For immediate publication
Toronto - The Commission today announced that a settlement has been reached between a home buyer and Mattamy Homes, a major home builder in Ontario.
The home buyer, who uses a wheelchair, was purchasing a new home from the builder, but required a number of alterations to the standard design in order to make the premises accessible. There was an issue as to whether the builder’s policies and procedures appropriately considered accessibility changes upfront either in the contract of purchase and sale, or in the floor plan drawings. This would mean that a home buyer would have to first purchase the standard home, and then meet with a design consultant to discuss potential alterations, with no assurances that the home could be made accessible. The complaint was neither investigated nor referred to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing. Rather, Mattamy Homes decided to resolve the issue in a direct and positive manner.
As a result of the settlement, Mattamy Homes has agreed to:
- Complete a written protocol that sets out how its staff can address the needs of persons with disabilities, including steps outlining how to assess feasibility and related costs for house design modifications due to a purchaser’s disability;
- Indicate house design modifications required by persons with disabilities, where feasible, in the agreement of purchase and sale, by way of a schedule; and
- Provide a copy of the completed protocol to the Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association.
Chief Commissioner Keith Norton stated, "This settlement is a positive example of what progressive organizations like Mattamy Homes can do to address the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities. I am encouraging all home builder associations in Ontario to take this opportunity to educate themselves and their members about their responsibilities under Ontario's Human Rights Code."
Under the Code, every person has a right to equal treatment in receiving services without discrimination. This includes accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities. The principles of universal design are important in this respect. Universal design means planning buildings so they are usable by all individuals, including persons with disabilities as well as older persons and families with small children.
- 30 -
Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission