A landmark ruling, originally handed down from the Office of Residential Tenancies in Saskatchewan, has been made official by the courts.
The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed an appeal from the Regina Housing Authority, who appealed the ORT’s ruling to pay out plaintiffs in a suit, which found a Regina landlord and the RHA guilty of violating sections of the Tenancy Act and for failing to address the issues of second hand smoke infiltrating their units and causing severe health issues.
The appeal was dismissed February 28th.
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Donna Pasiechnik said this ruling is a historic one for Saskatchewan.
“This is probably one of the most important things, professionally, that I have done, personally,” said Pasciechnik. “Many of these people who live in these smoking environments have no voice. This finally recognizes that this is an issue and that they do have a voice.”
Pasiechnik was sure to note the case was not about money, but rather about helping landlords understand the dangers of second hand smoke and what renters want.
The lawyer defending the tenants in the case, Carly Romanow of Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan, said now that the ruling is in effect across the province, landlords have a chance to have an informed discussion about what tenants can expect from them.
“There are provisions in the act that allow landlords to make rules regarding their rental properties, such as a smoke free environment, certain services that afforded quiet hours, stuff like that,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for landlords to have a frank discussion with their tenants