Ms. S, Ms. B and Ms. V (“the Complainants”) each submitted a complaint with the Yukon Human Rights Commission alleging that they were discriminated against by the Yukon Housing Corporation based on their sources of income. The Yukon Housing Corporation owned properties throughout the Yukon and coordinated a number of housing programs, including Social Housing Programs and Yukon Government Employee Housing. The Yukon Housing Corporation is subject to its own advisory boards. In this case, the Dawson City Housing Advisory Council was the local housing advisory board.
The Complainants alleged that the Dawson City Housing Advisory Council adopted a “No Pet Policy” for all tenants under the Social Housing Program, while tenants who were Yukon Government employees were not subject to the “No Pet Policy”. The Social Housing tenants in Dawson City were required to meet an income criterion to be accepted in the Social Housing Program.
In deciding this case, the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication (“the Board”) considered the following issues:
- Can two programs (Social Housing Program and Yukon Government Employee Housing Program) be compared when applying the Yukon Human Rights Act (“the Act”)?
- Under the Act, does the No Pet Policy result in discrimination against social housing tenants based on their income?
First, the Board decided whether the two programs could be compared. They considered the following questions regarding both programs:
- Is there a landlord-tenant relationship?
- Is there a common landlord?
- Are the signatories the same?
- Are the units designated and tailored to specific programs?
- Do the leases differ substantively?
Based on evidence, the Board found that there was a landlord-tenant relationship. The signatories on all the leases were the Landlord (the Yukon Housing Corporation) and the tenant of each unit. The housing units in Dawson city were used by both the Social Housing Program and the Yukon Government Employee Housing Program. The most relevant differences between the lease agreements of both programs is the “No Pet Policy”.
Then, the Board found that there was discrimination based on income. Indeed, a “No Pet Policy” on Social Housing tenants whose eligibility is determined by their income is discrimination based on source of income.
Therefore, the Board ordered the Yukon Housing Corporation to ensure that no employee or policy contravenes the Act. In addition, it ordered the Yukon Housing Corporation to implement a human rights awareness workshop for staff and members of its community advisory committees (like the Dawson City Housing Advisory). It also ordered the Yukon Housing Corporation to pay the costs incurred by the Respondents during the legal proceedings.