Toronto: Tenants’ religious rights violated by Brampton landlord who refused to remove shoes

thestar.com
A human rights tribunal has awarded $12,000 to a Muslim couple, who claimed their landlord failed to accommodate their religious practices.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has awarded $12,000 to a Muslim couple, who claimed their landlord failed to accommodate their prayer times and notify the wife when she was home alone before bringing in prospective new tenants for apartment viewings.

“The respondent discriminated against the applicants by failing to accommodate their religious practices relating to prayer times by providing advance notice shortly before showing the apartment,” tribunal panel vice-chair Jo-Anne Pickel wrote in a recent 38-page decision.

“He also failed to accommodate their religious practices by refusing to remove his shoes when entering their apartment and especially their prayer space. Finally, he also harassed them, at least in part, because of their religiously-based accommodation requests.”

The decision is believed to be the first of its kind from the tribunal with respect to discrimination based on creed and housing.

The overall intake of human rights cases based on creed has been on the rise, up by 13 per cent to 837 last year compared to 741 in 2015. During the same period the number of inquiries specifically about Muslim identity went up by 39 per cent to 196 cases from 141, said the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

Pickel rejected the landlord’s argument that the tenants were attempting to “impose their way of life” on others, ruling that there’s no evidence to support the claim.

“This claim by the respondent echoes arguments that have become common within public discourse. Unfortunately, attempts by Muslims to practice their faith have increasingly been interpreted as an attempt to impose their way of life on others,” wrote Pickel.

“Far from seeking to impose their way of life on anyone, the applicants were merely making simple requests for the accommodation of their religious practices.”

Categories: The Muslim Times

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