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Origin of the New Condo Act
The amendments to the Act was a response to the rapid growth in numbers and varieties of condominiums in Ontario. The government organized five working groups, with expert representatives, to provide input on the following: Consumer Protection, Financial Management, Dispute Resolution, Governance, and Condominium Management. While the list of recommendations is long, only a subset has been implemented in the recently updated Act. Highlights of the implemented recommendations are as follows:
Consumer Protection provision requires sales documents to be in a language that can be easily understood by the average person. Information about the condo is to be actively published and not withheld unless specifically requested or, only delivered as a large bundle of documents.
Financial Management provision sets standards for the use of the corporation’s funds and establishes rights to access financial statements by the owners.
It’s about the three Rs – Rights, Roles and Responsibilities
Dispute Resolution provision provides owners with the same access to information that directors have – so that there is a common understanding of issues and opportunities. Where disputes are more than a misunderstanding, the Condominium Authority Tribunal will render an independent decision.
Governance provisions require specific training for directors and the active disclosure of information (like board minutes) to owners.
Condominium Management provision sets standards for skills and training for condo managers and management firms. A licence certificate must be held and available for inspection by any person. In addition, managers/management firms must properly store records and transfer them to the board of directors upon termination of a contract.
While not a result of a specific recommendation, the Condo Authority of Ontario was established to provide information about condominium living to owners, residents, and directors. In addition, the organization now requires the filing of returns for each condo. Currently “returns” are largely information about the condo and its directors