We all know that Bill 106 (the Act amending Ontario’s Condominium Act and other related legislation) was adopted and received Royal Assent in December 2015. It did so after the required three readings before the Legislative Assembly and after having been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. There, Ontarians and stakeholders were permitted to make submissions to improve the Bill. The Committee heard no less than 26 interveners, including the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario, the Canadian Condominium Institute, the Ontario Home Builder’s Association, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants of Ontario and many more individuals and professionals.
Unsurprisingly, not many amendments were made to the Bill at the Committee level. This is due, in great part, to the fact that most of the consultation work took place before Bill 106 was even drafted. The following are some of the few modifications made to Bill 106 by the Committee before it was enacted into law.
Limits to the jurisdiction of the Condominium Tribunal
A new Condominium Authority Tribunal is to be created to adjudicate many of the disputes between corporations, owners, occupiers and mortgagees (but not disputes involving declarants and property managers). We already blogged on what this Tribunal is expected to do. This Tribunal was initially granted the authority to direct “whatever reliefs the Tribunal considered fair in the circumstances”. This provided the tribunal with tremendous powers.
Following the work of the Committee, an amendment was passed specifically preventing the Tribunal from ordering that a person be permanently evicted from a condominium (for instance, in cases of serious breaches of the Act or of the governing documents). Only a judge of the Superior Court of Justice will have the authority to order such an eviction.
Limits on when an occupant can be evicted
Until only a few years ago, orders forcing owners to sell and leave were nearly unheard of. Since then, there have been an increasing number of eviction cases under section 117 (prohibition against dangerous activities) and under section 134 (compliance orders).
Amendments were proposed by the Committee to restrict circumstances under which such evictions could be ordered. Under the revised version of the Condominium Act, courts (and not the Condominium Authority Tribunal) will only be able to order a permanent eviction if:
- A person poses a serious risk to the health and safety of individuals or poses a serious risk of damage to the property of the corporation;
- If the person is found to be unsuited for the communal occupation/use of the property and no other order will be adequate to enforce compliance.
This addition under section 135 of the current Act further confirms that such recourse must be one of last resort.
As importantly, the Committee proposed changes to ensure that a person who is a landlord not be authorized to apply for the eviction of their tenant under these provisions of the Condominium Act. The eviction of a tenant by a landlord must continue to be regulated by the Residential Tenancies Act.
Limitations on managers’ solicitation for proxies
The final amendment proposed by the Committee covered in this blog actually proposed a change to the newCondominium Management Service Act. This is the new legislation regulating condominium managers.
Following recommendations of the Committee, this new legislation will not permit a condominium manager to solicita proxy for a meeting of owners where the subject matter of the meeting includes the removal or the election of directors or if the meeting includes any matter directly related to the manager.
This amendment was said to be intended to prevent managers from using proxies to try to influence a vote to their benefit and to ensure a fair voting process. The Committee was asked to go further and prevent board candidates, directors, managers and their families from having anything to do with proxies (including preventing them from soliciting, reviewing and storing proxies) but the Committee did not go this far.
More work ahead
The response during the work of the Committee was tremendous and demonstrated a high level of passion and interest in the Condominium Act. While the work of the Committee did not lead to many changes to Bill 106, some of the concerns raised by the various participants may still be addressed in the regulations being worked on under the Act. Only time will tell.