Free Speech Restrictions

July 2024

In a single-family home, owners can do what they want when it comes to how the home looks.  They can paint it any colour, display holiday decorations all year, play music so loud it is heard on the street or use bright lights that disturb neighbours.  Condominium living places restrictions on these activities to maintain peaceful enjoyment and maintain property values.  Is there a point where individual rights of speech or expression are unreasonably restrained?

When accepting community or condominium living, one agrees to give up some rights.  There is a clear distinction between what is done in a unit and what can be seen, heard, smelled or impact on other units or common areas.  Clearly stated community standards are to be maintained by all residents.

The Canadian Charter or Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to freedom of speech … to a point.  Condo boards will enact rules that prohibit lawn and window signs from being placed by owners.  Condominiums are private property and owners voluntarily purchase their unit subject to governing document restrictions.

The National Flag of Canada Act was created to encourage Canadians to proudly display the National Flag of Canada in accordance with flag protocol.  Any condominium corporation or other multi-residence community prohibiting flying of the Canadian flag is prohibited.

A condominium corporation can enact rules governing display of the Canadian flag on condominium property.  Allowable rules include:

  • Limits on size of the flag and number of flags displayed;
  • Designating where flags can be displayed on the property;
  • Requiring faded and tattered flags be removed; and
  • Requiring that flags comply with flag protocol etiquette and rules.

The Act does not convey a right to display flags of other countries, or sports banners and logos.