Unless you are new to condo living, you likely know that the Condominium Act, 1998 was amended in 2017. At the time, many believed that the rest of the amendments would be phased in over the following 18 to 24 months. It has been two years and very few of the remaining amendments have come into force. [Note: if you review the Act you will see large portions of it in grey indicating that it has not yet come into force].
Today, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services introduced Bill 159: The Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2019. Bill 159 affects 10 Acts, including the Condominium Act, 1998, Condominium Management Services Act, and several related to the changes coming to Tarion. The changes to the Condominium Act, 1998, relate to matters around the administration and duties of the CAO. You can read Bill 159 by visiting the Legislature’s website: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-159
A press release announced the introduction of Bill 159 and confirmed that effective January 1, 2020, the CAO will be delegated responsibility for 17 of the most commonly used forms. The release also indicated that the government will soon be consulting with the public on expanding the scope of disputes that can be heard by the Condominium Authority Tribunal. We previously blogged about some possibilities here: https://ontcondolaw.com/2019/03/25/whats-in-the-cards-the-future-of-the-cat/
Interestingly, the release also suggested that consultations will begin with the public and stakeholders in other areas, including:
- “requiring the CAO to develop a condo guide for buyers and require developers to provide it at the point of purchase”
- “establishing guidelines or standards that will govern how condo corporations are to procure goods and services”
- “establishing a process whereby condo corporations could add charges to an owner’s common expenses (condo fees), under certain circumstances”
- “the manner in which [reserve funds] can be used” and
- “clarifying the processes for mediation or arbitration between corporations and owners”.
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Most of these issues have already been addressed in the Act, but the relevant sections have not yet come into force. For example, see the following sections not yet in force: new section 39.1 for procurement, new section 71.1 for the condo guide, and amendments to section 84 for adding charges to an owner’s common expenses. Back in 2017 many believed these would be included in the second or third phase of amendments once regulations could be prepared to provide the necessary details missing from the Act itself.
I’m glad we are finally hearing from the government about its plans, but the release has left me with so many unanswered questions. Is the government working on the next phase of amendments? Is the consultation aimed at gathering information so it can prepare regulations for sections of the Act that were previously amended (i.e. the second phase)? Or is the government going to make further amendments to the Act in these areas and get rid of many of the amendments that never came to be?
It could be an interesting period of consultation, discussion, and change again in the new year…stay tuned!