In a prior blog post we wrote about a group of condominium unit owners in British Columbia who filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, claiming that they were being discriminated against because the condominium board (the strata council) decided that all board meetings would be conducted in Mandarin.
The Richmond News recently reported that the case has been settled. After incurring legal fees of approximately $25,000, the complainant owners group felt that they were not able to continue to pursue the complaint as they were not able to finance the legal costs. The owners have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay for their legal costs. (So far, only $2475 has been collected). On the other hand, the strata corporation’s directors’ insurance covered the legal costs of the directors. Not having to personally fund the legal costs to defend the complaint gave the directors an edge in this dispute.
While the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, it was disclosed that a written apology will be delivered to the group of owners.
Because this case was settled, unfortunately we will never know what decision the Human Rights Tribunal would have made as to whether or not the conducting of Mandarin-only board meetings was discriminatory. As Canada is such a multi-cultural society, situations such as this could arise in other condominiums. A decision by the Human Rights Tribunal would have provided guidance for other condominium boards.
As this case garnered considerable media attention, Linda Reid, a member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly and Speaker of the House has indicated that she will try to advocate for a change in the British Columbia strata legislation to make English mandatory.