Matters Falling Outside the CAT’s Jurisdiction

In the case of Rahman v. PSCC 779 (March 10, 2023), the Applicant complained about odours, vapours, smells, smoke and other airborne contaminants that he believed were entering his unit through faulty vent covers.  The Tribunal said that the case was not in substance about nuisance, annoyance or disruption (which is within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction) but rather was in substance about whether or not the condominium corporation had taken adequate steps to properly address alleged deficiencies in the ventilation systems (which is not within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction).  The Tribunal said: “this case in its substance is about a maintenance and repair issue, which is outside of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction”. 

In the case of Cumming v. YCC 116, the Applicant complained about regular infestations of bed bugs from a neighboring unit, and the application alleged that the condominium corporation failed to take reasonable steps to address this nuisance.  The Tribunal dismissed the application because the Applicant had failed to identify any provisions of the condominium’s governing documents that prohibit, restrict, or govern infestation issues.  So again, it appears that this was essentially a complaint about lack of maintenance (of a neighboring unit) – not a case about a nuisance prohibited by the condominium’s governing documents.  Therefore, the Tribunal said that this case fell outside its jurisdiction.

In the case of MacQuarrie et al. v. LCC 3, the Applicants complained about odour and other nuisances from a sewer back-up that had occurred in the summer of 2022.  The Tribunal held that the dispute did not fall within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction because the application was fundamentally about alleged lack of proper maintenance and repair and also about alleged violation of Section 117(1) of the Condominium Act (which are not within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction).

In my view, the “takeaway” is as follows:  When considering a CAT application, it is important to carefully consider the CAT’s jurisdiction and whether or not the particular complaint falls in substance within the CAT’s jurisdiction (as spelled out in Regulation 179/17).

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