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Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1195 v. Solomon - 2021 ONCAT 20 - 2021-03-09

Corporation:

MTCC 1195

Date:

2021-03-09

Under:

CAT Decisions - Motion Order
Compliance with Governing Documents
Pets and Animals

Summary:

In Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1195 v. Solomon (2021 ONCAT 20), the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) ruled on a motion to defer an Application. The Applicant, Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 1195 (MTCC1195), sought an order from CAT to require the Respondent to comply with its rules concerning pets. The Respondent had filed a concurrent application with the Human Rights Tribunal Ontario (HRTO) claiming discrimination in the application of MTCC1195's pet rules.

The Respondent requested CAT to defer its proceedings in favor of HRTO. However, CAT Chairman Ian Darling denied the motion, stating that the central issue concerned the application and exemption of MTCC1195's rules, which fell under CAT's exclusive jurisdiction. CAT determined that the case should proceed. The ruling highlights CAT's authority to address issues related to condominium rules, even if human rights issues are involved.

Verdict:

In this motion decision, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) declined to defer an application despite a Human Rights Tribunal Ontario (HRTO) proceeding being filed by the respondent. The CAT clarified that it has exclusive jurisdiction to address disputes related to condominium rules, including those governing pets, and has the authority to consider human rights issues as they arise. The central issue was the application of rules governing pets, specifically the accommodation request for a service dog, leading to the conclusion that the CAT application should proceed.

Takeaways:

Jurisdiction Clarification: This case underscores that the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) has exclusive jurisdiction over matters relating to condominium rules, including those governing pets. It highlights CAT's role in addressing disputes arising from the application and exemption of condominium rules.

Non-Automatic Deferral: CAT emphasized that the deferral of a proceeding to another tribunal, such as the Human Rights Tribunal Ontario (HRTO), is not automatic. Even if another application was filed first, the decision to defer depends on the specifics of each case.

Cost Consideration: Parties may weigh potential costs and resources when deciding between CAT and another tribunal. In this case, the CAT was deemed the most cost-effective forum for resolving the matter by one of the parties.

Accommodation vs. Discrimination: The dispute revolved around the accommodation of a large service dog based on a disability. While the condominium accepted the accommodation, the disagreement was about the application of the rules and potential discrimination.

Legal Clarity: This case provides clarity on CAT's jurisdiction and its role in resolving disputes related to condominium rules, especially those involving accommodation requests for service animals.

Recommendations: 

In cases where parties are simultaneously pursuing actions in different tribunals or courts, it is advisable for them to communicate and coordinate with each other as well as with the respective tribunals to minimize the risk of inconsistent decisions and avoid unnecessary duplication of proceedings.

Tribunals and courts should consider the specific circumstances of each case when deciding whether to defer an application pending the conclusion of another related proceeding. This should include evaluating the stage of each proceeding, the issues at stake, and the potential impact on the parties involved.

Tribunals, like the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) in this case, should provide clear and well-reasoned explanations for their decisions regarding deferral requests, taking into account their own jurisdiction, the issues under consideration, and the principles of fairness and efficiency. This helps parties understand the basis for the decision and fosters confidence in the tribunal's process.

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