80% of People Living in MUDs Want to Live SMoke-free Affair with Smoke-free Housing Alice: Narrating the personal Anna I am not going away not by a long shot. The smoke-free housing saga continues Answers to Frequently Asked Questions including Grandfathering Anti-smoking champ honoured for PUSH Any defensive discussion indefensible April Lifting the Veil off of Quiet Enjoyment Arabian COUGHING Poster At the Core of Smoke-Free Housing Workplace violence and bullying ATTRIBUTE REQUIRED TO SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISH BEING SMOKE-FREE AUTHORITIES for Smoke-free Housing BC HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL Decides Crescent Housing Societys Application To Dismiss Lacking in Substance Concreteness and Good Faith (Another Debacle) BC HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL hears first case on SHS in MUDs Monday April 2 – Wednesday April 4 2012 BREAKTHROUGH DECISION Smoke-Free Housing Cancer in non-smoker sparks legal action Australia CLEANING UP TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS COMMUNITY DISCUSSION FORM Comparing “big” and “too small to matter” crises and catastrophes Demand for non-smoking apartments next to impossible Do you struggle with the problem of drifting second-hand smoke in your home? What you can do looks like 2011 DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH THE PROBLEM OF SECONDHAND SMOKE DRIFT What Struggle Looks like Drewlo Holdings Building More Smoke-free Apartments DROs Ways to Strengthen a Bid for Smoke-free Housing Ethical Dilemma of Smoke-free Housing EX-SMOKERS ARE UNSTOPPABLE flash mob dance Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing Governance by Dysfunctional Boards How the Smoke-free Housing Initiative inadvertently opened up governance for public scrutiny Grandfathering How does it apply to smokers Grandfathering Smoke freely Grandfathering Smokes License to Smoke License for Abuse GROUNDHOG DAY PUSHing the Drift to Smoke-free Housing GROUNDHOG DAY 2012: Secondhand smoke from grandfathered smokers takes a wee hit How Provincial and Municipal Bylaws Apply for MUDs in BC HR DECISION ORDERS “METRO ONE” TO CEASE ITS DISCRIMINATION AND REFRAIN FROM COMMITTING A SIMILAR CONTRAVENTION IN THE FUTURE INJUNCTIVE RELIEF A court order to Do this and Stop doing that Inspiring story behind SMOKE-FREE CARS ACT 2007 knowledge exchange Krossa from Maple Ridge Dare Extend Ideation For Smoke-free Housing Lung cancer kills non-smoker McDaniels thank supporters Measuring second-hand smoke drift in non-smokers: Prove it Medical Marijuana NEWS ~ NEWS ~ NEWS London ON New Apartment Building Opts for Smoke-free and Utilizing Grants to Encourage Smoke-free Housing NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY YOUR TIME HAS COME NSRAs rebuttal of Harpers Gut of Federal Tobacco Control Program People imagining a smoke-free world Picture Worth a Thousand Words Premier Christy Clark announces Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) Sense and scent-ability: Do you smell second-hand smoke in your home? SHS Is Not Simply An Issue Between Neighbours Slaying the Myth of Right-To-Smoke and In-My-Home SMOKE DAMAGE - Voices from the Front Lines of Tobacco Wars Smoke-free at Last Smoke-free housing Litany of motivations and obstructions Smoke-free Housing: An award winning direction Standardize your letters and claims: Make them all the same Steps to Designating Smoking Area in Common Areas and Avoiding Misrepresentation STORIES: Heart of the Matter Strata concedes failure to accommodate McDaniels TENANTS' FUME IN SMOKE-FEST ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT COSTING THOUSANDS The 'In-Perpetuity' of National Non-Smoking Week Thinking Petition? Draft a report instead. Trials Against Big Tobacco Reveal Internal Documents Stating Lethal Hazard Of Smoking And Environmental Tobacco Smoke TRIBUNAL GRANTS COMPLAINANTS' APPLICATION TO AMEND THEIR COMPLAINT Tribunal's Decision Reveals DEBACLE Urging Political Will VEN TI-LA-TION – exchanging stale noxious air with clean fresh air Weitzels and Willow Park Estates What has California's new smoke-free housing law to do with us Canadians? What makes normal sensible people become dysfunctional when they join a board and what turns CEOs or EDs into mini-dictators? Why Isn't Vancouver's OLYMPIC VILLAGE A Flagship for Smoke-free Housing? Why there is a PUSH for Sf Housing WOW You've come a long way baby Yukon Housing Corp’s smoke-free housing leaves smokers fuming YUKON NORTH OF ORDINARY™ TRUMPS NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL BC AGAIN Yukon's smoke-free housing comes into effect Jan 1 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

