As announced in our post of May 27, the province of Ontario finally released its much anticipated proposed amendments to the Condominium Act. If made into law, Bill 106 will serve to amend our 15 year old Condominium Act as well as other legislation pertaining to condominiums in Ontario. For instance, Bill 106 would amend certain portions of the Ontario Building Code and of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Most importantly, this Bill would also result in the adoption of a new piece of legislation which would regulate condominium management.
Bill 106 is a lengthy piece of legislation of approximately 160 pages. As such, it is difficult to ‘summarize’ it. In a series of posts, we propose focusing on some of its highlights, which we view as being of particular interest to our readers. In this installment, we discuss the proposed creation of a new Condominium Authority and of a newCondominium Authority Tribunal.
The Condominium Authority
If Bill 106 is adopted in its present form, the province would create a not-for-profit and self-financed Condominium Authority. The exact mandate and functions of this Authority have yet to be developed through the adoption of regulation, but already, we can expect that this Authority would:
- Provide information and resources to condominium owners and corporations;
- Oversee mandatory training for all condominium directors;
- Oversee the administration of a new Condominium Tribunal (more on this below).
The Condominium Authority Tribunal
Bill 106 would also see to the creation of a Condominium Authority Tribunal. This Tribunal would have jurisdiction to adjudicate many of the disputes between corporations, owners, occupiers and mortgagees. The precise mandate and authority of the Tribunal have yet to be fleshed out in regulation to be adopted by the province. Still, we know already that the Tribunal would have the following powers:
- The power to refer disputes to an alternative dispute resolution process (such as mediation, for instance);
- The power to order compliance with the Condominium Act or the corporation’s governing documents;
- The power to order a party to pay damages as a result of an act of non-compliance, but only up to $25,000. In passing we note that $25,000 is presently the upper limit of the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court;
- The power to order a party to pay legal costs;
- The power to impose a penalty of up to $5,000 to a corporation who has refused without valid reason to allow a person to examine corporate records. The exact amount of the penalty is expected to be set by regulation. Presently, this penalty is limited to $500 only;
- Tremendous power to direct whatever other reliefs the Tribunal considers fair in the circumstances;
- If the Tribunal orders an owner to make a payment to the corporation, this payment could be added to this owner’s common expenses. Similarly, if the Tribunal orders the corporation to make a payment to the owner, the owner would be able to set this payment off against his common expenses – meaning that the owner could deduct from his condo fees whatever the corporation owes him or her. It is to be noted that the proposed Act would provide owners with the power to claim back from corporations actual costs when they are awarded costs or damages in a compliance matter, which is similar to the power corporations presently have against owners when they obtain compliance.
It is interesting to note this new Condominium Authority and new Tribunal are required to be self-financed. Some of the financing is expected to be generated by the users who would be required to pay certain fees. The details of how these new entities would be financed have yet to be hashed out through regulation. The Condominium Authority is also expected to be able to levee fees from all condominium owners. A number that seems to be floating around is the suggestion that condominium owners would pay $1 per unit, per month to finance this Authority. Assuming that there are 700,000 condominium units in Ontario, this would generate approximately $8.4 Million dollars. Just as a point of comparison, the budget for the Landlord and Tenant Board exceeds $30 Million dollars… We may have a far way to go.