege the government is discriminating against them because they are autistic and the man is autistic, and they want him to be able to receive the exemption.
Eberhart is currently awaiting the outcome of the case.
The Alberta Human Rights Commission has also refused to comment on the case, but the agency previously defended the province’s decision to exempt him from the exemption program.
“It’s certainly a significant case that could have implications for other people,” said Mary-Louise Taylor, the commission’s director of legal services.
“We’ve always said that the human rights commission has a mandate to protect the rights of individuals, including those with disabilities.”
In a statement, Alberta Human Resources Minister David Eggen said the province “is not taking any position on this matter.”
“We believe that the exemption is the best way to provide access to the appropriate care for those who need it most,” Eggen wrote in the statement.
“We also believe that our current process for dealing with claims for disability in the Human Rights Code provides reasonable protections for those with disability.”
A spokesperson for the province declined to comment, saying the government does not comment on specific cases.