McDaniel's letter thanking supporters - elated to finally celebrate closure

Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XXXXX +1

Hi Rose Marie,
Here is a copy of the letter we are sending out to our supporters, just a note to say thanks for helping us during our fight... included some thoughts about what we learned through this process. Feel free to post this comment. Thanks, Melanie 

Melanie and Matthew McDaniel
Kamloops BC V2C3A6

May 15, 2012

Re: McDaniel vs Strata Plan LMS 1657 2012 BCHRT 167 Decision

We are elated to share with you the good news of the decision made by the Human Rights Tribunal regarding our case of discrimination. As you are probably aware, we fought long and hard with our Strata Council and smoking neighbours to win back our dignity. Today, we can finally celebrate closure.
We endured three long years of feeling helpless and hopeless.  Although we have made a great sacrifice and ultimately lost our home, there was nothing left to make us want to stay. It was a lesson learned and a great gamble for a young family. But knowing now that standing up for what we always truly believed in was worth the pain.  The decision made and published is proof that our fight existed and hopefully other families or individuals in the same situation will be able to use this to their advantage.
We sincerely thank you for your assistance, kind words, letters, and support during this difficult time. We now live smoke-free, remain health conscious, and are taking time to heal.  Our hope is that someday Canadians will be able to live smoke free and be protected in their homes without lengthy battles. Currently, we have more rights in the workplace and public places than we do in our homes, where we spend most of our time. Enclosed are some tips we would like to share with others discouraged by second hand smoke in their homes.

Matthew and Melanie McDaniel

Everyone with smoke sensitivities should cover their bases before getting stuck in a situation where smokers rule.
  •       Before you purchase a home write conditions of sale into the agreements regarding smoke free housing. Review Strata bylaws, past complaints, and ask the real estate agents if you are buying into Non-Smoking premises. Ask the Strata Council what they would do in a situation where second hand smoke was an issue and document their answer.
  •        If you are renting a home, write a statement into the Rental Agreement that at no point of your residence you will experience smoke infiltration and the consequences if you do, such as reimbursement of rent and eviction of smoking neighbours. Ensure that they rent only to non-smoking tenants and are understand that rule is for guests too. Get this agreement notarized. If you do ever experience smoke infiltration, you should not be the one who is forced to move, it should be the people causing the problem!
  • Should you or know of someone with serious smoke sensitivities or losing a fight to be smoke free in their Strata home, follow these guidelines:
  •      Gain support through the Smoke Free Housing website:   They have lots of references, tips, and templates for letters, logs, etc.
  •     Check out the extensive blog, for references and community support. You will be amazed that you are not alone!
  •    You will have to be organized and document everything – keep a binder with your correspondence: include logs with dates, areas of the home affected, how the smoke makes you feel etc.  Keep complaint letters sent and their responses, make a journal, gain witnesses, and keep copies of Strata Meeting Minutes. Keep notes about when you speak to the Strata council, neighbours, and witnesses. Keep receipts should you have any expenses that you wouldn’t have if you had a smoke free home (air conditioning units, air filtration units, medical expenses, etc).  Also, the sooner you file a complaint, the better!
  •       Get a copy of your Strata bylaws and see if you have an existing non-smoking bylaw and nuisance bylaw. Point these out in your complaint letters. If you don’t have a Non-smoking bylaw,  gain support to call a meeting to get one in place. Join the Strata Council. See what your city bylaws entail as far as nonsmoking bylaws as well.
  •       Gain doctor’s support and get letters. If you have a medical condition exacerbated by smoke infiltration, get support through advocacy groups. Get solid proof that second hand smoke bothers you and you may be affected differently from others without your condition.
  •      If you can afford it, gain legal support. Research UBC law clinics, Human Rights clinics, and discuss what you can do in your situation to right the problem.
  •      Always remain hopeful, even on the worst days. Remain positive that you, the non-smoker, have rights too. Smokers, and Strata Councils may try to turn the issue around to make it seem like you are the problem.  Although it may seem difficult, always remain on good terms with neighbours and councils. If you do your due diligence and cover your bases, you will, just like us, be proven right.
  •      If your Strata Council decides to help you, document meetings, mediator decisions, and ensure their promises are kept. 
  •      Should your fight come to the point of a hearing with the Tribunal and you find yourself self-representing, you will have a big fight ahead of you. Strata Councils are run by management companies that have lots of money and access to lawyers with lots of knowledge and expertise. Don’t let these points scare you off. Don’t give up or give in to any sort of pathetic ways they will try to brush you off. When they apply to have your complaint dismissed, review every point they make and follow them up with references from past Tribunal decisions.  Be clear and concise. When it comes to your hearing, be confident and courteous even when you are outraged. 
  •      Often this fight can be long and drawn out and turn into a waiting game. Remain diligent at all times, and if you need to seek respite with friends and family. Don’t be bullied to a point of exhaustion!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XXXXX (the big 50!)
HR Tribunal's decision vindicates McDaniels' struggle with Strata over second-hand smoke
The McDaniels' decision from their April 1, 2012 Human Rights hearing arrived in time for Mother's Day. Was it a Mother's Day gift? Was it in keeping with BC Premier Christy Clark's healthy “Families First” dictum?


