Court Upholds Condominium’s Mask Policy
In the case of HCC 77 v Mitrovic, the condominium corporation commenced a Court Application against two owners who refused to wear masks while on the indoor common elements in contravention of the condominium’s mask policy. The respondents claimed to be exempted on the basis of their unspecified medical conditions.
The condominium’s mask policy required residents to wear masks while on the interior common elements, subject to exemptions for:
- Children under two years of age;
- Persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a mask;
- Persons who are unable to place or remove a mask without assistance; and
- Persons who reasonably need to be accommodated in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Tasked with balancing the competing interests of the parties, the Court held that it was proper and necessary for the condominium corporation to develop rules and policies requiring conduct from all residents that does not put other residents at undue risk. In fact, the Court found that the condominium’s efforts at developing and promulgating the mask policy were not only reasonable, but necessary in the circumstances.
At the same time, the Court was also mindful of the respondents’ claim for an exemption due to medical reasons.
Ultimately, the Court appeared to strike a reasonable balance in the circumstances. The Court ordered that the respondents were not required to wear masks while transiting via the most direct route from their unit to the main entrance of the building or to their parking spots for the purposes of ingress or egress. Other than this carved out exception, the respondents were otherwise required to comply with the condominium’s mask policy – meaning that the respondents were required to wear masks while taking an indirect route from their unit to the main entrance or to their parking spots, or while transiting on the indoor common elements for purposes other than ingress or egress (i.e., social activities, exercise, etc.).
Overall, this decision confirms a condominium corporation’s authority to pass a reasonable policy or rule requiring residents to wear masks while on the indoor common elements. However, the Court also said that any such policy or rule must not run contrary to provincial or municipal legislation, which may or may not require the policy or rule to contain certain exemptions. The Court made the point that a condominium corporation’s rules/policies may be more restrictive than municipal and provincial laws – as long as they are not “inconsistent” with such laws.