Many condominium boards continue to operate as if their particular bylaws and structure make them immune from the law. Ontario’s Human Rights Code applies to all condominiums in Ontario as well as other forms of housing such as cooperatives, private residential buildings and contracts involving housing.

In the summer of 2015, the HRLSC settled a human rights application between a Toronto condominium and a deaf resident who had been trapped in an elevator with no way to communicate her distress and need for help.

The agreement includes:

  • Within 90 days the condominium will install and maintain a password protected WIFI system with sufficient speed and bandwidth to support Skype or other video applications and texting in all three passenger elevators. The WIFI network will be tested by staff and Response System will be reviewed by staff during regularly scheduled fire alarm testing and drills
  • The condominium will supply a portable power bank cell phone recharger to the resident. Added portable power bank cell phone rechargers will be made available upon request for others requiring similar accommodation for use of the three passenger elevators
  • The condominium will provide the WIFI password and emergency phone numbers and contact information for texting or email to any deaf resident or visitor of the building so that the Response System can be used by deaf elevator passengers in the event of an emergency in the elevators.
  • The condominium will ensure that all front desk/security and on-site personnel are trained on the Response Procedure and a copy of the Response System is included in written materials provided to all new staff at the front desk or property management
  • The condominium will arrange for the Canadian Hearing Society to deliver written material on Anti-Audism sensitivity training to be incorporated by the board into the Building Policy.

As the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario made it abundantly clear when rendering a decision in one of the Centre’s cases:

“even where the Applicant is the only individual benefiting from the accommodation measure, unless undue hardship is established, the Code requires that the costs of the reasonable accommodation be borne by the condominium corporation.”