Like most people attending PM Expo Springfest at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on April 28, I was a little surprised by the strong police presence both outside and inside the facility. It turns out that the extra security was for the Barrick Gold shareholders’ meeting taking place that morning in the conference hall next to ours.

Anyhow, there was an excellent turnout of over 1,500 property managers and condo directors, all of whom probably felt much safer knowing that this huge police detachment could probably protect us from any unhappy condo unit owners ready to riot over the carpet pattern chosen for the corridor refurbishment project in their buildings.

I was lucky to sit on an all-star panel sponsored by CCI-Toronto to talk about “What’s Right and What Needs Improvement in the World of Condos” from the perspectives of four different segments of the condo industry. Here’s a recap of some key takeaway points from the speakers:

 The property manager: Dean McCabe, Regional Manager at Brookfield Residential

  • Social media can enhance communication and transparency at your condo
  • Condo concierges must now comply with security guard regulations
  • Revision to Toronto waste levy may allow for better price comparison with private providers 
  • Hiring staff vs. contractors: pros and cons to each

The lawyer: Chris Jaglowitz, Lawyer at Gardiner Miller Arnold

  • Proposed changes to Tarion claim process includes new time limits and monetary caps
  • Workplace violence and harassment law comes into force June 15, 2010. Get ready!

The engineer: Sally Thompson, Group Leader at Halsall Associates

  • The real impact of HST: Average 5% increase for reserve fund, about 5-7% for operating
  • Consider including copper pipes as a deficiency item in condo performance audits

The insurance broker: Mark Shedden, VP at Atrens-Counsel Insurance Brokers:

  • Past year was bad for claims and capacity – Premiums/deductibles are on the rise
  • $2,500 is now standard deductible for most claims. $5K on the horizon
  • $75,000 deductible for water claims in large buildings now coming to the scene
  • Look into “condo providers liability insurance” as a low cost way to cover off potential risks from social events or activities

A PDF copy of our entire PowerPoint presentation is available for download here.

Cheers to Pam Boyce at Brookfield for moderating this panel and thanks to everyone who came to our presentation.   If you weren’t able to join us, make it a point to attend PM Expo on December 1-3, 2010 and plan to visit Springfest next year!