Mackenzie family protected from noise complaints, says lawyer
CBC News
12 January 2015

The children of a family in Abbotsford jump on a foam mattress to avoid disturbing their neighbour below. (CBC)

A lawyer specializing in human rights issues says the law protects families with children making noise in their home — up to a certain level.

"Human rights law allows kids to be kids," said Devyn Cousineau, a lawyer with the Community Legal Assistance Society (in Vancouver—editor).

"Up to the point where it becomes unduly difficult for their neighbours to live with that noise."

Earlier this week a woman in Abbotsford told CBC that she and her family are being forced out of their townhouse because her children play too loudly.

Cousineau said strata councils and landlords need to accommodate people who have children.

When noise complaints arise, Cousineau said procedures should be followed to ensure fairness, such as objectively assessing whether or not noise levels are unreasonable.

Strata councils also need to ensure that bylaws are implemented in a way that doesn't unduly prejudice people because they have children.

Cousineau suggests all parties explore noise-proofing options. Landlords can potentially move tenants to a more suitable apartment.

People who feel they're being targeted because they have children have a few different options.

"To the extent you can accept an offer of mediation or go through any kind of dispute resolution mechanism, that's going to be your best bet," said Cousineau, adding litigation, including through the Human Rights Tribunal, should be a last resort.

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