A recent court case Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 580 v. Mills sheds some light on a condominium corporation’s obligation where owners request accommodation under the Human Rights Code.
In this case, the respondent was an owner in a 15-unit condominium who suffered “severe and pervasive disabilities” that impacted his ability to communicate with the corporation’s Board of Directors, and to generally exist harmoniously in the condominium community.
The respondent’s harassing and terrorizing conduct had reached a point where residents in the corporation did not want to use the common areas out of fear of harassment by the respondent. Moreover, the respondent refused to permit the corporations’ contractors to access his unit to conduct necessary repair and maintenance. Particular examples of his harassing conduct included: (i) threatening to send asbestos to peoples’ homes; (ii) sending a relentless quantity of emails to the corporation’s Board of Directors; and (iii) playing audio recordings on loop for hours at a time, at a volume that could be heard by all of the residents of the corporation.
The respondent maintained that the underlying grounds for which the application was brought arose as a result of his disability for which he is required accommodation. In fact, the Court accepted that the tone and quantity of the respondent’s communications were very likely as a result of his disability and corresponding need for accommodation.
That said, the court further recognized that accommodation does not require a condominium or its service providers to endure harassment and oppression by the individual seeking accommodation:
“A demand for accommodation is only one side of the community living equation. People are required to recognize Mr. Mills’ disabilities and aid him accessing their goods and services to the point of undue hardship. But the duty to accommodate does not eliminate altogether the other parties’ rights and the need for Mr. Mills to obey the law and the rules of the condominium. A right to accommodation to participate in the community is not license to harass, oppress, or unilaterally dictate rules for how the condominium community behaves.”
The Court ultimately concluded that the facts of the case amounted to a breach of Section 117 of the Condominium Act, 1998, and oppression.
While corporations are required to ensure that they are reasonable in evaluating and responding to requests for accommodation, this does not mean that they are required to endure a level of harassment by the individual needing accommodation. As lawyers typically say, those cases must be evaluated on their facts.