The Ontario Legislature passed Bill 212, the Good Government Act, 2009 on December 3, 2009. The bill received Royal Assent with very little fanfare on December 15, 2009 and is now law.
This omnibus bill is intended to modernize statutes by correcting errors and plugging loopholes. It also does the following things:
- makes minor amendments to almost every Ontario statute, mostly by updating language and terminology
- repeals a few outdated or ineffective statutes
- makes significant improvements to the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and the Municipal Elections Act
- legalizes the until-recently covert process of conducting criminal records checks on jurors
- replaces the old Public Inquiries Act with a new one
The bill also makes three minor amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 and a few small consequential changes to related statutes. Here is a brief description of the changes:
Qualifications of Directors
Clause 29 (1) (c) of the Condominium Act, 1998 is amended by striking out "a mentally incompetent person" and replacing that with "incapable of managing property within the meaning of the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992".
Clause 29 (2) (a) is amended by striking out "a mentally incompetent person" and replacing that with "incapable of managing property within the meaning of the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992".
The words “mentally incompetent” are being phased out of all Ontario legislation in favour of the more precise definition provided in section 6 of the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, as follows:
Incapacity to manage property
6. A person is incapable of managing property if the person is not able to understand information that is relevant to making a decision in the management of his or her property, or is not able to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision or lack of decision.
The Substitute Decisions Act also provides for a court to order a person to be assessed and for a guardian to be appointed to administer an incapable person’s property.
Powers of an Inspector
With the repeal and replacement of the Public Inquiries Act, subsection 130 (3) of the Condominium Act, 1998 is repealed and replaced. Here’s the original s. 130(3):
Powers of inspector
(3) The inspector shall have the powers of a commission under Part II of the Public Inquiries Act that the order states and when the inspector exercises those powers, that Part applies to the inspector’s investigation or audit as if it were an inquiry under that Act.
And here is the new one, to come into force on a day to be proclaimed:
Application of Public Inquiries Act, 2009
(3) Those provisions of section 33 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009 that the order states apply to the inspector’s investigation or audit.
While this new wording may appear to reduce the clarity of the earlier wording as to an inspector’s powers, the new wording still allows a court to pick and choose the powers granted to an inspector and also the protections afforded to witnesses that give evidence during the course of the inspector’s investigation or audit.
As always, great care must be exercised in drafting the court order appointing an inspector. A poorly-drafted order may leave the inspector with insufficient power to complete the assigned duty and witnesses lacking the maximum protection from reprisal by employers or others for making representations or giving evidence in an inquiry.
Creation of Common Elements Condo Corporations
For the creation of common elements condominium corporations, the following minor amendment clarifies the reference to the now-repealed Certification of Titles Act:
Subclause 139 (1) (a) (iii) of the Condominium Act, 1998 is amended by adding "as that Act read immediately before subsection 2 (1) of Schedule 17 to the Good Government Act, 2009 came into force" after "the Certification of Titles Act".
This amendment, which is now effective, has no bearing on existing common elements condominiums.
Reference in other statutes
Both the Land Titles Act and the Registry Act are amended by striking out "the Condominium Act" wherever it appears and substituting "the Condominium Act, 1998 or a predecessor of that Act". Other minor modifications are made as to the powers of the Director of Titles and in respect of registering a condominium declaration on title to certain lands.
Check it out
Most of the amendments described above came into force on December 15, 2009 when the bill received Royal Assent. The changes related to the Public Inquiries Act will come into force on a day to be proclaimed.
The most current version of the Condo Act and any Ontario statute can always found on the government’s e-Laws website. Because of the vast number of statutes amended by Bill 212, however, it will likely take a few more days until all statutes are updated.