Enhancing human rights protection

Bill 23 has been passed to further protect Albertans from age discrimination.

Status: Bill 23 passed Nov 14, 2017
Ministry responsible: Justice and Solicitor General

Overview

On Jan 6, 2017, the Court of Queen’s Bench gave the Government of Alberta one year before “age” was added as a prohibited ground of discrimination in sections 4 and 5 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act).

Section 4 of the Act protects against discrimination in the areas of:

  • goods
  • services
  • accommodation
  • facilities

Section 5 prohibits discrimination regarding tenancy.

Bill 23, Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act, 2017  has been passed to strengthen human rights protection and further protect Albertans from age discrimination.

Age amendments

Bill 23 adds “age” as a prohibited ground in sections 4 and 5 of the Act.

Three exceptions will allow specific types of age distinctions to continue without violating the Act:

  1. Benefits for seniors and minors

  • Programs that provide benefits to minors or seniors, such as discounted movie tickets, can continue.
  • Seniors can be defined as 55 or any older age.
  • Minors are defined as under 18.
  1. Seniors-only housing
  • Seniors-only (55+) housing will continue so older Albertans can choose to live together in a community of people at a similar life stage.
  • This applies to housing where all units are reserved for one or more people, at least one of whom is 55. Communities can choose any age that is 55 or older.
  • Regulations may set out additional details.
  1. Existing age-restricted condominiums
  • Will be granted a 15-year transition period to allow existing condominium owners to make decisions on where they want to live.
  • Could change to seniors-only housing during the transition period, even though there are still people in the residence who do not meet the new age restriction.
  • This transition period applies to condominium units whether they are owner-occupied or rented.

Rental buildings

Age restrictions would not be permitted in rental buildings after Jan 1, 2018, unless they meet the exception for seniors-only buildings.

Ameliorative programs and activities

Bill 23 also protects ameliorative programs and activities, which designed to improve the condition of disadvantaged people. An example of this is employment or internship programs for Indigenous youth.

Before to the introduction of this legislation, Alberta was the only jurisdiction in Canada whose human rights legislation did not provide an exception for ameliorative programs or activities.

Consultation

Thank you to the organizations and Albertans who provided feedback on this complicated topic. Bill 23 aims to balance Albertans' housing and lifestyle choices, the effect age restrictions can have on communities with housing shortages, and the human rights of those excluded by age restrictions.

Timeline

The bill comes into force on Jan 1, 2018.

Existing age restrictions in condominiums will be allowed until Dec 31, 2032.

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