News / Edmonton

Edmonton MLA David Shepherd targets adult-only buildings

MLA David Shepherd wants to changes legislation so buildings can't discriminate on the basis of age.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

MLA David Shepherd wants to changes legislation so buildings can't discriminate on the basis of age.

Edmonton – Centre MLA David Shepherd wants to close the door on adult-only apartment buildings to make it easier for families to live in the downtown core.

Shepherd said he's heard from several constituents struggling to find a place to live because many buildings don't allow children.

“I did hear some stories from people who were living in apartments in the downtown core and when they became pregnant [they] were forced to leave,” he said. 

And Shepherd said barring people from buildings due to age is an area where Alberta stands alone.

“Alberta is the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not provide for protection for discrimination on the basis of age for either tenancy or occupancy.”

Rowan Kunitz said finding a place for his wife and two young children in Oliver took six months, because he kept running into the adult-only barrier.

“We were really discouraged the first two months,” he said. “It was incredibly difficult.”

He said buildings either didn’t have two- or three-bedroom apartments or they had an adult-only provision.

He said having the restriction limits a neighbourhood's growth and stops young families from moving in. 

“What that is essentially saying is that you are not going to grow that demographic,” he said.

Shepherd said he initially considering addressing the issue with a private member’s bill, but said it will take more time to figure out because the Human Rights Act is complicated legislation.

“Something like this could certainly have wide-ranging implications — it’s not like you can grandfather existing buildings because this is the Human Rights Act.”

But Paul Cashman, a spokesperson for the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association, said they are looking at the issue, but believe the market can also be a good solution. 

He said builders would build for families downtown — if families wanted to live there.

“Our industry, if there was sufficient demand, would want to meet that demand.”

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