The Government of Alberta want to know what you think! Alberta Justice has just released the Age and AHRA Discussion Guide to solicit comments on age amendments to the Alberta Human Rights Act. Written submissions are required no later than August 31, 2017.

SAMPLE RESPONSES:

  1. Should the Act ensure that programs and activities that provide a protection or benefit to minors or seniors continue? Please comment on why. Include rationale and considerations based on your experiences.

Yes. The Act should include provisions that explicitly provide protection for children and their caregivers in condominium and rental housing. The Act should include exemptions for supportive living facilities such as for persons with developmental disabilities and seniors.

  1. From the perspective of you or your organization, what do you think are the key considerations in determining a minimum age for the purpose of protections or benefits for seniors? What do you think the minimum age should be? If you currently provide a service or program that offers seniors protections or benefits please include this information as well.

We believe the Act should include exemptions for supportive living facilities rather than a black and white age exemption. However, if the Government of Alberta is setting a minimum age exemption, then the minimum age should be consistent with the age at which seniors qualify for seniors benefits, which is typically 65 years.

  1. Should the Act include provisions for seniors-only buildings? What is the rationale for or against including provisions for seniors-only housing? Please explain.

The Act should include exemptions for supportive living facilities such as for persons with developmental disabilities and seniors. We believe that an exemption for supportive housing is a more nuanced approach to policy making than a ‘seniors-only’ facility. Supportive housing includes many housing types where care is provided and/or space is purpose-built for a certain vulnerable demographic, including seniors. But supportive housing could also include housing that provides physical or mental health support for people of all ages.

  1. If so, what is the lowest age-restriction for seniors-only buildings – 55+, 60+, 65+, or some other age? Please explain or include rationale for your response.

Exemptions for supportive living facilities would be preferable to using age as an arbitrary delineator. However, if the Government of Alberta is setting a minimum age exemption, then the minimum age should be consistent with the age at which seniors qualify for seniors benefits, which is typically 65 years.

  1. What are potential consequences/implications that government should consider when adding age to sections 4 and 5, in addition to those identified above? Please be specific.

If age is added without explicit protections for children, we are concerned that clear interpretation of the rights of children will be missing and discrimination will continue towards children and their caregivers in rental and condominium housing. CFHCA would like a clear interpretation directly in the Human Rights Act similar to interpretations found in Ontario. The two most relevant quotes from Ontario are:

  • Adult Only Buildings: It is discrimination, under the ground of family status, if you are denied housing because you have children. Adult-only buildings are not permitted in Ontario except for specific situations such as subsidized seniors’ residences or care facilities.
  • Age: … Refusing to sell or lease living accommodation to families with children under age 18 is not allowed.

See the Guide to Your Rights and Responsibilities Under the Human Rights Code.

  1. In relation to these age amendments to the Alberta Human Rights Act, what are you most concerned about? Unclear about?

We are most concerned that if age is added without explicit protections for children, then clear interpretation of the rights of children will be missing and discrimination will continue towards children and their caregivers in rental and condominium housing.

 

 

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