The province is seeking your input on proposed changes to the Condo Act which would make it easier to install and access electric vehicle charging stations in existing condos. While the province has not circulated actual proposed language, it provides a “plain language” summary of what proposed changes could look like and asks for your opinion. Have a look. Now is the time to prepare the future.

The challenge of electric cars in condos

Electric cars are no longer a dream of the future or the works of science fiction. Mainstream car manufacturers are offering an increasing number of options from hybrid cars to fully electrical ones. These present significant savings for the owners and are much friendlier to the environment. And while it would be hard to find someone actually opposed to electric cars, the arrival in the condo world can create challenges. In fact, the media have already reported various stories of “friction” between environmental conscious owners and boards of directors. I was interviewed by CBC on this no to long ago.

Sometimes, the problem results from owners not fully understanding what they own (Do they own the actual parking spot? Do they own the electric outlet near it?) and at other times the problems have more to do with who is going to pay for the electricity being used and whether the corporation’s grid can accommodate an increasing demand.

In the context of the province’s sweeping changes to the Condo Act it is now proposing changes which would make it easier to install and access charging stations. But how to fairly do this in cases where the parking spots are comprised of shared common elements or in cases where installing a charging station would require changes to common elements?

What is being proposed 

In recent consultation, the province had provided draft language of proposed legislation or regulation. In this case, the consultation seems to be sought earlier in the process. The province appears to be contemplating possible changes along the following lines:

  1. The possibility of lowering to 50% the required owners support when a change is required to the Declaration to accommodate a parking spot swamp between owners to facilitate access to a charging station;
  2. The possible elimination of the requirement to provide certain notice and seek owner approval when changes are required to common elements, assets of the corporation or services provided by the corporation to accommodate a charging station. These changes would facilitate the process behind section 97 and 98 changes to common elements;
  3. Possibly imposing on a corporation the obligation to install charging stations at the request of owners when certain conditions are met such as:
    • The installation complies with applicable safety requirements and codes;
    • The equipment is installed by a licensed electrical contractor;
    • The owner assumes the installation, electrical and modifications costs;
    • The owner assumes the cost of carrying insurance and undertakes to indemnify the corporation as required;
    • The requirement for a condo owner to obtain and pay for an electrical capacity audit if needed and if directed by the corporation….
  4. The possibility of using reserve fund monies to pay for electrical capacity upgrades to support charging equipment;
  5. The possibility of imposing on corporation the installation of a minimum of two Level-2 charging stations (using 240 volts systems) upon the written request of at least 5 units or 5% of the units.

The province’s “plain language” proposition is far more details and really requires a careful review by those interested.

Consultation process

The province is inviting your input and comments by January 2, 2018. You can provide your comments by mail at 56 Wellesley st. West, 6th floor, Toronto, M7A 1C1 or by email. Make sure to quote Proposal Number 17-MGCS021. The province is also inviting your comments on this topic via a survey.