Wednesday, December 23, 2015

When an ethic minority becomes the ethnic majority; a Vancouver Board speaks Mandarin and refuses to speak English

The Calgary Herald reported that a very curious thing happened the other day in Vancouver, British Columbia. A gentleperson named Andreas Kargut made a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia because he claimed he was being discriminated against by the Board of Directors of the  condominium corporation in which he owned a unit.

The Board of Directors of the condominium corporation was composed of individuals who spoke Mandarin. The Board made a decision that it would be in their best interests that the board meetings be conducted entirely in Mandarin.  Mr. Kargut  took issue with us and asked the Board to speak English; to which request the board refused.  As a result of the refusal of the Board of Directotrs, Mr. Kargut approached the Human Rights Tribunal and made a complaint against the Board of Directors.

It is ironic that a white English-speaking individual would approach the Human Rights Tribunal  suggesting that he was discriminated against.  However based on the multi-cultural (or perhaps better stated ethnic-cultural) mosaic which has been built in Canada it is not surprising to see ethnic minorities becoming ethnic majorities (at least contextually) and now the proverbial “shoe is being worn on the other foot”.  It will be interesting to see how this matter is resolved by the Human Rights Tribunal.

It continues to be my understanding of the law in Alberta that the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta does not have jurisdiction to deal with complaints in respect of condominium corporations in Alberta. However this may change given the rapidly changing political environment that we are experiencing these days.