Alberta to Review Discriminatory Housing Legislation

In Canada, landlords and developers cannot lawfully prohibit minors from living in a particular apartment or condo building. Similarly, they can’t discriminate based on sexual preference, religion, or race. Makes sense, right?

What if I told you that the above statement isn’t actually true? Not entirely, anyway.

Alberta is the only province where minors are legally, and frequently refused tenancy in both rental, and condo properties. You’ve heard of “adult only” buildings/communities? Well, no one in Montreal, Vancouver, or Toronto has.

This has been a hot topic in our local news, recently, and plenty of people are making arguments for restrictive housing. As a mother of two, currently living in an area where child-unfriendly housing is prominent, I’ve certainly got $0.02 to add to this debate.

Kids are loud. Yes. So are many adults. I’ve lived in two condo buildings over the last (nearly) four years, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to make noise complaints. Guess how many of those involved a child? Zero. Correspondingly, no complaints have been made about my children, either. When you choose not to live in single detached housing, you should expect to be in close contact with your neighbours, and this will almost definitely mean some noise disturbance, once in awhile. What we need, instead of policies prohibiting minors, is to put some accountability on developers to build more family-friendly housing stock. Better sound insulation, more 3+ bedroom units, and pricing to accommodate middle-class families would mean more density and vibrancy in central and gentrifying neighbourhoods.

“Just live somewhere else.” The majority of family-friendly housing options in Edmonton are wood construction walk-ups in less than desirable areas of the city. Pushing families out of the core is stunting the growth of our central neighbourhoods. Limiting diversity is never the way to go when progress is the goal.

The fact of the matter is that this is a human rights issue, unique to our province, and we should be eager to make the changes necessary to catch up with the rest of the country (and the world). People in Europe, Central/South America, etc. have had this figured out for a hundred years or more.

The province is set to review the terms of age discrimination in June, and a legislation will follow in January 2018. This is largely dependant on public support and opinion, so please, contact your representatives, and let them know how you expect your opinion to be represented on this matter.

For more information on this topic, follow Child Friendly Housing.




Julie Farrell lives with her two daughters, wife, and dog in a downtown Edmonton condo. She coordinates the Downtown Edmonton Community League’s Urban Kids program and is an advocate for community enhancement and mental health. Julie also blogs about urban family life, sustainability, and minimalism at