Corp Comm Connects

Link to spouse’s human rights case disqualifies Vaughan woman’s condo board win

Marianne Carenza told at the end of process she doesn’t qualify
Jan. 13, 2021
Dina Al-Shibeeb

Marianne Carenza exerted much labour to win 158 votes this October to be a board member for the YRCC 818 condominium belonging to Skyrise Condominium Complex in Vaughan.

The Vaughan resident took three days from her vacation at work and spent an “untold number of evenings and weekends” collecting proxy votes to win a seat for one of the open board positions for the two complexes at Yonge Street and Clark Avenue, home to more than 400 residents.

At the final stage of her journey, during the annual general meeting on Oct. 15, she was informed in front of the Zoom attendees that she doesn’t qualify due to her husband Michael Przysuski's “ongoing” case at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Przysuski alleges discrimination against him due to his “progressive” disability stemming from his multiple sclerosis.

Przysuski was also director on the board from 2017 to 2020.

The YRCC 818 bylaw 6.03 reads: “No person shall qualify to be a director” if that person is “directly or indirectly, or whose parent, spouse, or child, is a party in any legal proceeding which involves the Corporation.”

This makes the HRTO case the disqualifying factor despite her whopping votes.

“The president of the board made a three-minute (speaking) rule when he knew that my husband, Michael, had problems speaking,” she lamented.

“They were willing to accommodate the owners with evening meetings, but they wouldn't accommodate my husband, who had his days full of medical and paramedical appointments,” she added, in reference to the discrimination allegations.

However, Paul Kochberg, vice-president at York Region Condominium Corporation, said in the HRTO proceedings, Przysuski’s claim was denied on behalf of all respondents, including the corporation.

Kochberg “applauded” the couple’s efforts in making their building more accessible and explained how a lawyer from an “independent law firm” was retained to chair the AGM. It was the lawyer who “ruled on the matter, clearly applying the rule in the bylaw,” Kochberg explained.

“Carenza’s husband was a member of the board for years and should have been familiar with the bylaw,” Kochberg added.

With a lot of elderly people at the condominium, Carenza highlighted how her husband had helped to make the buildings far more accessible.

“I'll tell you when Michael was on the board, he was the one that made the complex accessible for everybody, not just (people with) disabilities, but for older people,” she said.

He was in charge of working with contracts to make ramps at the front of the building and the parking garages, and installed some railings, she added.

Prior to the ramp, Carenza said when paramedics came to the complex, the gurney would often “drop and bounce.”

Carenza fails to see why the board isn’t accommodating despite her track record and the overwhelming votes she received from the owners.

“Interestingly, my husband did not get disqualified for going to the HRTO and completed his three-year term,” she pointed out.

Przysuski completed his three-year term as board of director at Skyrise last year, despite filing the HRTO case in July 2019.

She said she was caught off guard when her position on the board was denied.

“I received no prior notice of this and it was a direct ambush to completely embarrass and humiliate me in front of all owners and my neighbours,” she opined.

“Honestly, the most devastating hurt and shock is not being denied the board position when owners voted overwhelmingly for me to be their voice; it is how my husband and I were unfairly treated,” she added. “He greatly struggles daily beyond words with his illness, and I do my best to be a caregiver. With our daily struggles, to have some of my neighbours use the Human Rights Tribunal application against me is so overwhelming that I am so disillusioned as to whatever happened to humanity, decency and compassion. I am so emotionally devastated.”

She believes the bylaw is meant to “protect” people, not be used as a tool for “vengeful” acts. She also cited Section 8 of the Human Rights Code, which protects people from “reprisal or threats of reprisal.”

Kochberg said a condominium corporation’s declaration or bylaws “can be trumped by the Code,” but added, “to my knowledge, Marianne Carenza’s human rights were not violated in any way.”