The amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998, will result in much more frequent communications to the owners with valuable information about the condominium. One new source of information is the information certificates: the periodic information certificate (PIC); the information certificate update (ICU); and the new owner information certificate (NOIC). The new certificates became a requirement as of November 1, 2017.
Periodic Information Certificates (PICs)
The periodic information certificate will provide owners with valuable information about the condominium, including:
- General: the directors and officers; the address for service for the condominium; and the number of leased units.
- Insurance: the policy number, deductible, and other information about the policies of insurance held by the condominium.
- Financial: if a budget surplus or deficit is likely; the reserve fund study balance, the annual contribution to the reserve fund, and the anticipated expenditures from it.
- Legal: any legal actions involving the condominium; any outstanding judgments; and any claims to Tarion for warranties.
- Disclosure: copies of the disclosure statements made by directors must be enclosed with the certificate; and the condominium must indicate if it has complied with all of its obligations for filing returns, paying assessments, and any compliance orders issued by the Registrar.
- By-laws: a condominium’s by-laws may require additional information to be provided to the owners.
The PIC is a prescribed form. It is available on the Ontario website.
The PIC must be sent out within 60 days of the last day of the condominium’s first and third quarters. For example, with a December 31st year-end the PIC must be sent out by the end of May and November. The PIC could be sent with the AGM notice. In addition to saving postage, there are two other reasons to send the PIC with the AGM notice: 1) the AGM must be held before the end of June with a December 31 year-end, which means the preliminary notice would be sent out before the end of May (which is when the PIC is due to be sent to the owners); and 2) the AGM notice must include a copy of the most recent PIC and ICU sent to owners.
Information Certificate Update (ICUs)
The information certificate updates will provide information to the owners when certain “triggering events” (or, as I like to think of them, critical events like with an “ICU” in a hospital) occur:
- change in the mailing address or the address for service of the condominium.
- change in the condominium’s email address or other method of electronic communication for receiving record requests or delivering records.
- change in the directors or officers, including any vacancies, or a change in their addresses for service.
- change in the manager, management company, or other person responsible for managing the property, or a change to their address for service.
- change in the condominium’s insurance deductible.
- termination of insurance.
- a loss of quorum on the board of directors.
- any other information the by-laws require.
The ICU must be sent within 30 days for the items listed in the first five bullets. Where an insurance policy is terminated, the ICU must be sent as soon as reasonably possible afterward. The ICU must be sent within 5 days of the loss of quorum on the board.
The ICU is a prescribed form available on the Ontario website.
New Owner Information Certificate (NOIC)
The new owner information certificate contains very little information, apart from the name of the condominium, the date it is prepared, and any information required by the condominium’s by-law. The NOIC includes copies of the most recent PIC and any ICUs sent after the PIC was sent to the owners. The NOIC is a prescribed form. It must be sent within 30 days of an owner notifying the condominium of their ownership.
How to send the certificates
The information certificates may be delivered personally, by mail, or another form of communication the owner has agreed to (i.e. email). The certificates may be posted on a website (for at least 30 days) if owners are sent a notice informing them of the posting. The posting notice is a prescribed form that describes how the owners can access the certificate and informs them that they can request a paper copy by making a record request.
There is an exemption from the above requirements for condominiums where the owners of at least 80% of the units consent in writing to dispense with the certificates. The consent of the owners is required each year to avoid the requirement to send the certificates. This may be difficult in most condominiums so a push toward electronic communication (i.e. email, fax) may be a more practical solution to the mountains of paperwork created by the new certificate requirement.