In August of 2020, the City of Toronto passed a bylaw making masks mandatory in the common elements of a condo building, namely elevators, staircases and lobbies. Condo corporations are responsible for implementing this requirement. The problem is that the bylaw does not provide a mechanism to enforce this mandate against the residents. The police cannot fine a person for ignoring the mask requirement inside the building’s common elements.
In a recent case, the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario dealt with the many societal tensions that can arise as the government attempts to protect residents from the effects of COVID-19. In Halton Condominium Corporation No. 77 v. Mitrovic, a residential condo corporation in Burlington brought an application against two residents who refused to wear masks in the common elements of the building.
Besides the common elements, the two residents would also exercise on different floors of the condo. They also posted “anti-masking signs” and “anti-masking posters” around the building. The individuals claimed that they had medical conditions but they were not required to prove it.
The condo corporation wanted an injunction to force the residents to wear a mask in the common areas, not to be on floors other than their own and to follow recommendations of the public health authorities, as well as, other orders. The residents wanted the court to declare that they were exempt from any mask requirement and that the condo corporation was in breach of municipal and provincial law.
The court found that there is some merit to both sides of the case. Ultimately, the court ordered that the residents are not required to wear a mask, but they can only transit, “for the purpose of ingress and egress” by the most direct route, between their unit and the main entrance and their parking spots. If they want to exercise on other floors other than their own, they are required to wear a mask. The court had some difficulty in balancing both views. Read the case in full for an interesting summary of face masks and condominium law!
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