Man’s claim of right to barbecue in winter dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

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      Murray Obrand loves to barbecue.

      He loves barbecue so much that cold weather doesn’t stop him from indulging in this treat.

      In order to barbecue all year round, Obrand erected a heated gazebo outside his strata property.

      That’s when he ran into some bit of trouble.

      A neighbour complained to the strata corporation, and Obrand was ordered to remove the heated gazebo.

      The strata’s bylaws do not allow temporary or permanent structures on limited common property.

      Obrand believes that he has a right to barbecue in winter.

      And because he suffers from osteoarthritis, he is convinced that the strata is denying him accommodation, service and facility on grounds of his physical disability.

      According to Obrand, his osteoarthritis causes him to freeze up without a heated gazebo.

      All of these were recalled by Grace Chen, a member of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal where Obrand filed a complaint.

      The complaint was filed against the strata corporation, and FirstService Residential, a strata management company operating in Metro Vancouver.

      Chen dismissed the man’s complaint because there is no such thing as the right to barbecue in winter in B.C. Human Rights Code.

      “I wish to be clear that the Code does not provide Mr. Obrand with a right to barbeque as he wishes in his residential building,” Chen wrote in her reasons for decision.

      According to Chen, the man’s “inability to use his barbeque in cold weather does not suggest his dignity or self respect has been adversely affected such that the Code’s protections should be triggered”.

      “Mr. Obrand’s desire to barbeque outside under a heated gazebo is a mere preference that is, on the face of it and without any explanation from him, unrelated to his disability,” Chen noted. “Mr. Obrand has not explained how his osteoarthritis restricts or limits him from cooking indoors  such that he needs accommodation in the form of being able to barbeque outside throughout  the year.”

      Chen wrote that Obrand’s “desire to replicate his warm indoor cooking environment outside under the heated gazebo suggests his osteoarthritis does not prevent him from cooking inside”.

      “Even had he told the Respondents that he felt he needed the heated gazebo because his condition causes him to ‘freeze up’ when he barbeques in the cold, those facts do not establish the Respondents had a duty to accommodate his preference to barbeque outdoors in the cold,” Chen stated.