Smell of pot smoke at centre of Yukon Human Rights Commission complaint

A Whitehorse woman has filed a complaint with the Yukon Human Rights Commission, accusing her landlord of harassing her. The landlord says the woman was filling the apartment complex with pot smoke.

Whitehorse woman alleges landlord harassed and falsely accused her of drug use

Candice Pauch said her landlord falsely accused her of smoking marijuana in her apartment. 'It just got to the point where the anxiety and stress it was causing me just made me leave,' Pauch said. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

A Whitehorse woman says her rights were violated by a landlord who systematically harassed her and falsely accused her of smoking pot.

Candice Pauch has complained to the Yukon Human Rights Commission and is seeking $8,700 in damages.

Pauch's written complaint to the commission details her struggles with mental illness and how she was repeatedly traumatized by Anne Pittens, the landlord of her Riverdale apartment. According to her complaint, Pauch has severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder, stemming from a past abusive relationship. 

Pauch alleges Pittens did not accommodate her mental disabilities. She says Pittens' "harrassment" instead caused her to relapse, harming herself by acting out her OCD behaviours.
The Kontiki Apartment complex is in Whitehorse's Riverdale neighbourhood.

"It just got to the point where the anxiety and stress it was causing me just made me leave," Pauch said. "And that's what she wanted anyways."

Pauch alleges that Pittens repeatedly came to her door, accusing her of smoking marijuana and asking to be let in to verify. One time, Pittens entered the apartment without giving the 24 hours notice required by Yukon's Landlord and Tenant Act.

"When she's not following certain things, like 24 hours notice policies and knocking on the door, it triggers my anxiety which she had no respect for," Pauch said. She denies smoking pot.

'A field of pot smoke'
'I had a duty to protect the rights of the other tenants,' said landlord Anne Pittens. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Pittens says Pauch's human rights complaint is groundless.

"I would like to see the whole thing go away, because I believe that there is no complaint. I believe there was no discrimination," Pittens said.

She said she was never aware of Pauch's mental illness, and even if she were, she would not have acted differently. She admits to entering Pauch's unit without notice but said she had to act because other tenants were complaining about the smell of marijuana. 

"I made the call that it was an emergency, that I had a duty to protect the rights of the other tenants," Pittens said.

"For those young families going in and having to have their kids and babies and parents walk through a field of pot smoke every time they went into their home is not an acceptable situation."

The Yukon Human Rights Commission is reviewing Pauch's complaint, to determine whether it warrants a full investigation.



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