Human Rights & Duties
I was discriminated against in my housing
These case summaries show examples of the awards the Tribunal has made when a person has suffered injury to their dignity and self-respect because of discrimination. The summaries also show what other awards were made, like compensation for expenses.
Note: See also “I was harassed”.
Grounds: Lawful source of income (income assistance)
The discrimination: Mr. Desjarlais rented a suite. Six days later, the landlords learned that he collected income assistance and asked him to move out by the end of the month.
Vulnerability: Mr. Desjarlais had just moved into this suite and was also embarrassed to be getting income assistance.
Effect: Mr. Desjarlais was distressed in the short term. He was also inconvenienced by having to relocate a second time within a two week period. There were no long term effects.
Flak v. Andersen, 2015 BCHRT 87 ($2,000)
Grounds: Mental disability (depression)
Discrimination: Denied opportunity to rent suite
The discrimination: The landlord refused to rent a suite to Ms. Flak after she learned that Ms. Flak had depression.
Vulnerability: Ms. Flak was not particularly vulnerable. She was not actually suffering from depression at the time she tried to rent the suite. After she was denied the rental, Ms. Flak simply continued living in her original apartment.
Effect: Ms. Flak did not give any evidence of emotional harm from the discrimination.
Grounds: Lawful source of income (income assistance)
Discrimination: Denied right to continue tenancy
Expenses: $1,500 (additional rent and moving expenses)
Order to take steps: Offer Mr. Day the suite if vacant on the same terms, or if it becomes vacant in the next two years on the same terms as the most recent tenants
The discrimination: Mr. Day had a job but sometimes needed income assistance. He rented the landlords’ suite for May 1. He gave his employer’s name as his reference. He then called social services to give his upcoming change of address. On April 28, social services phoned the landlord to confirm that Mr. Day had rented his suite. The landlord was surprised to find out that Mr. Day was on “welfare”. The landlord phoned Mr. Day and called him “one of those welfare people”. He said that he was not going to rent to anyone on welfare. The landlord also accused Mr. Day of lying about having a job.
Vulnerability: Mr. Day lived with his two young children. He had been given notice to leave his current suite.
Effect: Mr. Day had to scramble to find somewhere to live in the same area so that his two kids would not have to change schools. There were not many options available, so he had to rent a suite that cost $100 more per month. Mr. Day was upset and distressed when Mr. Kumar falsely accused him of lying and cancelled the tenancy agreement. He continued to feel hurt by this experience at the hearing. The Tribunal awarded $2,500 because that is what Mr. Day asked for. The Tribunal might have given Mr. Day more money if he had asked for it.
Grounds: Family status (parent and child)
Discrimination: Denied opportunity to rent suite
The discrimination: Ms. Horneland applied to rent Ms. Wong’s suite for her and her child. Ms. Wong told her that she was concerned about renting to people with kids because the suite was not really appropriate for kids. She rented the suite instead to three adults without kids.
Vulnerability: None identified.
Effect: Ms. Horneland was clearly offended, but Ms. Wong’s conduct only had a small effect on her. Ms. Horneland quickly found another rental for her and her child.
Area: Services in a strata
Grounds: Physical disability (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
Discrimination: Strata did not accommodate disability
Expenses: $30.00 (cost of medical opinion)
The discrimination: Mr. Shannon owned a home in a strata. His symptoms got worse with air conditioning. To cool his home, he put a solar screen on his front window. The Strata Council told him to remove the screen because it was against to the Bylaws. He asked for an exemption due to his medical condition. He offered to provide a letter from his doctor. The Strata Council insisted that he remove the screen.
Vulnerability: Mr. Shannon had chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Effect: Mr. Shannon was frustrated that he had to remove the solar screen. He felt down when his symptoms returned. The dispute likely affected his relations with his neighbours.
