Sex offender has a right to live in strata
No one in our strata has been prepared to talk about this issue, but we have found out we have a convicted sex offender living in our townhouse complex. Our strata is predominantly families and seniors.
We think the council knew six months ago and decided not to tell anyone, and now the rumours have started spreading and people in our complex are afraid.
We have two questions. As owners who live in our complex, do we have a right to know about the person, their history and the risks to our residents?
If there is an incident, does our strata council have any liability because it did not tell the owners?
While on the surface, this is not exclusively a strata problem, it is a housing issue, which in B.C. includes the almost half of our housing that is strata titled in some form. Housing for offenders is a complicated problem, as the Charter provides for freedom of mobility for all citizens who have essentially served their sentence.
It’s complicated partly because of limits on available housing, but also because of the proximity of housing to areas that may pose a conflict or violation of the terms of release — for example, schools. Correctional Service Canada makes every effort to determine where offenders will reside after their criminal sentences end, and in virtually all cases, knows the offender’s destination.
The correctional service works in close collaboration with the RCMP and regional police forces to determine what information is released and shared with the public about offenders.
The Crown and police have several tools to protect the public from high-risk violent and sexual offenders. These include orders to provide DNA samples, orders to comply with registration requirements, imposition of probation orders with conditions set by the sentencing court, peace bonds imposing strict conditions on individuals in the community, and orders imposing strict conditions on individuals convicted of offences against children under the age of 16.
Owners need to avoid speculation and gossip and go directly to the source. It doesn’t take much misinformation for a community to become paranoid and panicked.
If your strata has a safety concern, contact your local police immediately. Your strata council has no concerns if you have placed the matter into the hands of your local police.
Many B.C.communities have community police offices that provide daily support and information. As in any emergency situation, if there is an imminent threat to public safety or an incident in progress, call 911.
For more information, go to the Government of Canada website under public safety: publicsafety.gc.ca.
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