Strata coun­cil ac­cused of dis­crim­i­na­tion af­ter meet­ings held solely in Man­darin

Asian Journal - - BRISTISH COLUMBIA - The Cana­dian Press

Rich­mond: A con­do­minium owner in Rich­mond has filed a hu­man rights com­plaint against his strata coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to run meet­ings en­tirely in Man­darin. Andreas Kargut said the strata’s re­fusal to con­duct the meet­ings in English dis­crim­i­nates against some res­i­dents, de­spite meet­ing min­utes and other doc­u­ments later be­ing trans­lated. “I felt really dis­crim­i­nated against,’’ said Kargut, who served on the Welling­ton Court strata coun­cil from 2003 to 2014.

He said the com­plaint, sub­mit­ted to the prov­ince’s hu­man-rights tri­bunal, was a last re­sort af­ter his protests fell on deaf ears. The strata coun­cil ig­nored a rec­om­men­da­tion from the build­ing’s property man­age­ment com­pany to hire an in­de­pen­dent trans­la­tor for all meet­ings and in­stead en­listed the ser­vices of some­one who was un­able to han­dle the task, he added. “I think (trans­la­tors) run at about $100 an hour,’’ Kargut said. “It would’ve been a small price to pay. A lot of the really good ones, they ac­tu­ally know how to mod­er­ate a meet­ing to make sure ev­ery­body has their turn to speak.’’ No laws re­quire English be used at strata meet­ings and Man­darin is spo­ken by as many as 70 per cent of those liv­ing in the com­plex, which is near Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Ed Mao, head of the Welling­ton Court strata, said coun­cil never said it would ex­clude English, but mem­bers find it more ef­fi­cient to use Man­darin dur­ing meet­ings. “It is only the coun­cil meet­ings, when we dis­cuss stuff on the mat­ters, that we find it more ef­fi­cient to use Man­darin,’’ said Mao. “That’s all.’’ The city has been the fo­cus of com­plaints in the past, with some Rich­mond res­i­dents protest­ing against Chi­nese-only sig­nage used by a small per­cent­age of busi­nesses. Un­der the Hu­man Rights Code, strata coun­cils are re­quired to ac­com­mo­date mem­bers with re­spect to any ser­vice they pro­vide.

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