Thursday 23 April 2015

"You can't buy this house because you're Jewish"

Fortunately, the statement in the headline is not something that can legally be said to anyone anymore.  But there was a time when it was business-as-usual, with restrictions even registered on some properties' titles prohibiting ownership by Jewish and black folks.

Restrictions registered on title - or restrictive covenants - are still around, and you could run across some now and then.  Subdivisions may have restrictions on storing boats or commercial vehicles in the driveway, the installation of satellite dishes, or even varieties of trees allowed.  These are restrictions that run on title with the particular properties, whether local by-law is similar or not.

The government does, of course, have the power to over-ride these restrictions and make them unenforceable, though.  Thankfully, that is just what they did with any restriction considered discriminatory based on race, gender, and so on.  And more recently the Ontario government decided that there should be no outright prohibitions on laundry lines, in the interest of promoting energy conservation.

For a little more on the history of the end of the exclusionary restrictions in Ontario, check out this Toronto Star article, Honouring the end of real-estate racism in Canada.

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