An alleged failure to provide 24 hour notice of entry to a rental unit, pursuant to the Residential Tenancies Unit, appears to have precipitated allegations of discrimination based on disability, receipt of social assistance and age. The Tenants, Ms. Appleton and her son lived in a rental unit operated by Artisan Cooperative Homes Inc. (“Artisan”) and subsidized by the City of London.
Ms. Appleton alleged discrimination based on disability against Artisan after she refused access to her rental unit to check the sump pump. At the time, Ms. Appleton was disabled from surgery and unable to care for herself and the rental unit. She alleged that she was unable to provide access to the rental unit as a result of her disability. Artisan called the fire department to do a safety inspection. The fire department found the rental unit was a safety risk to the tenants and tenants in adjacent units due to the quantity of combustibles found. In order to prove discrimination, Ms. Appleton is required to establish that she was treated in a manner that created a disadvantage for her because of her disability. The tribunal found that Ms. Appleton was not disadvantaged because Artisan refused to permit an unsafe living situation to persist, after becoming aware of it. Further Artisan is not liable because its actions were reasonable and bona fide. The Landlord, Artisan was not required to accommodate the Tenant’s disability-related needs in a manner that significantly compromises health and safety. This application was dismissed.Ms. Appleton also alleged discrimination based on disability against the City of London for failing to have a Community Relations Worker sit down and talk to her after she was threatened with physical violence years earlier when living at another location. Failure to provide counselling is not a prohibited ground under the Human Rights Code and this application was also dismissed.
Ms. Appleton’s son also alleged discrimination because of disability against the City of London. Mr. Appleton’s alleged disabilities include social phobia and anxiety preventing him from leaving the house or interacting with people and a physical disability of obesity that limits his ability to stand and walk. Mr. Appleton alleged discrimination because the City of London failed to provide “scattered housing” and failed to provide a person to act as his advocate and voice his complaints. According to Mr. Appleton, the City of London is responsible for his disabilities because these disabilities arose when he was living with his mother in public housing on City property. The Tribunal clarified that the Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination from disability and is not a system for holding individuals liable for disabilities.
Ms. Appleton alleged discrimination because of receipt of public assistance. When she moved into the rental unit in March 2010, her housing was subsidized. In order to maintain eligibility for a housing subsidy, individuals are required to pursue income from all potential sources, including the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works Benefits. Artisan cut off her housing subsidy in February 2011 for failing to apply for social assistance. Ms. Appleton did not appeal the decision. The Tribunal clarified that Ms. Appleton’s allegations do not arise because of receipt of public assistance but rather because she did not apply for public assistance. This Application was also dismissed.
Mr. Appleton alleged discrimination because of age when his mother’s housing subsidy was cut. He alleged that he should have continued to receive the housing subsidy because he was only 16 years of age at the time. There was no allegation that the City offers housing subsidies to persons who have not applied or that the City contacts other members of a household when an individual in that household loses the subsidy. There was no discrimination based on age for failing to proactively offer a housing subsidy.
Click here for a complete copy of the decision Appleton v. Artisan Co-operative Homes Inc.,  O.H.R.T.D. No. 1709