Depression (HRTO)

From Riverview Legal Services


Ontario Human Rights Commission, Commission and Erika Weiher, Complainant v. David Polhill 2003 CarswellOnt 6084, 2003 HRTO 13, 47 C.H.R.R. D/104

13 The Complainant testified that she suffers from a mental disorder that arose shortly after the birth of her second child. She has been diagnosed as having a borderline personality, an eating disorder, and suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression. She goes through, in her words, "extreme depression", and has attempted suicide. She has been hospitalized on occasion because of her disability and her children have been removed from her care. When she is depressed, which can last for many days, she cries, cuts her wrist (which she bandages up herself) and then retreats to her bed. She has had to call a crisis centre before matters escalate further. She explained that during these bouts of depression, she doesn't eat or bathe. She mainly cries. 14 She receives treatment for her disability and is now on a number of medications that had been changed the month before the hearing. This medication change causes her to feel "groggy", instead of "hyper" as she had felt before the medication change. This allows her to sit for longer periods. She also engages in an assistance program, attends at a social worker and sees a psychiatrist every two weeks.

119 I find that the reason that the Complainant initiated the calls is a straightforward one. I am satisfied that the reason for the calls to the Respondent was because she had never lived in a situation like the one found at the House, she was concerned about what the interaction with the other tenants would be and was understandably sensitive about the move because of her recent experiences. This would reasonably have led to her having second thoughts about renting the room. By calling the Respondent and disclosing her disability she sought to have some measure of reinforcement for her decision or at least the comfort of knowing that this new situation would not be a repetition of the earlier one. She obviously did not find the reassurance she sought, which led her to return the keys.

126 Mitigation is not an issue in this case. In the circumstances of this case, considering the factors germane to quantifying a general damage award set out at paragraph 46 of Kalbfleisch v. Carillo (2002), 44 C.H.R.R. D/163 (Ont. Bd. of Inquiry)and considering that the Respondent takes the Complainant as he finds her, someone who may be more adversely affected than others in a similar situation, the Tribunal finds that an appropriate award of general damages is the sum of $4,000.00. The Complainant is also entitled to the return of the sum of $600.00 paid to the Respondent.