McDaniel and McDaniel v. Strata Plan LMS 1657 (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 167 ($4,500 and $2,000)
Area: Services in a strata
Grounds: Physical disability (allergies; type 1 diabetes)
Discrimination: Strata did not accommodate disability; eventually moved out
Expenses: $1,518.88 (air conditioner, naturopathic consultations, expenses to attend hearing)
The discrimination: Second-hand smoke affected the McDaniels’ disabilities. Their strata did little to stop second-hand smoke coming into their unit. They lived there for three years. More than half of that time, the second-hand smoke was unacceptable and debilitating. Eventually, the McDaniels left their unit.
Vulnerability: The McDaniels both had disabilities. They were physically and psychologically vulnerable.
Effect: Second-hand smoke increased the McDaniels’ health risks and stress. The second-hand smoke was not bad all year round, but they felt dread, anxiety and stress about it. The strata did little to help. A home is central to a person’s security. The McDaniels came to hate their home.
Grounds: Family status (relationship to daughter)
Discrimination: Denied opportunity to join Co-op
Order to take steps: Place Ms. Nicolosi at the top of the waiting list and offer the next two-bedroom unit that becomes available
The discrimination: Ms. Nicolosi and her adult daughter applied to be members in a co-op. Ms. Nicolosi helped her daughter raise her young son. They wanted to live close to one another. The co-op approved them both as members. There was only one unit available right away. Ms. Nicolosi’s daughter moved in first. Ms. Nicolosi was at the top of the waiting list. Her daughter had some disagreements with the co-op during her move in. Because of this, the co-op changed its mind about Ms. Nicolosi’s application. It rejected her application because of her daughter’s conduct.
Vulnerability: Ms. Nicolosi cared deeply for her daughter and her grandson. She was a significant support to them. As she lived quite far away, it took her an hour to travel to the Co-op to visit them. Ms. Nicolosi visited almost every day.
Effect: Ms. Nicolosi’s anxiety was made worse. She was still very emotional about her situation at the hearing. The discrimination prevented her from carrying out her family duties.
Note: this decision was upheld by the BC Supreme Court: 2013 BCSC 1989.
Grounds: Race, colour
Discrimination: Service requests ignored and evicted
Expenses: $1,500 for six months of higher rent
The discrimination: Mr. Monsson rented an apartment and lived there with his son. He was black. The landlord ignored his reasonable requests for service but gave white tenants good service. Mr. Monsson wanted some repairs done after the building’s pipes burst and flooded his apartment. He also asked repeatedly that animal feces be picked up from the building’s common areas. The landlord called him angry, abusive and threatening. It evicted him.
Vulnerability: Mr. Monsson was a single parent of a son with severe disabilities.
Effect: Mr. Monsson was very upset and deeply affected. Having to move was very stressful for Mr. Monsson because of the impact on his son. The son had settled into a comfortable routine, school and home. Routine was very important. The move caused a lot of stress and it took some time for Mr. Monsson’s son to settle into the new home.
Petterson and Poirier v. Gorcak (No. 3), 2009 BCHRT 439 ($9,000 and $6,000)
Grounds: Mental and physical disability and family status
Expenses: $4,333 for increased rent and utilities, moving expenses, and attending hearing
The discrimination: Mr. Poirier had a mental illness and physical disabilities which affected his behaviour. He lived in a trailer park. His behaviour made the owner of the trailer park think he was “crazy” and dangerous. The owner spread rumours about Mr. Poirier that made the other residents think he was dangerous and could be a threat to people, property and pets. She isolated Mr. Poirier in his community because of his mental health. Eventually, she evicted him.
Vulnerability: Mr. Poirier was vulnerable because he had not been able to get work, which made him feel badly about himself.
Effects: The discrimination had a big impact on Mr. Poirier. He felt like a nothing, and could not even look people in the eyes. He had anxiety, worry, depression, and felt worthless. He had trouble sleeping and eating. He avoided people in the small community where he lived. The treatment made him feel so bad it was even harder for him to look for work. A friend said that Mr. Poirier had lost his cheerfulness and did not enjoy doing the things he used to do anymore. Another friend said Mr. Poirier withdrew from friendships.
