A gay man awarded $2,500 in damages last April, after the BC Human Rights Tribunal found he was discriminated against by a prospective landlord who refused to rent to him because he has AIDS, says he has not been paid.
Once a decision is rendered, a tribunal registrar told Xtra West, the complainant must take a certified copy of it to the BC Supreme Court, which becomes responsible for enforcement. The tribunal does not have enforcement powers, Vikki Bell says.
Bruce McDonald says he’s filed the ruling with the Supreme Court but can hardly afford to take a case there. “It would cost thousands,” he says. “I have to have it transferred over to small claims [court].”
McDonald says the entire process has been “nerve-wracking.”
Once a court order is received, Bell says steps can be taken to collect the damages owed to McDonald by realtor Peter Dobrovich-Schuster.
According to the tribunal’s Apr 22 decision, McDonald and his partner, Ron Sabey, had been searching for a two-bedroom apartment in December 2002 when they saw a suite available at 1110 Davie St. Dobrovich-Schuster asked McDonald what he and his partner did for a living and McDonald said they were on disability pensions, McDonald told the tribunal last spring.
Dobrovich-Schuster then asked what the disability was.
Before McDonald could tell Dobrovich-Schuster it was none of his business, the realtor “interrupted and said that he hoped it was not AIDS as he had no intention of running a hostel,” the tribunal found.
The realtor told the tribunal he did not rent to the men as they looked “unkempt.”
Under the BC Human Rights Code, landlords are not allowed to refuse to rent to a prospective tenant simply because they have a disability such as AIDS.