An Egyptian-Canadian is making headlines in Toronto for the way he and his family say they have left the country.
Derek Smith, a 23-year-old from Toronto, says he was born and raised in Egypt, but moved to Canada in 2016.
He was told by his Egyptian mother that he was not Egyptian, so he left the family in a bid to make amends with his parents.
“It’s very hard to get back,” Smith said.
Smith’s mother said she believes her son was born in an arranged marriage and has no ties to the Egyptian community in Canada.
She said he was never told he was Egyptian, but was just born in Canada and was adopted by the Smith family in the early 1990s.
“They’re trying to say that they have Egyptian heritage, but that doesn’t make sense.
They don’t even know how to pronounce my name,” she said.”
I don’t know why they would adopt me and then say I’m Egyptian.”
Smith said he’s a staunch atheist and would never hurt a fly.
“If they are going to use my religion as a reason to discriminate against me, then they are not the kind of people that I want to be associated with.”
The Ontario Human Rights Commission said it is reviewing the case and is also investigating whether the Smiths are eligible for any sort of social assistance.
A spokesperson for Smith said he is still in the process of making a decision about whether he will seek legal representation.
“His application for social assistance has been approved,” he said in an email.
“We will work closely with him to make sure we are fully aware of his rights and that his application is timely and complete.”
A spokesperson from the Ontario Human Relations Commission said in a statement it is aware of the situation.
“This is a complex issue and we are not able to provide an update at this time,” said the spokesperson.
“The commission takes all allegations of discrimination seriously and takes the issue seriously.”