A dispute about whether banks can pull mortgages from cannabis users is heading to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Western Standard reports. The dispute stems from a 2010 recall of a mortgage by Scotiabank from a homeowner with a federal license to cultivate cannabis.
The bank had told the homeowner that it “does not allow marijuana in their communities” and that it “was very concerned about the environmental issues within residences where cannabis was grown” and that “growing marijuana at a mortgaged home was prohibited by bank policy,” the report says.
Edward Lustig, an adjudicator with the Tribunal, wrote that the bank “engaged in a discriminatory practice contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act” by treating the homeowners “in an adverse differential manner in the provision of services customarily available to the general public.”
The Canadian Human Rights Commission has twice rejected the homeowner’s complaint and it has been sent to a federal judge three times. In 2019, Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes wrote that “for reasons that have not been expressed it is apparent the Human Rights Commission does not like this complaint and wants to be rid of it.”
“In my view, the Commission has shown itself to be unfit to resolve this matter such that the court must now direct it to act,” he wrote.
The bank has defended its position, saying that the only way they would finance the property would be “if it was completely remediated” and that the ban on financing cannabis-related properties “is very clear” in the bank’s policies.
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