A Vancouver-based attorney says the rental ad is patently discriminatory and violates the BC Human Rights Code.
An online rental listing in Vancouver raises concerns of being racist and violating the human rights code.
The ad posted on Craigslist for a one bedroom rental reads “Not an Indian!”. The post was shared on social media and then deleted to be reposted later, excluding the phrase “no Indian”.
Vancouver-based attorney Kyla Lee says the posting is discriminatory.
“I was shocked when I saw the post. It is blatantly discriminatory and blatantly contrary to the provisions of the BC Human Rights Code,” she says. “As a lawyer, I can’t imagine that anyone who filed such a complaint would have been familiar with the laws in BC regarding discrimination and tenancy.”
One person who responded to a mobile phone number on the post says they have no regrets about the original wording in the online ad.
“I can’t live with an Indian,” they wrote to a Glacier Media reporter. “Why don’t you share your apartment with Indian?”
Glacier Media shared the post with the Housing Department, which sent an email statement in response.
“Racial discrimination is unacceptable and has no place in BC,” said Niki Sharma, the provincial attorney general. “Our government is constantly updating British Columbia’s laws to ensure they meet our commitment to racism and protecting people.”
Under the Human Rights Code, a person cannot refuse to rent to another person based on a protected category such as age, gender, sexual orientation, indigenous identity, race or religion.
The Housing Ministry adds that the code also specifies some situations in which a person can refuse to rent to another person based on a protected category, including when the owner of the accommodation shares a bathroom or kitchen with the tenant.
“The section can play an important role in protecting people, e.g. B. by people who belong to a religion with certain dietary restrictions. We are examining the impact of the Section in relation to our commitment against racism,” explains a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing.
Lee says landlords are not allowed to discriminate against a person because of their race.
“There’s an impact in the sense that you file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal against the person who posted the ad,” she says.
The person could be sanctioned by the BC Human Rights Tribunal and could have to pay financial compensation for discrimination.
According to Lee, this can be difficult because Craigslist is a system that uses anonymous posters.
“It becomes very difficult to identify the person involved in the discrimination, and someone would need to establish the identity of the discriminator in order to properly serve him documents related to the Human Rights Court proceedings,” she says.
She warns landlords to think twice about being discriminatory, especially when it comes to only renting to certain ethnic backgrounds or certain genders.
Keaton Bessey works as a managing agent at a tenant and property management company in the Vancouver area and wasn’t surprised to see the listing and suspects the person is not an experienced landlord.
“There’s an increasing lack of education about what landlords can and can’t do,” he says. “And also what they should and shouldn’t do.”
Bessey hopes that this person is a good person who made a mistake and will learn that this is not allowed in Canada.
“This person probably would have just been inundated with terrible news that, whether they deserve it or not, [hopefully] They learned a lesson pretty quickly,” he says.
Glacier Media asked the person if she was aware that refusing to rent to someone based on race violated the Human Rights Code, but she did not respond.