Implementing Bill 160 Condominium Authority of Ontario (COA)
The condominium industry will be undergoing significant changes in the next few weeks. On Dec. 3, 2015, the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, also known as Bill 106, received royal assent by the Ontario Legislature. Bill 106 is important because it marked the first overhaul of the province’s condominium law in over 16 years. When it comes into force It will:
amend significant parts of the Condominium Act,1998 (the Condo Act);
enact the Condominium Management Services Act (the CMSA);
make amendments to other relevant acts, including the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.
Many important aspects of the reforms are being implemented through regulations, some of which have been released. Many of the changes to the Condo Act will come into force on Nov. 1, 2017. This includes those provisions dealing with the new dispute resolution tribunal, but will also likely include any provision addressed by the regulations released so far. The licensing provisions of the CMSA will also come into force. Importantly, Bill 106 also creates two new administrative authorities: the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) and the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO).
The CAO was designated on Sept. 1, 2017, and is responsible for the administration of certain parts of the Condo Act.
Currently, there are no educational requirements to become a director of a condominium board. This is changing. The CAO will implement mandatory training for condo directors to ensure smoother operation of condo corporations. The CAO’s website provides information and training about: rights and responsibilities of condo owners; the roles and responsibilities of the board of directors and condo management; and changes to the Condo Act. Information is also available about common issues and disputes that arise in the condominium communities to assist owners and corporations in proactively resolving issues.
The CAO provides services and resources for condo corporations and condo owners. These include:
information to help owners and residents understand their rights and responsibilities;
mandatory training for condo directors;
resources to help condo owners and residents resolve common issues; and
dispute resolution services through the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT).
Starting on Nov. 1, 2017, the CAT will offer a new, online dispute resolution process. The CAT can only adjudicate the types of disputes identified in the regulations. Currently the only types of disputes identified are disputes about records (Section 55 of the Condo Act), but the CAT’s scope is expected to expand in the near future. Certain disputes are excluded from the jurisdiction of the CAT, including: disputes involving Part III of the Condo Act (ownership); liens; and the determination of title to real property. Where the CAT does have jurisdiction, it will have exclusive jurisdiction to exercise its powers. Appeals on questions of law will go to the Divisional Court.
It is expected that in early 2018 the CAO will also provide a publicly available, searchable, online registry of all condominium corporations in the province. In order to fund its services, the CAO will charge user fees and monthly fees to condo owners (currently $1 per voting unit). This fee will be payable through the condo corporation. All condominium corporations in Ontario are required to register with the CAO and pay their initial assessment fees by Dec. 31, 2017. The initial assessment fees will cover the period from Sept. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.
On Nov. 1, 2017, the CMRAO will be designated as the condo management authority. The CMRAO will be responsible for administering the CMSA, including regulating and licensing managers.
The CMRAO will be responsible for administering the CMSA, including:
a compulsory licensing system for condominium managers and condominium management providers; training, education and other requirements for condominium management licences;
a code of ethics;
regulation of the conduct of licensees; and
the handling of complaints about condominium management services.
Currently, Ontario has no minimum requirements for condominium property management companies or property managers. This will change on Nov. 1, 2017. Individuals and companies who provide condominium management services on or after that date will need to apply for a licence. As of Jan. 30, 2018, it will be illegal for any person or firm to provide condominium management services unless they have applied for or hold a condominium management licence. Illegal condominium management practice may jeopardize future licence applications.
Over the next few weeks, the condo industry will be adjusting to the new regulatory regime, including mandatory training, licensing and new dispute resolution systems. Even when these changes are made, Bill 106 will not be fully implemented. More changes will be coming as new regulations, guides and forms are released.
Laura McKeen is a partner with Cohen Highley LLPin London, Ont. Cohen Highley has offices in London, Kitchener, Chatham and Sarnia. She provides risk management and regulatory compliance advice to housing providers and property management companies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 519-672-9330 x 427. https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/realestate/articles/4919/implementing-bill-106-big-shake-up-for-the-condominium-industry-?nl_pk=d95c6284-5ba7-4473-8d78-cd2edd904169&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=realestate