Real Estate Litigation Articles

Smelling pot smoke from your condo neighbours? This online tribunal is ordering people to stop smoking in their units

By Bob Aaron
Toronto Star contributing columnist.

Body generally exercises its powers to alleviate or eliminate adverse effects of cannabis smoke in Ontario’s condo community.

Since the legalization of cannabis, many owners and tenants living in Ontario condominiums have had the enjoyment of their units adversely affected by migrating odours from cannabis smoke and THC vaping.

But help has arrived from the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT). It was established by the Ontario government in 2017 as Canada’s first online tribunal. It is dedicated to helping condo owners and corporations resolve disputes conveniently, quickly and affordably. Its jurisdiction was expanded in 2022.

The Tribunal now assists in the resolution of disputes related to condo records, noise, odours, light, vibration, smoke, vapour, pets, animals, vehicles, parking, storage, other types of nuisances, annoyances or disruption, and compliance with CAT settlement agreements.

A number of recent decisions of the tribunal demonstrate that the CAT will use its powers to provide relief to owners and tenants affected by cannabis cigarette smoke and THC vaping.

Earlier this year, the tribunal released its decision in the case of Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation 2010 v. Andrew Johnson. The building is located on Wellington St. W. in Toronto.

For more than two years, the condominium had received numerous complaints about cannabis smoke and odour coming from Johnson’s unit. Management issued warning letters to him on at least three occasions, but he continued to smoke in his unit and on the common elements.

The rules of the corporation prohibit smoking cannabis in the units or on the common elements.

As well, the building’s declaration prohibits any activities that interfere with the comfort or enjoyment of other residents.

A government regulation passed under the Condominium Act 1998 lists unreasonable odour and smoke among the prescribed nuisances which are prohibited under the legislation.

After reviewing the evidence, the tribunal found that Johnson was creating a nuisance and ordered him to stop smoking cannabis and to pay costs of $4,890.07.
Those costs can be collected by adding them to the unit’s common expenses.

Fulvio Valerio is a tenant in Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation 2637 on Keele St. in North York. In the tribunal case against him, evidence was introduced to prove that he failed to comply with rules prohibiting the smoking of cannabis anywhere on condominium property including his unit’s balcony.

In January of this year, he was ordered to abide by the building rules and to refrain from smoking cannabis anywhere on the property. He and his landlord who owns the unit were ordered to pay compensation of $5,708.50.

One of the early tribunal cases under its expanded jurisdiction took place in 2022. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation 1002 proceeded against Nicole Ruiz, a tenant in the building on Guildwood Parkway in Scarborough. The evidence revealed that she was smoking in the unit in violation of the building rules. She was ordered to refrain from smoking cannabis in her unit. No costs were requested or ordered.

These and similar cases demonstrate that the tribunal will not fail to exercise its powers to alleviate or eliminate the adverse effects of cannabis smoke in Ontario’s condominium community.

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Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. He is Certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Real Estate Law.

He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366. Visit his website