March 18, 2015 5:21 pm
Updated: March 18, 2015 6:13 pm

Jewish camp which barred boy appears to be acting within its rights


WATCH ABOVE: A Jewish camp may not be in the wrong in banning a non-Jewish teen. Lama Nicolas reports. 

TORONTO – A Jewish camp which told a non-Jewish teen he’s not welcome may not have done anything illegal, a lawyer said Wednesday.

Tyler Weir attended Camp Shalom, for 17 days last summer and now wants to go to Camp Solelim this summer to spend time with his friends.

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The camp said Weir’s attendance at Camp Shalom was an “administrative oversight.” This year, after finding out he wasn’t Jewish, the camp told him he couldn’t come, citing the camp’s mission to “instill Jewish pride and create future leaders of the Jewish community.”

Camp Solelim reiterated its position in a statement to Global News on Wednesday, saying it’s mission statement “which guides everything we do, identifies nurturing Jewish identity and values, fostering a sense of pride in Israel, and building future Jewish leaders as part of its core.”

“Given that our mission is to instill Jewish knowledge and pride and to create future leaders of the Jewish community, the campers must be Jewish. Our approach to training future Jewish leaders is in great demand,” the statement read.

WATCH: Lama Nicolas reports on the Richmond Hill boy who was rejected from a Jewish summer camp. 

And James Kay, a Toronto-area human rights lawyer said they are legally right to restrict access.

“It should not be viewed as putting somebody down or putting somebody off,” Kay said.

He explained the Ontario Human Rights Code grants non-profits the ability to discriminate based on certain characteristics.

In fact, if the camp could open itself up to a legal battle if they didn’t keep Weir from attending this year.

”If they deviate from their mandate and it’s not corrected then they would open themselves up to possibility of being in violation of human rights code because they wouldn’t be restricting to their group.”

The law gives groups the right to discriminate against certain groups of people.

“The rights under Part I to equal treatment with respect to services and facilities, with or without accommodation, are not infringed where membership or participation in a religious, philanthropic, educational, fraternal or social institution or organization that is primarily engaged in serving the interests of persons identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination is restricted to persons who are similarly identified.”

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