B.C. Human Rights Tribunal accepts condo language complaint

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has accepted a complaint filed by condo owners in Richmond, B.C., who say their strata council has been conducting meetings in Mandarin only since July.

Grievance could be resolved by mediation before going to a hearing

Andreas Kargut says his strata council was taken over by a group who speak Mandarin only at meetings, leaving him and other owners cut out. (CBC)

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has accepted a complaint filed by seven condo owners in Richmond, B.C., who say their strata council has been conducting meetings in Mandarin only since July.

"It's a class-action complaint against the current strata council based on racial discrimination," said Andreas Kargut, one of the complainants

"We're being excluded and shunned aside because we don't have the same cultural background and we do not speak their language," he claims. 

The complaint was filed in December 2015. Kargut says he and the other complainants will be asking for financial compensation, a formal apology and for the current council to resign. 

Kargut says the tribunal sent him a letter on Wednesday afternoon saying the complaint has been accepted and the respondents have been notified as well.

The tribunal's letter to the respondents says the complaint can be resolved by mediation. If not, it will be resolved at a hearing. 

Strata meetings usually deal with the maintenance and governance of a condo building. Kargut says he was on the strata council from 2005 until 2014, when the new council was elected. 

Patrick Williams, with Clark Wilson property dispute resolution group, notes there are no rules to force a condo council to do business in English. 

CBC News attempted to contact members of the current strata council, but they didn't respond.

With files from Deborah Goble

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