At paragraph 48 in his decision, Bernd Walter, states and cites case law:

Though aware of the McDaniels' sensitivities and vulnerabilities, the Respondent never marshalled a meaningful, effective response. In my view, based on the materials filed, the Respondents' conduct, while not overtly aggressive or confrontive, was indecisive and minimizing of the McDaniels' stress to the point that [the McDaniels] came to hate their home. The Tribunal has said, and I accept that from any personal, social, emotional or developmental perspective, a home is central to a person's security and sense of self....”

Walter found that the Strata was aware of its powers with respect to the enactment of a non-smoking bylaw as of 2009. It did not convene a special general meeting until March 2010, but then decided, on the basis of the anecdotal research of a council member, to only ban marijuana. Moreover, it never opted to enforce its Nuisance Bylaw under the Strata Act.

The Strata "Metro One"  failed to accommodate, and failed to accommodate to the point of undue hardship.

At paragraph 52, Walter announced that he “accepts the [Strata's] conduct severely diminished the McDaniels' enjoyment of the property and had a physical as well as a significant emotional impact on them.”

In awarding 'Injury to Dignity', Walter lists some of the factors taken into consideration: the nature of the conduct complained of, the aggressiveness of the conduct, its duration and frequency, the vulnerability of the victim(s) and the impact on their vulnerabilities or disabilities.

Ending his decision, Bernd Walter, again thanked Strata counsel and the McDaniels for their respectful and thorough submissions (fourth time he mentions this).

The dismissal decisions published, and this hearing decision provides clear guidance on how to address the issue of secondhand smoke drift in multi-unit dwellings.

It's a HOORAY for smoke-free housing day!

Australia's Struggles....

What do they have to say down-under in Australia?

Between December 15, 2011 and February 2012, the New South Wales government consulted its public in an online Strata Laws Open Forum.

The results released in a 134 page report confirms what a major problem smoke drifts is for many people in multi-unit housing.

Smoking was a significant bone of contention, generating more comments than any other single topic. A wide variety of residents, most of whom commented on no other issue, complained their enjoyment of their own home was being ruined by others smoking on balconies nearby. Just one person believed existing safeguards were adequate, stating that Executive Committees already have the power to pass anti-smoking bylaws if requested....”

