Surrey feud over dwelling rights back in the courts

The City of Surrey, Fraser Health Authority and B.C. Human Rights Tribunal pulled into the mix

A protracted family battle between a Surrey woman and her half-brother who tried to have her evicted from property he inherited from their father has pulled the City of Surrey, Fraser Health Authority and B.C. Human Rights Tribunal into the mix.

Terry Nociar tried in 2014 to have Catherine McCulloch removed as a trespasser from the 10-acre rural Surrey property but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terry Schultes wouldn’t allow it, finding it had been their late father John Nociar’s intention to let her stay. Nociar lived in the house with his wife and four children, while McCulloch lived in their father’s woodworking shop out back.

McCulloch then launched two complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, City of Surrey, Fraser Health Authority and Terry and Debbie Nociar and in this latest action, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, her lawyer argued that the tribunal erred by not accepting her complaints alleging discrimination under the Human Rights Code.

READ ALSO: Judge won’t let man evict ill sister from inherited land

McCulloch sought a judicial review of two B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decisions that are related but involve different parties. The first decision, Jan. 21, 2016, concerns her complaint against the City of Surrey and Fraser Health Authority alleging discrimination based on the grounds of family status and physical disability “in the provision of an accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public.”

The court heard McCulloch has auto-immune disease, allergies to “common chemicals such as those in construction materials,” environmental hypersensitivity disorder, multiple chemical sensitivities disorder, Raynauds syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, dysfunctional immune system and cacosmia.

She claims the City of Surrey and Fraser Health Authority “inadvertently assists” Nociar in “bullying her to move off the property by not ensuring that the swelling unit is habitable” and the lack of electricity causes her “extreme hardship” resulting in loss of education opportunities, employment opportunities and “makes it impossible for her to attend school or practice her music and photography.”

She alleges Fraser Health refuses to an enforce an order to Terry Nociar to reconnect the sanitation system in the dwelling.

The second decision before the court concerns the Nociars, dated May 17, 2016. In this McCulloch alleges discrimination in the areas of tenancy and also “in the provision of an accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public.” She alleges the respondents harass her “in an effort to have her leave the property” and as a result she is “unable to live in peace and enjoyment of her residence.” The court heard she does not pay rent.

In a judgment delivered on Tuesday April 23 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Justice Maria Morellato decided to dismiss McCulloch’s judicial review petition concerning the tribunal’s decision to not accept her complaints against the City of Surrey and Fraser Health Authority but allowed the judicial review petition concerning the May 2016 Nociar decision.

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