By royal proclamation dated April 13, 2011, the Ontario Government announced that the Public Inquiries Act, 2009 will come into force on June 1, 2011. This act was one of the many hundreds of relatively minor legislative initiatives rolled into the behemoth omnibus bill known as the Good Government Act, 2009, parts of which have been coming into force since January 2010.
With the coming into force of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009, more than 50 Ontario statues will be slightly amended to make reference to this new act and delete references to the old act. Among those affected statutes is the Condominium Act, 1998, where amendments in relation to the powers of an inspector in section 130 will come into force on June 1 this year. We reported on these specific changes to the Condo Act in an entry dated December 21, 2009 under the heading “Powers of an Inspector.”
The transitional details are simple enough. Section 32 of the new Public Inquiries Act, 2009 provides that inquiries commenced under the prior Act will continue to be governed by that prior Act. Inquiries commenced (or condominium inspectors appointed) on or after June 1, 2011 will be subject to the Public Inquiries Act, 2009.
The appointment of a condominium inspector is rare, but we know that one is currently working at MTCC 710 in Toronto. This was a problem condo we reported about in April 2010, when an application to appoint an administrator was pending and later granted by the Superior Court under section 131 of the Condo Act. That administrator subsequently applied for and was given an appointment as an inspector under section 130 of the Condo Act in an unreported decision dated January 5, 2011. One would presume that the administrator required the powers of an inspector to investigate possible irregularities in the finances or records of that condominium or gather information needed to properly administer that condo’s affairs.
Because of the extraordinary high cost of appointing someone as an administrator or inspector and then the cost of that person fulfilling their mandate, appointments under sections 130 and 131 are best reserved for the most dire situations as a final option or where the amounts at issue are extremely large. Even where the need is great or the cost is justified, the sad fact is that these appointments are no more than a reactive measure to try and fix a situation that has gone horribly wrong and which has probably arisen because adequate preventative measures and vigilant oversight by owners and auditors did not exist or have failed.
If an inspector has been or is sought to be appointed at your condominium, your condo is quite probably in serious trouble and you should closely monitor the situation, band together with a group of concerned neighbours and get legal advice.
If you are a prospective purchaser and notice in the condominium status certificate that an inspector has been appointed over the corporation under section 130 or that such an application is pending in court, you may wish to seriously consider your purchase before the deal becomes firm. Run, don’t walk, to your lawyer’s office.