A disabled Burlington, Ont., man has won his legal battle to get his condo corporation to pay for a wheelchair ramp to his front door.
Paul DiSalvo, 68, has multiple sclerosis and his condition has worsened over the past few years. He now uses a wheelchair, making the three steps up to his front door difficult to negotiate.
On Thursday, he learned that his year and a half legal struggle is finally over. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered the Halton Condominium Corporation to install an accessible ramp.
In addition to ordering the board to pay $12,000 in general damages to Mr. DiSalvo for injury to his dignity, the tribunal also ordered the corporation to train condominium members about discrimination, disability and Ontario's Human Rights Code.
"Oh boy, I'm really happy with the outcome," said DiSalvo. "You've got to believe it's going to be helpful to others in the same situation."
The condominium corporation argued that DiSalvo should bear the full costs of installing a ramp to his door and making modifications to the walkway. It said it would not be appropriate to expend funds for the sole benefit of one owner.
But the tribunal's vice-chair, Michelle Flaherty, disagreed.
She found that "even where the applicant is the only individual benefiting from the accommodation measure, unless undue hardship is established, the code requires that the costs of the reasonable accommodation be borne by the condominium corporation."
DiSalvo's lawyer, Sharmaine Hall, said that the tribunal's decision will likely set a precedent.
"This decision strongly suggests that any subsequent board would likely follow the direction that Michelle Flaherty took in her decision."