Condominium Law Reforms
The tools for resolving disputes under the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Condo Act”) were mandatory private mediation-arbitration and the courts. The mechanisms provided for under the Condo Act were time consuming and costly. A review of the Condo Act also revealed a power imbalance during disputes as between condo boards and owners.
Bill 106, the Protective Condominium Owners Act, 2015, was passed in 2015. It amended the Condo Act to address dispute resolution and enabled the establishment of a condominium authority that would provide more expedient and cost efficient dispute resolution mechanisms. As we stated in a previous blog, the government introduced the new authority, the Condominium Authority of Ontario (“CAO”), in Toronto to oversee and assist with issues or complaints regarding condominiums. The goal of the authority is to provide a faster and more cost efficient dispute mechanism process.
New Online Tribunal
The CAO launched its first online tribunal service last week in order to “help resolve the complaints that arise in 10,000 condo corporations” more efficiently. Its mandate is to help settle and decide condo related disputes in Ontario.
The Tribunal is known as the Condominium Authority Tribunal (“CAT”) and provides access to mediators and adjudicators, with an initial fee of $25 for the first step in its process. As of November 1, CAT will only be addressing condo record access issues, but will expand as the months go on. Currently they have two disputes that have been sent to the online tribunal.
The online tribunal will work in three phases:
- Negotiation – this will cost $25 and will give users the opportunity to try to resolve the dispute as amongst themselves;
- Mediation – this will cost $50 and a tribunal mediator will get involved to help resolve the matter; and
- Adjudication – this will cost $125 and a tribunal member, different from the mediator, will decide how to resolve the dispute.
As mentioned in our previous blogs, the CAO will be providing training and education to condo board members and managers and will require that all condo corporations be registered with the CAO by December 31st of this year. Currently, they only have 2,700 condo corporations registered to date.
By: Marly Peikes, Student-at-Law