With Canada Day just around the corner and important festivities expected to take place next year for the 150th anniversary of the Confederation, Canadian flags will start popping up everywhere and condominium corporations may be faced with situations where owners wish to display a flag in their windows or on their balcony. Many corporations already have rules preventing the display or hanging of anything from balconies, the erection of any structure in the exclusive-use yard or establishing restrictions as to the colour of draperies or blinds visible from the outside.
The question then is whether a condominium corporation can prohibit residents from displaying the Canadian flag in the units or on exclusive use common elements.
The National Flag of Canada Act provides that:
Every person who is in control of an apartment building, a condominium building or building in divided co-ownership or another multiple-residence building or a gated community is encouraged to allow the National Flag of Canada to be displayed in accordance with flag protocol.
Interestingly, the Act does not prohibit condominium corporations from preventing the display of the Canadian flag, but instead encourage condominium corporations to allow it.
The best way for condominium corporations to deal with this question is to adopt a rule governing the display of our national flag. A rule completely prohibiting the display of the flag could not only be found to be unreasonable under section 58 of the Condominium Act, but could also be contrary to the intent of the federal legislation.
A rule providing some guidelines such as the timeframe during which the flag can be displayed (as an example only, from June 15th to July 15th) as well as the size and location allowed would be more appropriate. The National Flag of Canada Act already provides some guidance by encouraging the display of the flag in accordance with flag protocol. Adopting a rule which incorporates some elements of the protocol could provide corporations with the required tools to ensure that the our flag is displayed with pride but, more importantly, with taste. Corporations should consider hiring legal counsel before adopting such a rule.
Happy Canada Day!