The CAT’s decision in Abou El Naaj v. Peel Standard Condominium Corporation No. 935 reflects a problematic trend of condos failing or refusing to participate in Tribunal proceedings. We do not recommend ignoring a CAT application… Just like real live cats, they don’t go away by simply ignoring them.
We understand why condos might not want to spend the time and money defending a CAT application: we often hear some version of “not wanting to pay to defend a frivolous application from a nuisance unit owner”. And while the fear of a penalty might otherwise compel condos to respond to a CAT Application, it’s important to point out that in Abou El Naaj v. PSCC 935, the Tribunal noted, “the Act does not provide for the assessment of a penalty for failure to participate in a Tribunal proceeding”.
I’ll be the first to say the CAT needs reform. In most cases, owners are self-represented whereas condos turn to their lawyers: all of this comes with a price and it’s usually the condo footing the bill. Despite the burden involved with a CAT application – or any legal proceeding for that matter – the inherent value of the process is that it can bring a resolution. Ignoring or not participating in a proceeding from the outset closes the door on that possibility and it could lead to a worse result for the condo – in some cases, it may embolden difficult owners which only escalates tensions. Think twice before ignoring a CAT application.