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Jacobsen did not have mobility issues when she moved into the building in 2003, but as her health declined, she started using a wheelchair in 2016.
Because of three steps in the hallway leading from her second-floor suite to the elevator, Jacobsen was only able to leave or enter her suite if two friends helped her out of the wheelchair, supported her while she slowly walked up or down the steps and retrieved the wheelchair.
She said a platform from the front door to the parking lot is too steep and she has previously lost control on the way down, rolling into the car of a friend who was waiting to pick her up.
Jacobsen started asking the strata for accommodation of her mobility issues in 2014, before she used a wheelchair. She requested a small portable ramp that could help her navigate the stairs independently.
In December 2016, the property manager told Jacobsen that a ramp was not feasible because it would restrict access in the hallway. In February 2018, the property manager told Jacobsen in an email that the strata had contacted three contractors, who said a wheelchair ramp or lift could not be built. Jacobsen testified that the property manager told her to “just move.”
Testifying on behalf of the strata, Melissa Austin told the tribunal that out of 32 units in the building, only three residents have mobility issues.
That perspective is problematic, because it suggests accommodation should be assessed against the number of people who need accommodation, Chen wrote. “The duty to accommodate is not focused on what is best for the majority.”