The Condominium Authority Tribunal, Ontario’s first and only online adjudication body, celebrated its first anniversary on November 1, 2018.

Envisioned as a one-stop shop of expert mediators and adjudicators helping condo boards and unit owners resolve condo disputes across Ontario, all entirely online, the CAT began accepting cases in November 2017. CAT’s initial jurisdiction is presently limited to condo records, which isn’t sexy but is important to unit owners struggling to access important records from their condo corporation. It’s also important for managers and boards to have clarity as to when records should not be produced, to protect the corporation and its owners.

From May to August 2018, the CAT released its first 8 decisions, covering a variety of scenarios. We will summarize those first 8 cases then offer a few lessons and predictions.
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There’s no sugar-coating it. The new prescribed forms under the amended Condo Act regulations are generally terrible.

After spending more than 95 days working with these new forms and counselling and consoling condo owners, directors, managers across Ontario, we present this compilation of observations and suggestions. They are mostly critical but intended to be constructive. More ideas will likely flow from an ACMO educational luncheon next week entitled “Condo ConFORMity – coping with the new prescribed forms” featuring GMA associate Andrea Lusk and condo managers Babak Ardalan and Jason Riddle. This may be the condo manager educational event of the year. A cash bar is available but expected to be very busy with commiserating condo managers and lawyers.


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It’s customary in late December to ponder resolutions for the coming year, especially for the young and idealistic. We’re neither, but we offer the following 7 suggested resolutions for the new Condominium Authority of Ontario. CAO launched only four months ago as the tip of the first big batch of major condo law regulatory changes in over 15 years and aims to be the go-to condo resource.

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A recent small claims court decision signals the end of condo management firms preparing, registering and discharging condominium liens in-house.

Page v. Maple Ridge Community Management Ltd., 2017 CanLII 21772 began when a unit owner at YCC 34 failed to pay a special assessment in time. YCC 34’s management firm, Maple Ridge, used its in-house paralegal employee to issue Ms. Page a Notice of Lien (Form 14) and, when no payment was made within the 10-day notice period, to register a certificate of lien against the unit.

Ms. Page discovered that the paralegal employee was administratively suspended by the Law Society at the time the lien was registered, presumably for failing to pay annual dues or file obligatory paperwork.  Ms. Page paid “under protest” the special assessment arrears of $767 and the management firm’s demanded fees of $141 to issue the Form 14 notice and $678 to prepare, register and discharge the certificate of lien. The management firm’s total charges for the lien work were $819.
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It is well known that condominiums owe a duty to accommodate persons with disabilities.  It is less clear, however, what constitutes adequate proof of a disability. Ambiguous medical notes containing no meaningful details are often the only documentation given to condo boards and managers, who must decide whether the legal threshold for disability is met.

Thankfully, the Ontario Human Rights Commission recently clarified this issue.  On February 1, 2017, it released a new policy statement on medical documentation to be provided when disability-related accommodation requests are made.
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New year 2016Happy 2017! Here’s our recap of some of the most notable condo law cases from the year gone by.

#10 – Cheung v. York Region CC 759, 2016 ONSC 4236

Many condominiums have insufficient parking for occupants and guests, requiring the board to allocate available common element parking spaces in a way that balances various competing interests and respects local zoning bylaws. In this case, the condo corporation enacted a bylaw which leased 4 common element parking spots to each unit owner to distribute parking more equitably than “first come, first served.” The bylaw was challenged by a unit owner whose tenant operated a popular restaurant requiring much more parking than was allocated. The owner argued that the bylaw was unlawful and oppressive but the court disagreed, upheld the bylaw as valid and found that the unit owner’s expectation to monopolize most or all of the parking for the restaurant was arguably oppressive.


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We used to regularly post blog entries featuring our most recent Condo Alert! newsletters but lost track a couple years ago.

This is an unforgivable oversight and we apologize to our faithful readers and especially to our associate Andrea Lusk, who has cranked out our newsletter for the past 8 years.  Condo Alert! is a visually appealing, high-quality newsletter that has become an “essential reading” item distributed in hardcopy at condo manager luncheons and educational conferences throughout Southern Ontario since 2008.

In response to popular demand, here’s a listing of our previously-unreported back-issues, with links to pdf versions for easy download. 
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With the change of season, our focus switches from sunshine and leisure back to the serious business of law reform.

There are plenty of different items presently open for consideration.  Here are the most noteworthy for condominium stakeholders.

Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (Tarion)

In November 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services commenced an independent review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and Tarion Warranty Corporation.  Justice Douglas Cunningham was appointed special advisor to review protections for owners of new homes and identify opportunities to improve consumer protection.

Justice Cunningham issued an interim progress report in late July.  Read the report and send your input on the findings and proposed options presented by October 14, 2016, which will help inform the final recommendations.

It’s noteworthy that Justice Cunningham observes that “condominiums are distinct from other new homes” and that there is consequently a “need for more condominium-specific provisions in the legislation.”  Beyond that, the report is vague on these concepts, but remember that changes to the Tarion Act are mandated as part of the amended Condominium Act.
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April 13, 2016 was International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia, Transphobia, and Transmisogyny, better known as the “International Day of Pink.” A recent Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decision demonstrates that condo boards must apply the Day of Pink concepts every day of the year.

In Welykyi v. Rouge Valley Co-operative Homes Inc., the Tribunal chastised a co-operative housing corporation for not responding seriously, swiftly or effectively to a series of nasty, discriminatory and offensive messages against specific residents distributed by unknown perpetrators. The 10 affected residents each made a human rights complaint to the Tribunal that were heard together and addressed in a single decision.
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