Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing - Part XXXXIII
Recall, back in January 2012, I reported how Yukon Housing Corporation became smoke-free.
Initially, Yukon Housing Corporation announced intended smoke-free housing policy changes to all of its tenants on May 13, 2011, with a grace period to January 1, 2012.
On March 13, 2012, Ashley Joannou reported in the Whitehorse Star the outcome of Sider versus Yukon Housing Corporation. http://www.whitehorsestar.com/archive/story/yhc-successfully-butts-out-lawsuit/
Alan Sider, a tenant of Yukon Housing Corporation, filed his complaint stating that
- the landlord’s non-smoking policy is unenforceable as regards to him because he has an existing Tenancy Agreement with no provision in the original rental agreement with respect to smoking. Section 17 provides that any changes to the Agreement must be agreed to by both parties, and Sider had not agreed to the no smoking policy,
- this no smoking policy is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, R.S.C. 1985,
- and that the no smoking policy interferes with his normal use of the rented premises.
Judge Faulkner dismissed Sider's application finding that
- clause 6(m) of the Agreement clearly authorizes the landlord and gives him the right under the Agreement to make regulations regarding the safety, care and cleanliness of the premises and the tenants. Smoking inside of the unit affects safety, affects the care, affects cleanliness, and it affects other tenants. Therefore, the landlord is perfectly within its rights under clause 6 (m) to make the regulation in question.
- Smoking is not a right protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms nor does the Charter provide, as Mr. Sider suggests, that the law cannot be changed to restrict smoking if no such law existed at the time the Charter came into effect. That is simply not a correct interpretation of the Charter and, if one needs any proof, one can look at the fact that subsequent to the Charter coming into effect, a substantial body of statute law has been passed relating to the restricting of smoking, for example, in or near public buildings.
- With respect to the normal usage of the rented premises, Mr. Sidermay view it as an interference, but it is not the law that normal usage of rented premises necessarily includes the right to smoke therein, and restricting of smoking does not make the tenant, as Mr. Sider claims, somehow the property of the landlord.