The discrimination: Ms. Petterson was Mr. Poirier’s elderly mother. She also lived in the trailer park and relied on Mr. Poirier’s help. The owner evicted Ms. Petterson because of her relationship with Ms. Poirer. The owner was worried that if his mother still lived in the trailer park, Mr. Poirier would come to the park to visit.
Vulnerability: Ms. Petterson was vulnerable. She was 90 years old. She had physical and mental decline.
Effects: After she was evicted, Ms. Petterson could not sleep and had to take medication. A friend said she was stressed and weepy, and could not put the discrimination behind her. Another friend said Ms. Petterson lost her old joy in life.
Grounds: Disability (asthma, allergies)
Discrimination: Co-op did not accommodate disability; asked to move out
Expenses: $1,500 for moving expenses and work performed improving the property
The discrimination: Ms. Redmond moved into a unit with her family. Soon after, she began having asthma attacks because of mould in the unit. The co-op took some steps to deal with her concerns. Otherwise, it ignored her and called her “loony”. After about ten weeks, the co-op asked her to leave and Ms. Redmond moved out.
Vulnerability: Ms. Redmond had a mould allergy that triggered asthma attacks. She was physically vulnerable.
Effect: During the ten weeks, Ms. Redmond’s allergy symptoms required a trip to the hospital, a stay outside the home, and the use of a mask while in the home. The co-op did little and discounted her concerns. The move had a lasting effect. Ms. Redmond felt responsible because it was her allergies that meant her family had to move. She was stressed before and after the move. She felt guilty and incapable. There was an emotional impact on her because of the effects of the move on her family. She continued to be affected by the discrimination.
Grounds: Mental disability (brain damage); and Lawful source of income (disability pension)
Discrimination: Denied opportunity to rent
The discrimination: Mr. James put in an offer to buy a mobile home at Silver Park. The seller accepted his offer “subject to” the condition that Mr. James must rent the pad under the home. Silver Park refused to rent the pad. It had a stereotypical view that his income was too low and that his mental disability meant he could not take care of himself. Mr. James was then forced to move in with his mother. He did not know when or if he would ever be able to move into his new home.
Vulnerability: Mr. James was particularly vulnerable. He had brain damage and lived on a disability pension of about $900 per month. Discrimination in housing against persons with a mental disability is one of the worst forms of discrimination because securing a home is such an important human need.
Effect: Mr. James did not testify at the hearing. His mother said that her son could not handle the stress of the hearing because of his disability. Mr. James was 55 years old. It was very humiliating for him to have to live with his mother again after 19 years of living on his own. The Tribunal would have awarded even more money if Mr. James had testified or put in some medical evidence.
Note: This case was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal: 2013 BCCA 292
Area: Purchase of property
Grounds: Physical disability (blind)
Discrimination: Strata refused to accommodate dog
The discrimination: Mr. Jones made an offer to purchase a property, which was accepted. The property was in a strata. Mr. Jones was blind and used the help of a dog. The strata refused to give approval for Mr. Jones’ dog to live in the strata unless it was a registered guide dog. The deal to buy the property collapsed.
Vulnerability: Mr. Jones was vulnerable because of his visual impairment.
Effect: Mr. Jones lost trust in people, which made it harder for him to travel with a cane. He lost self-confidence and felt even more vulnerable. Before the discrimination, he had lived successfully in a community for 15 years. The discrimination undermined his self-confidence and deeply hurt his dignity.
Grounds: Disability (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [ALS])
Discrimination: Landlord did not build ramp
Expenses: $5,306 for complaint expenses
The discrimination: Ms. Walsh required a wheelchair for mobility. Her building became inaccessible and the landlord did not take all reasonable and practical steps to build a ramp.
Vulnerability: Extraordinary vulnerability. Ms. Walsh relies on others for nearly all aspects of her daily living.
Effect: Two years had passed since the request for a ramp. It was not possible to say whether and when a ramp would have been built absent the discrimination. However, in the context of Ms. Walsh’s disease and its rapid progression, each month is a significant period. She had to seriously restrict her trips outside her home, affecting her well-being. When it was necessary to leave, Ms. Walsh had to endure the indignity and possible danger of relying on others to carry her up and down the stairs.