For those of you following the Condominium Act, 1998, review process, a copy of the stage two report is now available from the Ministry. As you may recall, stage one involved the public and the issues they had with the current legislation. Stage two involved people working and living in condominiums, including lawyers, accountants, engineers, property managers and owners. Stage two focused on five key areas of reform: property management, consumer protection, dispute resolution, finances, and governance. While there were over 200 recommendations made, the most significant are:
– the creation of a condo office to oversee dispute resolution, manager licensing, and a registry.
– licensing of condominium managers, which would include background checks, course work, and exams.
– increased qualifications for directors, including a code of ethics and mandatory training for first-time directors.
– a new dispute resolution office empowered to make quick decisions on condominium disputes between owners and condominiums.
– additional requirements for the financial management of condominiums, including increased disclosure of financial matters, changes to the thresholds for changes to the common elements without notice to the owners (up from 1%/$1,000.00 to 3%/$3,000.00), and allowing condominiums to use the reserve fund for improvements required by law (i.e. accessibility).
From my perspective, the two most significant proposals are the licensing of managers and the dispute resolution office. These changes will drastically change the condominium industry in Ontario. It will be interesting to see how things unfold.