Condowise Learning - Caselaw Summary
Waterloo North Condominium Corporation No. 70 v. Sinyard, 2022 ONCAT 144
WNCC 70 determined that the Respondent’s dog was a nuisance and should be permanently removed. Contrary to WNCC 70’s pet rules, the Respondent’s German Shepherd exceeded the maximum allowable weight, was not carried by the Respondent on the common elements, and engaged in aggressive behaviour that could not always be controlled. The Respondent disputed WNCC 70’s decision, claiming that her dog is her support animal and that she is legally allowed to keep it as an accommodation under the Human Rights Code.
Under the Human Rights Code, an owner or tenant is entitled to request accommodation where a seemingly neutral rule, such as a dog weight limit, has a discriminatory effect on the person because of their disability. Both the owner and the Condominium must engage in a dialogue to determine whether the needs of the individual can be accommodated to the point of undue hardship. As part of this process, the Condominium is entitled to request medical evidence to establish that a person has disability-related needs which require accommodation.
In this case, the Respondent provided a copy of a card issued by the Assistance Dogs of America, indicating that her dog is registered as a "Canadian Therapy Dog". However, the Tribunal found that this was evidence that the Respondent’s dog is a therapy dog, not that the Respondent has a disability or that she requires a therapy dog for her disability-related needs.
The Respondent also produced a medical note which stated that she required the use of her service dog, Daisy, for "chronic medical conditions". The Tribunal found this claim to be limited and vague. The note did not explain the Respondent’s disability-related needs that required the use of a service animal or a service animal weighing more than 9 kg, nor did it provide any information about her disability. The Respondent did not produce additional medical information upon request.
WNCC 70 provided evidence of complaints from owners regarding the dog's aggressive behaviour and video evidence supporting same. The Tribunal agreed with the Board of Director's determination that the dog was a nuisance and must be removed from the Condominium. Even if the Respondent had established disability-related needs for a service dog, the dog's aggressive behaviour posed a threat to the health and safety of others and could impose undue hardship on the condominium.
This decision highlights that the mere fact that a person has a disability requiring accommodation does not entitle them to keep a dog that contravenes the rules of the condominium. The requestor must still engage in the accommodation process to determine if the accommodation is necessary and whether it would result in undue hardship on the Condominium.
Read full decision here.