This month, June, is Smoke-Free Housing Month, as declared by BC lung Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation (BC and Yukon) and supported by the Condominium Homeowners Association and Landlord BC.
Why declare June as Smoke-free Housing Month? Awareness media campaign of the scope of the problem: They are stumped by their efforts to promote smoke-free housing and why so few buildings have opted in; BC Lung and Heart & Stroke are “keen to move the issue forward, particularly given the increasing number of weekly complaints they receive from residents who feel helpless about smoke entering their homes from neighbouring units.”
June 3, our long-awaited decision arrived, all 73 pages. What timing! Freaky!
We established a prima facie case of discrimination.
However, the claim was dismissed because we were unreasonable in our expectation and need for more than “limit” or reduced exposure to secondhand smoke, exaggerated the volume/frequency of exposure, and number of smokers, and deemed uncooperative. The Tribunal considered steps Crescent Housing Society took reasonable, in the context in which the complaints arose.
DETAILS from the decision at (pg 3-4):
 I have no doubt that the Complainants experienced significant distress at being exposed to SHS and not being able to move to a comfortable and preferred housing situation due to their limited financial means. I am also satisfied that, to varying degrees, exposure to secondhand smoke had an adverse impact on their physical and mental health.
 Given the number of tenants who were requesting accommodation due to SHS at the time, I find that the steps taken were reasonable, in the context in which the complaints arose, and to implement measures requested by the Complainants would have constituted undue hardship.
 The Complaint is dismissed against the Respondents.
 I am persuaded that the Respondents discharged their duty to accommodate the Complainants. The complaint is dismissed.
The Complainants have established a prima facie case of discrimination (pg 63)
 Therefore, I conclude that the exposure to SHS had an adverse impact of each Complainant in various ways, levels and at different times, and that the Complainants have established a prima facie case of discrimination.
(We just wanted to be freeeeeee from the burden of having to report infractions and contraventions, and freeeeeee from the burden of proof. And wanted bona fide assurances.)
 Overall, I find that the Society endeavored to reasonably accommodate Ms Borutski, but that Ms Borutski was resistant to anything other than the creation of an entirely smoke-free environment, both inside and outside the Building. I find that she did not satisfy her obligation to reasonably participate in the accommodation process, and that she sought the perfect, rather than a reasonable, accommodation.
 last sentence…”I am also satisfied that the Complainants did not fully participate in the accommodation process and sought a perfect and preferred accommodation, rather than a reasonable accommodation.”
 I remain of the view that the Complainants would not have been satisfied with anything other than a complete prohibition on the property.
 The duty of the Respondents is to provide a reasonable, not a perfect, accommodation.
 Overall, I find that the society discharged its duty to reasonably accommodate the complainants by exploring possible accommodations, offering relocation, implementing restrictions on smoking, moving areas where people tended to smoke while away from all openings to the building, and enforcing the smoking prohibition after investigation provided evidence to do so. I find Ms Borutski, in particular, acted unreasonably in not availing herself of reasonable accommodations offered to her.
 Overall, I find that the Society endeavored to reasonably accommodate Ms. Borutski, but that Ms. Borutski was resistant to anything other than the creation of an entirely smoke-free environment, both inside and outside the building. I find that she did not satisfy her obligation to reasonably participate in the accommodation process and that she sought the perfect, rather than a reasonable, accommodation.
 I accept that the Respondents to the following measures to reasonably accommodate the complainants:
a) Implemented a policy which precluded smoking in buffer zones, smoking by employees on the premises, and which put tenants on notice that the building was working toward being smoke-free by 2018;
b) Posted notices about the buffer zones
c) Amended its lease to include a no smoking clause
d) investigated and enforced complaints about breaches of the buffer zone and no smoking clause and in some cases relocated smoking tenants away from no smoking tenants
e) Inspected, cleaned and reasonably maintained the ventilation system;
f) Obtained quotes about the installation of the new ventilation system. Given the cost of the system and the necessity of a roof replacement, find it was reasonable that a new system was not installed, particularly since the current system was in good working condition;
g) Moved the outdoor smoking pit and barbecue area well beyond the buffer zone
h) Designated the rooftop deck as no smoking, though not until 2012
i) Mapped out where known smokers resided and endeavored to relocate tenants to areas were exposure would be minimized
j) Offered to weather-stripped units
k) Offered to facilitate tenant to tenant meetings to negotiate smoke-free hours
l) Asked some, if not all, of grandfathered tenants who smoked to sign on to no smoking addendum in and in some cases to relocate;
m) Advice tenants to who wished to relocate to submit our request in writing and that society would endeavor to relocate them to suites where there was less exposure to secondhand smoke; and
n) Sought advice from various professional organizations such as the Health Authority, BC Housing and a Housing Association as to what it could do to address the situation.
SOooo, what’s breakthrough about this decision? Because this is as good as it gets!
Put it on your summer reading list, and read all the way to  at least. Remember the context in which this happened. It continues to be a BIG smoking hot issue; not just in market rentals and condos!
Can we pretend this never happened? Yes, lets!