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.
Continue Reading

On December 3, 2015, the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (known as Bill 106) received Royal Assent after being passed by the Ontario legislature.

This momentous occasion comes 3 years, 5 months and 25 days after the Ontario Government announced its plan to review the Condominium Act, 1998.

That review process spanned 18 months and received public input at information sessions across the province and thousands of written and online submissions. In addition, the review included a dedicated residents’ panel, five professional working groups on key topics, an expert panel to vet the working group recommendations and various technical teams, all to inform the ministry staff who drafted the legislation. Bill 106 was then introduced in the legislature in May 2015.
Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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