As many of you may be aware, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (“CAT”) expanded its jurisdiction on October 1, 2020. Part of its expansion includes dealing with disputes related to pets.
There are instances in which a condominium corporation may have to deal with a resident who decides to bring a pet into a no-pet building or a pet that weighs in excess of the permitted weight restrictions in a corporation’s governing documents. There may be certain instances in which a resident requests an exemption from restrictions in the governing documents on the basis that the pet is an emotional support animal or a service animal. Sometimes these disputes land before the Human Rights Tribunal (the “HRTO”).
With CAT’s expanded jurisdiction, it still remains unclear as to whether pet disputes with human rights issues, should be heard before the HRTO or dealt with by CAT – or perhaps both!
CAT released its first decision on the topic. In Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1195 v. Solomon, 2021 ONCAT 20, the Respondent brought an HRTO application regarding accommodation for an oversized dog. The condominium corporation was aware of the HRTO application but nonetheless brought the CAT proceeding requiring the Respondent’s compliance with the corporation’s rules. The Respondent brought a motion to defer the CAT proceeding as the HRTO application was in progress.
CAT dismissed the motion to defer the CAT proceeding on the basis that:
- The HRTO application had yet to be approved when the corporation filed its CAT proceeding, thus the HRTO application was not much further along than the CAT proceeding.
- The CAT proceeding pertained to how the condominium corporation’s pet rules are applied in relation to the accommodation, not the accommodation itself.
- The Corporation sought an order requiring the Respondent’s dog to wear a muzzle on the common elements.
Based on this recent CAT decision, it appears as if condominium corporations and owners are able to bring concurrent proceedings before the HRTO and CAT. Its unclear, though, as to whether CAT would have had a similar finding if the HRTO application was further along or if the disputes being adjudicated were identical.
Only time will tell as more pet disputes are heard before CAT! Stay tuned…