Condominium Corporations Discriminated on the Basis of Family Status

York Condominium Corp. No. 216 v. Dudnik (1991), 14 C.H.R.R. D/406 (Ont. Div.Ct.)

This is a decision of the Ontario Divisional Court on an appeal by York Condominium Corporation No. 216 and No. 229, and Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 624 from a ruling by a Board of Inquiry which found that the Corporations had discriminated against a number of complainants because of family status and age.

At issue in the complaints were restrictive by-laws of the Corporations which barred families with children younger than 16 or 14 years of age from occupying condominium units.

The Divisional Court upholds the Board of Inquiry's finding that the complainants were discriminated against on the basis of family status. Having found this, it finds it unnecessary to consider whether the respondents also discriminated on the basis of age.

However, the Court overturns the Board of Inquiry's finding that the Ontario Human Rights Code was breached in the case of George Ramdial. Mr. Ramdial was the owner of a condominium unit which he agreed to sell to Lana Salmon. Representatives of Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 624 moved to bar Ms. Salmon from purchasing the unit because she intended to occupy it with her thirteen-year-old son. Mr. Ramdial released her from the purchase agreement because of their actions, thus losing the sale. The Board of Inquiry found that Mr. Ramdial had been discriminated against because of family status because he was prevented from selling to Ms. Salmon. However, the Court finds that he was not discriminated against contrary to the Code because his right to equal treatment with respect to accommodation was not infringed.

In addition, the Court reduces the award to Ms. Salmon. The Board of Inquiry had awarded her general damages of $25,000 as compensation for her significant loss of opportunity. George Ramdial had agreed to sell his condominium unit to her for $133,000 with a small down payment and a second mortgage provided by him. Prices rose sharply immediately after this agreement was voided due to legal actions taken by the Condominium Corporation. Two and a half months later Mr. Ramdial sold the unit for $143,000. Ms. Salmon was unable to purchase another property and continued to live with her sister.

The Court concludes that the Board of Inquiry erred because Ms. Salmon is entitled only to compensation for the loss arising from the infringement of her right not to be discriminated against on the basis of family status. If her object in purchasing the unit was to make a profit, she could have completed the purchase and then complained that her right to occupancy of accommodation without discrimination on the basis of family status was breached. In the circumstances, the Court reduces the award to Ms. Salmon from $25,000 to $1,000.

The appeal is dismissed in part and allowed in part.

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