Two recent decisions from the CAT deal with parties asking to adjourn their matters for medical reasons.
In Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 132 v. Evans, 2022 ONCAT 38, the condo brought an application to the CAT regarding a parking dispute with an owner on how their parking impacts snow removal in the condo parking lot. The respondent owner requested that the case be adjourned for two months due to medical reasons. In asking if the two-month adjournment would be an appropriate length of time, the Tribunal asked the owner to provide supporting documents that would demonstrate their medical need. With the owner failing to respond to this request, the Tribunal listed that the following must be established to ensure a fair process:
- The existence and nature of a disability or medical issue
- The medical and/or disability related need for accommodation
- The connection between disability and the requested accommodation
- The absence of alternative forms of accommodation
Since the respondent only responded to messages about the substance of the dispute but did not produce the requested information to support their medical reasons for seeking adjournment, the motion to adjourn the case was denied.
In Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2048 v. Mortazavi, 2022 ONCAT 47, the condo applied to the CAT regarding noise disturbances on multiple occasions caused by the owner respondent. The owner requested an adjournment of the case due to medical reasons and provided a doctor’s letter detailing that the accommodation should be granted to avoid exposure to stress and any task which would compromise his treatment.
In response, the condo requested an interim order to prohibit the respondent owner from creating loud noises for the period of the adjournment: Although the interim order was not granted – as it would infer that the Respondent was in fact “actively causing disturbances” without a full determination – the Tribunal emphasized that residents must still comply with the condo’s declaration under section 119(1) of the Condo Act.
With the Tribunal accepting the doctor’s letter, the Tribunal questioned if a three-month adjournment would be appropriate, as the respondent had made similar allegations in two previous cases filed with the CAT. Due to this, the Tribunal ordered that the respondent provide an updated doctor’s letter to address the concern of the adjournment to the fairness and timeliness of the Tribunal process.
These two cases highlight the CAT’s intentions of being fair when resolving disputes while time remains a primary concern. With the CAT’s attempt to balance the interests of the respondent and their medical needs with the efficiency of the Tribunal process, an adjournment may only be granted if the proper documentation is provided. That is, documentation that meets the criteria provided given the circumstances. Unless the CAT is satisfied that the adjournment would benefit the respondent regarding their medical reasons, the motion will not be granted as it would unduly delay the original application to the Tribunal.
This raises the overarching question… Does the CAT process move too quickly?
(Editor’s note: This is the first blog post by our paralegal student, Jessica Conforti, who is joining us to complete her work placement. We look forward to reading more from her! ~ AL)