Condominium corporations: What you need to know
The Alberta Human Rights Act protects members of the public against discrimination by condominium corporations. The AHR Act does not protect against poor treatment or bad service, unless it flows from any protected ground. The protected grounds are race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.
Examples of discrimination covered by the AHR Act:
- lack of physical access for people with physical disabilities
- failure to accommodate people with physical and mental disabilities
- restrictions on the number of occupants in a unit (discrimination based indirectly on family status)
- restrictions on guide and service dogs
There are three exceptions that allow specific types of age restrictions that do not contravene the AHR Act: benefits for minors or seniors; seniors-only housing; and age-restricted condominiums, co-operative housing units and mobile home sites that existed before January 1, 2018. You can read more about age as a protected ground and about all protected areas and grounds.
Examples of issues not covered by the AHR Act:
- restrictions on noise and disturbance to neighbours
- restrictions on outdoor decor, when restrictions are not based on a protected ground such as religious beliefs
Condominium corporations are responsible for ensuring that their services, facilities and bylaws do not discriminate against residents based on any of the protected grounds. (Read about protected areas and grounds.) To meet this obligation, condominium corporations need to review their facilities and bylaws to identify and eliminate any potentially discriminatory aspects of their service. For example, a condominium corporation might review bylaws that limit renovation to suites to determine whether the restrictions might discriminate against residents based on a protected ground such as physical disability or religious beliefs.
If a condominium corporation has a requirement that would discriminate against residents based on a protected ground like physical disability or family status, it has a duty to accommodate affected individuals to the point of undue hardship. Accommodation means making changes to any rules, standards, policies or physical environments to ensure that they don't have a negative effect on anyone based on any protected ground. For example, a condominium corporation that requires all members to have wall-to-wall carpeting might discriminate against residents with respiratory disabilities. The condominium corporation could accommodate by allowing alternative flooring that minimizes dust while reducing noise as much as possible.
Individuals who require accommodation based on a protected ground have a responsibility to inform the condominium corporation of their needs. Doing so gives the condominium corporation the opportunity to make any changes necessary to accommodate the individual making the request, as well as anyone else with the same or similar needs. For more information about the duty to accommodate, see the Commission human rights guide Duty to accommodate.
In some circumstances, discrimination may be reasonable and justifiable. A service provider may refuse to offer services to some people based on one or more protected characteristics if providing the service would be an undue hardship. For example, if a condominium corporation had limited space for parking for residents with mobility disabilities, it might reasonably require that residents with disabilities provide documentation of their disability in order to use the parking spaces.
Revised: July 4, 2018