By Dan Kelly, President CCI NWO
As incoming President of your chapter I am pleased to report that the Ontario government unanimously carried the Protecting Condominium Owners Act on October 7, 2015 in its second of three readings, with the qualified support of the opposition parties. The provincial legislature referred Bill 106, as it is known, to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. If passed into law, the bill will update the Condominium Act, introduce the Condominium Management Services Act and amend other legislation including the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.
MPPs from all parties welcomed many of Bill 106’s proposed consumer protection measures, such as introducing an easy-to-read condo guide, standardizing disclosure statements and preventing surprise increases to fees. Other well-received features of the draft legislation included basic education for directors and condo manager licensing.
One of the most important parts of the bill is the proposed legislation’s condo authority.
The condo authority would maintain a registry of the province’s condo corporations as well as deliver education and dispute resolution services. The Ontario government would fund its start-up costs, and its operating costs would be funded through a
combination of user fees and a levy on condo owners of roughly $1 per unit per month.
It is expected that the condominium authority tribunal will be a fast, cheap alternative to the courts with the potential to divert around 75 per cent of cases from costly litigation, mediation and arbitration.
Some of the issues raised by the opposition parties included a desire to reform Tarion and concerns about adding new layers of bureaucracy and red tape in the form of not only the condominium authority but also the condo manager licensing authority.
The proposed legislation touches five key areas: consumer protection, dispute resolution, governance, condo management and finance. Its reforms are based on more than 200 recommendations to come out of a three- stage public consultation spanning 18 months.
After committee stage, where members may hold public hearings and consider revisions, the bill will be reported back to the provincial legislature for third reading and put to a final vote. For now, the current Condominium Act remains in effect.
Regarding Ontario’s new Condominium Act. I am told that this legislation is still in progress through readings, revisions and votes. The expectation for it becoming law is sometime late this year.
As you are aware the changes to condominium operations are expected to be extensive. That is why CCI provincially and our N. W. O. Chapter are already talking about education programs to help inform members of the requirements.
You are encouraged to watch for our advertising of seminars relating specifically to the new Act and to plan on attending.
Speaking of seminars, elsewhere in this newsletter you will see our ad for the Spring, 2016 Seminar aimed at the role of the Board of Directors. This is a highly relevant topic for anyone on a Board or planning to take on such a position. We think this session is very important to the extent that we are pleased to bring in an expert in the field of Ontario Condominiums to lead the discussion.
Our guest speaker, Mr. Armand Conant, B.Eng, LL.B, D.E.S.S has extensive experience as a lawyer serving condominiumcorporations and as a CCI National executive member for many years.
Again, in the theme of education, I was pleased to attend the National Leadership Forum in October representing our N. W. O. Chapter with Past President Doug Shanks. As a founding member of the N.W.O. Chapter I have been involved on our executive for many years but I had no previous exposure to the national level. I was overwhelmed by the size and scope of the operations and programs undertaken at National. This is a much larger organization than I had imagined. And, of course, to properly manage it takes a very talented and dedicated group of committee members.
Another point that needs mentioning was the recognition by the National Chapter Liaison of our newsletter. Based on our annual report submission it was referred to as a high quality document and an excellent representation of our Chapter. Although Administrator Lorie and others work to produce it twice a year, our hats to off to Committee Chair Bob Matchett for organizing the group to achieve such a great product.
Thanks again to Bob and all the other members of our executive who volunteer their time and talents to assist owners, investors, suppliers and developers in dealing with all issues relating to condominiums.
Hope to see you at the seminar on April 23.
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