April 25, 2016
The new Condominium Act 2015 (sometimes called Protecting Condominium Owners Act 2015) passed in the Ontario Legislature on December 3rd 2015. The big news is Bill 106 (Condo Act 2015) won’t come into effect until its rules and regulations are drafted and proclaimed by the government.
Past experience shows it could take 3 years for the rules and regulations to be drafted and passed. The last Condo Act 1998, which is currently still in effect, was given Royal Assent in 1998 and took 3 years to be passed when in 2001 it finally came into force.
Passing the new Condominium Act 2015 is like being given the keys to your new Cadillac, when you have not yet got your license.
The new 2015, Condo Act is the result of reforms to the old 1998, Condo Act. The new Condominium Act, 2015 or Bill 106 requires new rules and regulations drafted by government civil servants and their consultants in order for them to be enforceable. Once this takes place the 2015, Condo Act (sometimes called Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015) will be passed into the Ontario Legislature. These changes will come into force on a future date that will be decided and proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor.
The provincial government announced its plans to “Review” the 1998, Condo Act approximately 2 years ago and sought out public input from across the province through public information sessions; written and on-line submissions; five professional working groups focusing on key issues with an expert panel to monitor the working groups’ recommendations; technical teams and, a dedicated residents’ panel to advise the ministry who drafted the legislation for Bill 106.
The 1998 Condo Act “Review” process identified 5 categories as major areas needing reform. They are:
- Stronger consumer protection
- Improved dispute resolution
- Condo manager licensing and regulation
- Greater openness and accountability in governance
- More transparent condo finances
In general, Bill 106 has two schedules, one covering amendments to the Condominium Act 1998, including other statutes, and the other is a new Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (CMSA). Both schedules are the result of the Condominium “Review”, an 18 months public engagement process. Condominium Act 2015, schedule 1 and schedule 2, will take effect once the rules and regulations are drafted and proclaimed in the Ontario Legislature by the Lieutenant Governor, thereby making them enforceable.
The new Protecting the Condominium Owner Act otherwise known as the Condo Act 2015, (Bill 106) will amend the Condominium Act 1998, and other relevant acts such as the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act in schedule 1. In schedule 2, it will enact the Condominium Management Services Act 2015, S.O. 2015, c. 28, Sched. 2
Here are some of its features:
The Condominium Management Services Act, S.O. 2015, c. 28, Sched. 2 , will create a new Condominium Authority, which will appoint members to its Tribunal titled the Condominium Authority Tribunal. This new Condominium Authority is a not-for-profit corporation that will improve the dispute resolution process that currently exists with the 1998, Condo Act. Many of the disputes are amongst the condominium boards and its owners often involving costly legal expenses with lawyers. Using paralegals has helped to reduced these costs in the past but the new Condo Authority, (sometimes called the Condo Office) will provide additional elements to help reduce these costs even further.
The Condominium Management Services Act, S.O. 2015, c. 28, Sched. 2
- Updated financial management rules including increased requirements for financial disclosure by developers so as to protect purchasers of newly-built condominium units from unexpected costs
- Stronger financial management rules for condominium corporations to reduce fraud and increase transparency
- A new licensing program, managed by the condo office, to ensure that condo managers are properly trained and qualified.
- New education requirements for Condominium Managers
- Mandatory licensing for Condominium Managers and a condo registry
- Stronger qualification requirements for condo boards, including mandatory training for first-time members
- Increased governance requirements for condominium boards, including disclosure requirements for directors
- Improved consumer education, to elevate consumer awareness and protection
The new Condo Office establishes a Condo Office Tribunal to:
- Institute mandatory education requirements and licensing for condo managers
- Increase and improve consumer education for its own protection
- Create The Dispute Resolution Office to provide an improved enforcement process with a fast, impartial and, non-binding assessment of the merits of each side of a dispute
Condominium owners will be charged between $1- $3 a month, per condominium unit to pay for the cost of creating and running the new 2015, Condominium Act Condo Office. It is estimated that there exists approximately 600,000 condo units in Ontario and the annual budget of the new Condo Office will be $10 to $20 million.
It is important to remember that the new 2015, Condominium Act is not yet functioning. It requires more time, maybe even a few years for the rules and regulations to be established before being passed into law. In the meantime the 1998, Condominium Act is the current governing legislation that one should turn to for condominium concerns. An experienced paralegal can separate the facts from fiction for you.
Call to speak to one of our paralegals today: 416.835.7411