At least one resident of a Mississauga condo building says its board is going too far by imposing a cannabis registry in the building, and he’s calling it an invasion of privacy.
CBC Toronto obtained a notice given to all 141 units of Courtney Club Condos, located on Hurontario Street just north of the Queen Elizabeth Way, on June 1 outlining new rules for cannabis use.
The notice includes a registry and states residents who wish to smoke cannabis in their units must sign up.
“Those residents who smoke cannabis and related products, only, in their units at a time of passing of these Rules must register in the Unit Cannabis Smoking Register in the Management Office within 30 days of this Rule becoming effective,” the notice says.
“And those residents who have registered may continue to smoke cannabis and cannabis related products …”
The notice says the rules are to take effect July 1 but they haven’t been enacted yet because the board must go through due process.
The notice also says if complaints of cannabis odour entering other units and common areas aren’t resolved, the complaint recipient will be prohibited from smoking in their unit.
Jack Krosinski, who has lived in the building for nearly eight years with his wife and four daughters, says the registry puts people in an uncomfortable position and infringes on residents’ rights to privacy.
“I think of it as a hit list of cannabis users that the board can look at and kind of vilify all those folks and try to blame them [for] some cannabis issue that may or may not have been caused by them,” he said.
Krosinksi says while he has used cannabis oil in the past, he doesn’t smoke marijuana and doesn’t know if any residents have signed the registry.
The condo board at Courtney Club Condos and GSA Property Management, the company that manages the complex, declined an interview request with CBC Toronto.
Krosinski says he’s talked to other residents who are uncomfortable with it but are afraid to speak about it publicly, or with the board, because of the stigma surrounding cannabis.
“They don’t want to be seen as either potheads, pot users or even if they don’t use cannabis, folks that are sympathetic to cannabis or protecting cannabis users,” he said.
“They don’t want to speak out because they’re afraid that their neighbours are going to look down on them because of that.”
He points out that the board doesn’t have a registry for people who drink alcohol or smoke tobacco.
“If we’re going to enforce a list for cannabis shouldn’t we also enforce a list for those users?”
Enforcing the rules
The Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO), which provides information about rights and responsibilities of condo owners, boards and management, says it isn’t aware of any other registries similar to the one in Krosinski’s building, but points out that federal legislation doesn’t give condo owners the absolute right to consume or grow cannabis in their units.
“Corporations have the ability to prohibit the growth and/or consumption of marijuana in the condominium complex and in the units,” the CAO’s director of communications and outreach David Brazeau wrote in an email.
But real estate litigation lawyer Jared Rosenbaum calls the registry “overkill” and said it’s not a practical solution to the issues that using cannabis creates — mainly odour — and doesn’t serve a functional purpose.
“If I was smoking pot in my unit prior to this rule being implemented and now I have to sign up in order to keep on smoking pot in my unit, practically, I’m still smoking pot in my unit,” Rosenbaum said.
He says the registry isn’t illegal, but calls it unreasonable and points to the Condominium Act that states all rules must be reasonable.
“It might be of no force and effect,” he said.
The act states rules can be imposed for two reasons: to promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and property and to prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units and common elements.
“Asking people to sign up to a registry like this doesn’t actually accomplish either of those goals,” Rosenbaum said.
How the registry will be enforced is vague, but Rosenbaum says it’s likely if a complaint is filed that marijuana is causing a nuisance, the resident will be asked to take steps to fix the problem.
“But that’s going to be the way things go regardless if you sign up for a registry list or not,” he said.
Krosinski is concerned the condo board may have to spend money to fight any potential legal actions regarding the new rule.
Rosenbaum says “in theory” someone could bring forward an action asking for declaratory relief, or a judgment that determines the rights of parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages.
Rosenbaum also points out that there could be an issue if the list of registered names gets into the wrong hands.
He says he doesn’t think the registry constitutes an invasion of privacy because residents are asked to identify themselves as cannabis users.
The registry is part of a larger set of rules surrounding cannabis use that includes standard rules such as not smoking cannabis in common areas.
Residents in the complex are also are prohibited from growing cannabis.
The board does have a medical exemption to the rules if the resident provides “satisfactory” evidence and adheres to specific criteria that proves they use marijuana for medical or therapeutic reasons.
The rule states if, at any time, the board reasonably believes there no longer exists a “bona fide” medical or therapeutic reason for the resident to be exempt, the board can ask for new evidence.
Owners can vote to amend or do away with a rule if a meeting is requested under specific circumstances set out in the act.
Krosinski has requested a meeting and says he hopes to discuss what “reasonable” rules could look like but would ultimately like to see the registry abolished.
“I don’t think this should put a wall [up with the board] because I’m not questioning them … or their good intentions,” he said.
“I’d just like a little bit more conversation and pause before we try to implement this.”
Brazeau suggests condo boards obtain feedback from owners early in the process of creating new rules.
“It may be useful for the condominium corporation to hold an information meeting to get owner input,” he wrote.