October, 6 2023 Published by London and Area Chapter

Takeaways from the Spring CCI-National Leaders’ Forum

From the CCI Review 2023/2024-1 August 2023 issue of the CCI London Chapter

Twice a year CCI-National holds a National Leaders Forum. The attendees to the Spring forum entitled Bridging the Future that was held in Saskatoon, SK included Jennifer Dickenson, President, Heather Dickenson, Education Co-chair, Tony DiPietro, National Representative of the Chapter and Courtney Cartmill, member of the chapter’s Education Committee. Each of these members were invited to share some takeaways from the conference. It is safe to say that the content of the forum was inspired and informational.

From Jennifer Dickenson

This year’s National Leader’s forum in Saskatoon was really well attended!

I attended the National Executive and joint National Executive/National Council meeting on the Wednesday. The main topics of discussion were successes/ challenges and the upcoming budget. The hot topic on the National level is the Funding model.

We had a wonderful indigenous speaker, Lyndon Linklater welcome us and then gave a keynote. His words struck home. He encouraged all to review the Calls to Action created by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

National committees are looking for volunteers.

Committees: Certification (looking at creating an extension of the LCCI), Governance, Government Relations, National Events (Courtney Cartmill is on this committee), Operations & Support, Resource Content& Marketing, Risk Management & Finance (Michael Watson is on this committee). If anyone is interested in contributing, please contact me.

I spoke on “Confronting Harassment- tools for your chapter”. We are making the slides available online.

“Responsible Financial Reporting to the Board” discussed the need to ensure Board members see at least quarterly statements, with details. Our chapter excels in this, thanks to Michael Watson. “Celebrating our Successes” showed that many chapters have overcome difficulties in the last couple of years, with administrators leaving without notice or drops in membership. Many chapters have evolved to be more digital and were looking to each other for more ideas.

During the Saturday conference, we were encouraged to make sure we spoke to our lawyers and insurance companies when looking into EV stations that would be run by apps on phones. Because of the digital nature, there is more susceptibility to breaches. This may not apply for those with individualized EV chargers, but definitely those with shared devices.

We heard from panels that Reserve Fund Studies have not been able to predict the Construction Price Index increases (which are more accurate to condos than the Consumer Price Index), leaving most funds woefully underfunded. Condos can either hike condo fees, special assess or borrow. This isn’t new to us, but it was somewhat reassuring to hear it was Canada-wide and not just Ontario. Associating the increases in inflation with the Construction index was recommended.

The social events were a great opportunity to chat and find out how others were doing in our industry!

From Heather Dickenson

This CCI National Leader's Forum was my first, and it was a great experience.

The seminars were insightful but much of the value was in hearing feedback and questions from CCI members from across the country – Lyndsey McNally (CWB Maximum Financial) sharing her tips on how to de-escalate situations when tensions rise with owners, notes from Will MacKay (Private Wealth, CIBC) on the importance of touching base with your Boards or team members before sitting down to a difficult conversation so everyone feels they are working towards the same goal. The Keynote Speaker was extremely informative and shared the importance of focusing on a Canada we are trying to "build" moving forward, rather than the decisions of previous generations. We also had an opportunity to share some laughs and practiced some of the dialects of indigenous peoples in the Saskatoon area.

From an Education Committee standpoint, it was insightful to talk with members of Chapters about the challenges and successes they experienced thus far, with their Director Certificate Program. Andrée Ball (Ottawa Chapter) and I had talked about our plans for the courses, last fall so it was great to hear how it went, post-sessions. Their Chapter had approximately 40 attendees and she is a firm proponent of hosting them online, to allow as many as possible to attend. Courtney Cartmill and I then had a chance to brainstorm about what a hybrid option might look like. I also learned that some provinces do not have a version of the CAO, CMRAO, CAT, or mandatory director education which was very eye-opening.

Last but not least, the networking was a great time and many new connections were made across the country. I have already put my name forward for a couple of committees and look forward to becoming even more involved, and sharing all of the great work we're up to here in the London Area.

From Tony DiPietro

The successful CCI-N Spring Leaders’ Forum (May 31 to June 3, 2023) is now in the books. The theme “Bridging the future” began with opening remarks from citizen and storyteller Lyndon Linklater of the Plains Cree Nation whose call to action in reconciling the past showed we are just starting to bridge that gap on diversity and lack of communication.

Keynote speeches on harassment, hoarding, crime prevention, EV charging stations and better recycling methods were shared by many experts and professionals. Committee and Executive updates on connecting with government (local and provincial), education training, strategies on networking to drive memberships, marketing, Risk Management and financial reporting for condo boards provided valuable insights. The key takeaways from this conference were:

  • Condominium boards and property managers face many complex issues and continued harassment today from condo owners due to a lack of communicating effectively. We are reminded that it is not the person, but the issue to keep in mind. With a 30% decrease in property managers over the last three years and the reluctance of condo owners to become volunteer directors, more education training and the use of technology through social media outlets is key. The use of artificial intelligence could be an effective tool for volunteer boards to better communicate their response to many issues
  • Great strides have been made in government relations through less red tape (Bill 91) Tarion warranty coverages, changes to condo act and condo insurance initiatives. Some of the failures have been in the government not proclaiming all of it. We are reminded that it is a long game that could take years to develop. However, we can build on our successes.
  • We need to be more proactive in reserve funds studies and risk management considering construction costs have risen 45% in the last three years. Due diligence through education training is key.
  • We need stronger relationships with local law enforcement and fire departments to help deal with violence and mental health issues.
  • We are building a strong brand identity through educating personnel and building a strong network of professionals who volunteer their time and support.
  • We need more volunteers
  • Great ideas for increasing membership by offering free seminars, podcasts and better use of technology to reach the members we don’t have i.e., Networking with Real Estate agents, owners and utilizing college students in the communications field

We have started to build strong support for the bridge to the future. All who took part in this year’s conference have shown a deep commitment to making condo living safe and secure and will continue to make CCI the go to agency for government, business, condo professionals and owners.


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