Now that the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs has concluded its public hearings and shifts to a line-by-line review of Bill 106 (of which Schedule 2 contains the proposed Condominium Management Services Act, 2015), we hasten to finish our review of the proposed CMSA.

As reported in a previous instalment, obtaining and holding a license is just the first hurdle for condo managers and management providers and is the first round of protection for condo corporations and unit owners.  The CMSA creates a number of new obligations that go a long way to addressing some of the long-standing complaints about condo managers and many common problems.  In this piece, we will summarize the major new obligations for licensees that this bill will create. Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 7: New Obligations

Though most condo management firms carry on honourable businesses that well-serve their clients (often under the direct leadership of their top brass who are personally involved in the operations and take ownership of problems), some firms demonstrate little or no commitment to accountability and transparency, whether in their operations or their ownership structure.  The CMSA throws open the curtains by requiring condo management providers to disclose significant information about themselves, their backers and to put forth a specific individual with whom the buck stops.

Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 6: Transparency and Accountability

In our last piece, we reviewed the threshold for being granted a license as a condo manager or management services provider.  Let’s now explore whether skirting those requirements is possible.

Can someone manage condominiums without a license?

Not legally. Section 34 of the CMSA prohibits unlicensed practice as a condo manager, as follows: Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 5: Restricted Practice

Before continuing our exploration of the CMSA, we thank our friends at the Ministry for pointing out that we had misnamed the CMSA in our earlier pieces as Condominium Management Standards Act when the correct name is Condominium Management Services Act.   We have corrected the title and text of the earlier pieces accordingly.

In this fourth part of our review of the CMSA, we review the threshold for being granted a license as a condominium manager or a management services provider. Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 4: Threshold

Having set the historical context in part 1 and part 2 of this series, we turn to Bill 106 and the scope of the proposed new CMSA.

What Bill 106 brings

Bill 106 (the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015) was introduced in the Ontario legislature on May 27, 2015.  Schedule 2 of Bill 106 contains the proposed Condominium Management Services Standards Act, 2015 (let’s call it “CMSA”) which will be a completely separate statute from the Condominium Act, 1998.

For clarity, keep in mind that Schedule 1 of Bill 106 contains a myriad of amendments to the existing Condominium Act, 1998.  Because the existing Condo Act will retain its current name, it is technically incorrect to say that we are getting a “new Condo Act.”  Our existing Condo Act is merely getting a whole bunch of minor changes, and we will tackle some of those changes in subsequent pieces.

For now, let’s focus on the CMSA in more detail, beginning with what it covers. Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 3: Scope

In this second instalment of our close examination of the proposed new Condominium Management Standards Services Act, 2015, we look at the steps taken by the condo managers themselves to improve standards, forming the genesis of a true self-regulated profession and paving the way for Bill 106 to take root.

Early steps to raise the bar

While condo owners and directors have called for improved standards during the Ontario government’s Condo Act review process since 2012, the loudest and longest call for educated, licensed and regulated condo managers has come from the condo managers themselves.  Their association has been leading by example. Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 2: Early Steps

Condo manager licensing and regulation is the focus of our first in-depth examination of the changes proposed in Bill 106 (Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015). This is a natural choice considering that manager licensing and regulation constitutes the largest change in our condominium law since 1967, in terms of how condominiums in Ontario are operated, the credentials of the people who operate them and the protections afforded to unit owners.

Of all of the proposed changes set out in Bill 106, none are nearly as profound or as desperately-needed as establishing mandatory qualifications, licensing and regulation for condo managers.

This post kicks off the first of a multi-part series.  We start with the current state of affairs in condominium management and why the time has come for substantial change.

Continue Reading Introducing the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 — Part 1: Context

The Province of Ontario has rolled out proposed new legislation to reform the existing Condominium Act, 1998 and establish mandatory licensing and regulation of condo managers.

Following a careful review and elaborate public consultation process from 2012 to 2014, the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 was introduced in the legislature on May 27, 2015 as Bill 106.  It was given and passed first reading that day.

Bill 106 contains various proposed amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998 and includes the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015, a proposed new standalone statute to regulate condo management services.  The government announced its commitment to implement manager licensing and regulation in July 2013, following a string of significant frauds by managers and complaints from condo owners.

The status and full text of the Bill is available on the legislature’s website here.

The Ministry has announced that Bill 106 is intended to address several key points, such as:

  • Improving governance, operations and financial management provisions;
  • Training for condo directors;
  • Enhancing communication to unit owners;
  • Establishing a Condominium Authority to provide information and streamlined dispute resolution services for certain topics;
  • Mandating licensing and education for condominium managers;
  • Expanding Tarion warranty coverage to conversion buildings;
  • Prohibiting certain developer practices like delaying or downloading hidden costs;
  • Increasing and improving disclosure to purchasers about condo living, operations and increased costs after closing;

and more.

Keep in mind that after first and second reading, Bill 106 will be referred to a Standing Committee of the Legislature in order to enable legislators to hear and consider submissions from stakeholders with respect to further revisions.  So there is still plenty of work to be done.

After being involved throughout the entire consultation process, including the working groups, expert panel and technical meetings leading to its introduction, GMA lawyers are now closely reviewing the bill.  We will continue to pursue the extensive, constructive input that we provided at earlier stages and offer further help to improve the bill.  Bob Gardiner had suggested over 100 improvements to the existing Act when he co-drafted the Legislative Brief provided by the Canadian Condominium Institute (Ontario) and ACMO Joint Legislative Committee.  Chris Jaglowitz was deeply involved throughout the review from 2012 to 2014 and will continue that work throughout the legislative process, in concert with other organizations and by speaking in the media.  Following his attendance at the minister’s announcement last week, Chris was quoted in the Toronto Star and interviewed on CBC radio.

We will keep you informed as major developments arise and will provide further analysis in the coming days.  Meanwhile, be sure to review the bill and gather your questions, comments and suggestions and be ready to share them. Together, we can take this opportunity to make significant and lasting improvements to our condo law.

Because we see many of the concepts raised by owners and other stakeholders being addressed in the new bill, we extend congratulations and thanks to the Ministry personnel for undertaking a broad yet detailed public consultation and for preparing what appears to be a thorough and thoughtful bill.

Condo directors in Ontario are expected to exercise a certain degree of attentiveness, caution and prudence while carrying out their duties. This expectation is known as the “standard of care” and is set out in section 37(1) of the Condominium Act, 1998, which provides:

37.  (1)  Every director and every officer of a corporation in exercising the powers and discharging the duties of office shall,

(a) act honestly and in good faith; and

(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.

While the wording of this standard of care seems pretty simple, some directors don’t entirely understand what it means.  A recent Superior Court case illustrates that some directors don’t understand it at all, or don’t care. Continue Reading A reasonably prudent director

We published a piece last May recommending that condominium corporations enact policies to collect common expenses in an orderly, systematic way. Unfortunately, we continue to see condo boards deliberately delaying the commencement of power of sale proceedings on liened units. Such delay brings added cost, wasted board time, greater hardship on unit owners in trouble and cash flow disruptions.

Aside from poorly-informed boards of self-managed condos, a major cause of problem collections is management agreements requiring the board to instruct management to commence power of sale proceedings on liened units. Whatever the reason behind such clauses, none is compelling and the concept is hopelessly flawed. We say: Continue Reading Common expense collections policy redux