You’ve probably heard by now that the dates have changed for implementing changes to the Condominium Act, 1998 (“Condo Act”), and various other pieces of legislation under the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (also known as “Bill 106”). The start date was planned to be July 1, 2017 for some of the changes, but the Ontario government recently announced that the date has been pushed into the fall. Not surprisingly, the administrative authorities will be designated first with the implementation of most of the other changes coming in afterward. The new timeline is described below in more detail.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that the government has created significant changes to the condominium landscape in Ontario. One of the biggest changes is that property managers will require licences to provide condominium management services in Ontario. The regulation of property managers is designed to weed out the bad apples, which have received most of the publicity in recent years. It is rare for an article to be published that praises the hard work and dedication most managers show to their clients.
Today’s post will provide an introduction to the key changes to the condominium management industry in Ontario.
Big changes are coming to the voting procedures for owners’ meetings. I’ve previously written about the changes for notices and pre-notices, but you’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the new requirements for voting at owners’ meetings.
One of the most contentious sections of the Condominium Act, 1998, is section 46, which is the right of owners to requisition a meeting of owners. Given the number of cases on the requisition right (most of which dealt with improper denials of valid requisitions), it is no wonder section 46 was one of the sections targeted by the government for a significant overhaul. In fact, section 46 will be repealed in its entirety and replaced with a very different process.
The amendments to the Act are designed to reduce disputes regarding the form and content of requisitions. The process is more clearly described and prescribed forms will be required. If a dispute arises, it will be up to the Tribunal to make a decision and if the Tribunal is not established, it will be up to the Superior Court of Justice to make a decision (which is the process used now in most cases).
The following post was researched and written by Daniel Brockenshire, a law student at Sutherland Kelly LLP. Thanks, Daniel!
The third draft regulation, which was released on February 24, 2017, is aimed at regulatory changes to the Condominium Act, 1998 (the Act) and the Condominium Management Services Act (the CMSA). More specifically, the regulation proposes the scope of the Condominium Authority Tribunal and the designation of two new administrative authorities, one for the Act the other for the CMSA. Comments are due by April 10, 2017. Continue reading
The draft regulations also address another issue that causes a lot of disputes in condominiums – record requests. It also sets out requirements for how long records must be retained and the permitted methods of retention. These changes are scheduled to come into force in the fall of 2017. Continue reading
The draft regulations also address issues like notices of meeting, voting, quorum, board meetings by electronic means, and voting thresholds for by-laws.
Notices of Meetings
The regulations set out the detail for the preliminary notice that must be sent to owners before an owners’ meeting. It details the type of information about candidates for director positions, candidates for auditors, and other material that owners want to be included (so long as 15% of the owners request it and it is not contrary to the Act or regulations). The preliminary notice will be a standardized form.
One thorny issue will continue to be requisition meetings. Since the amendments to the requisition process will not be included in the first phase of amendments, but the changes to the notice of meeting sections will be, it means that the board only has 5 days to send a preliminary notice of meeting after it receives the requisition. For example, if the requisition is received on January 10, the preliminary notice must be sent by January 14, the notice of meeting by January 29, and the meeting held on February 13. There would be no margin for error in sending out the notices or the meeting would be held beyond the period required by the Act (35 days from the receipt of the requisition).
It is intended that the regulations would come into force on July 1, 2017, but they would only apply to meetings held 40 days or more after the regulations come into force and for those where notice has not been sent.
Voting & Quorum
As you may know, quorum for meetings will be changed by the amendments to the Act. Quorum for owners meetings will be satisfied by: 1) 25% of the owners represented at the first and second attempts to hold the meeting; or 2) 15% of owners at subsequent attempts.
The regulations also require every condominium to have a standard provision in its by-law that no person voting by ballot, proxy, or electronic means, would be required to identify his name or the unit in which the vote is cast. There will be mandatory proxy forms for owners’ meetings instead of the optional forms used now.
In addition, there will be a lower threshold for voting for certain by-laws (i.e. to change the content for information certificates and notices, to add extra disclosure obligations for directors). Instead of a majority of all owners, the threshold would be lower: a majority of votes cast at the meeting.
These changes should be in force on July 1, 2017, but it would only apply to meetings held 40 days or more after the new quorum and voting sections of the Act come into force.