The report prompted Australia's Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to issue a press release with recommendations to the review:
  • Legislation should provide definitions of “nuisance” and “hazard” for the purposes of the legislation, recognizing that SHS is both a nuisance and a serious health hazard, and should establish that tobacco smoke drifted from one lot into another is a “hazard” under the legislation. 
  • Model smokefree by-laws and orders should be included in strata legislation
  • Strata laws should effect the recommendation of the National Preventive Health Taskforce2009 that: All state governments....legislate to require leases for multi-unit apartment buildings and condominium sales agreements to include the terms governing smoking.
Why does it matter? 
If you read government research and reports, you recognize the migration and cross-fertilization of knowledge between countries. Departments at the municipal, provincial, and federal governments are connected world wide, and ideas imported, adopted, and adapted. p76-77

Sunday, May 6, 2012



Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XXXXIX

Asked about what I think about Tara Carman's article(s) in the Vancouver Sun on Saturday, May 5, 2012, Tenants fume over invasive secondhand smoke, I think that it won't win any newspaper excellence or writing awards. BUT, while the article has some factual inaccuracies, it's probably the most progressive since 2007.

The article ran on again in the Victoria Times Colonist.

So, I discuss the two points that anchor this article for me.

First, Carman's article has the potentially to be referenced as a historical point, when a provincial newspaper pretty fairly represented the smoke-free housing issue, and cited that Nuisance laws – as embedded in all of the Acts governing housing – trumps 'grandfathering'; so do the health and safety clauses.

Enactment and enforcement of these laws by the people charged with such authority remains the problem.

In Health and Tobacco Control language, this article is often referred to as de-normalizing the notions and habits of mass society, or re-socializing. In sociology, the article might be referenced as a 'crystallizing moment.' Just as it took about five years for this article to be written this way, it may take another five years for this moment to be recognized as historical.

Together with other interventions on eliminating environments for tobacco and smoking, the de-normalizing process gathers momentum. On May 1, Manitoba announced legislation to ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies. In the works, banning tobacco sales around schools. Current statistics following up original surveys from five years ago, continue to show that about 80% of people living in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) support increasing smoke-free MUDs. And as the Tobacco Trials reveal, Big Tobacco totally manufactured the normalizing process of smoking through marketing.

Second, as a result of the Vancouver Sun article, “Tenants fume over invasive second-hand smoke,” another fume fest. This time talk focused on Crescent Housing Society's President, Reinard Kohls, quote: “it's costing thousands...of dollars to defend...all of which is coming from a non-profit society...the human rights complaint is unnecessary.”

Yes, it is; and it's more like hundreds of thousands of dollars!

The Vancouver Sun has liability insurance, and so does Tara Carman, as a reporter. BC Housing has a Board of Directors, and directors and incorporated businesses have liability insurance. Crescent Housing Society (CHS) has coverage through the Encon Group Inc. Encon assigned the complaint to lawyer, Seema Lal, of Shaprio Hankinson and Knutson.

In the Human Rights Tribunal dismissal decision from March 12, 2012, Tribunal Member Geiger-Adams states that the submissions relating to the financial state of CHS show no undue hardship in relation to the claims against the society.

In CHS financial statements:
Contingent Liability (2009, 2010, 2011)
The Society has been named in a claim filed by certain tenants with respect to a human rights complaint regarding alleged exposure to secondhand smoke. All legal costs associated with this claim are being covered by the Society's insurance, and management anticipates that any damages would also be covered by insurance.”

Another sterling example of glaring misrepresentation not picked up on – but fuel for fuming.

While the Human Rights Tribunal annual reports discuss the matter of most complainants representing themselves, generally people have the notion that lawyers represent and fuel the complaints. The companies or organizations complainants file against, have lawyers, or the resources to hire lawyers.

I think an uncommon reading of the Human Rights Tribunal dismissal decision recognizes that CHS and the lawyers on both sides had their knuckles wrapped by the Tribunal Member decision.  I think they failed to recognize that, and are not likely to acknowledge it. 

As I wrote previously, at the end of the first settlement meeting (March 2009) where the Human Rights Mediator told CHS to go home, since they were unwilling to participate in good faith, their legal fees amounted to $26,000. That would have paid for a mighty fine smoking area for the smokers.

And that was just the beginning.

And sick from it! 

see also Toronto Star  Kabatoff 2009

see also The Province  McDaniels 2010

see also Globe and Mail 'inviting smokers to my party' 2012 - interesting comments