October 6, 2023 Published by London and Area Chapter - By Trish Kaplan

Galvanize New Board Members

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

As AGMs occur, new directors are elected to condominium boards. They are ultimately responsible for running the corporation and overseeing the managers that are hired to run daily operations. So we must recognize there will be a learning curve for new directors to keep things on track in and for the community. The remaining board members and manager can assist in ensuring that the transition is less stressful for them all. At the same time, it is an opportune time for a refresher of the roles and responsibilities of board members, manager and owners.

Thank you so much to all of the directors who served their terms or many terms so diligently on behalf of their communities. Your time and efforts have been essential and appreciated.

Many condominium corporations have difficulty filling the director positions on their boards. First and foremost, it is recommended that an interested owner acknowledge the responsibilities they are taking on inasmuch as the role and responsibility; the estimated time they are committing to and other information that a seasoned director might share.

Some reasons for an owner reneging have been heard many times over the years. Most frequent reasons that haven’t very much changed include that they were not prepared enough for the challenges: to balance work, family and condominium business, the complications of unpopular decisions the board makes; and the list goes on. However, then, unlike now, there was little instruction and guidance that board members could reference to prepare them for easier and informed decision-making in accordance with their responsibilities. So much that is new since 2017 makes their commitment that much more time consuming with that learning. We encourage all directors to take advantage of the seminars, courses and reading material that CCI has to offer.

It’s gratifying to receive an email from an owner who has recently been elected to a board of their corporation and is showing a positive interest to making sure s/he is ready for the task they are taking on. Being a director is an enormous responsibility. There is much to learn, not only about the corporation, but also the legislation that must be followed to make the best informed decisions on behalf of the owners they will be serving. Being informed and prepared says a lot about how they want to be contributing members to the board and community they will be serving.

Set directors up for success and staying power

  • The starting point for directors is to take the online Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) Foundational Mandatory Training for Directors as soon after being elected to the board and within six (6) months of being elected, appointed, or reelected unless they have completed the training within the preceding 7 years. Follow directions here:
    It is noted that directors must retake the training every 7 years; so those directors who first took the training in 2017 will be first up to take it again in November 2024
  • The Corporation’s governing documents (Declaration, By-laws and Rules) that can be easily reviewed should be available as governance is the directors’ responsibility.
  • Other documents recommended to include:
    • most current copy of the Reserve Fund Study Plan (in full); and if it is in an updating process then the most recent draft where there is one;
    • the past year’s meeting minutes (at the very least) may be helpful to get them on track regarding upcoming projects, decisions, etc.
    • Financial Statements provided at board meetings throughout the previous year, including information on how reporting is carried out and approved by the board. CAO has a Best Practices Guide: Finance that will be very helpful: https:// financial-planning/
    • most current contracts in play (management, landscaper, etc….);
    • most recent corporation audit - point out the notes pages for important information.
  • It is also important for new board members to understand the roles and responsibilities of managers to the corporation. It is their responsibility to oversee the managers’ roles and management them effectively. A guide to assist board in that area can be found here: overseeing-condo-managers/

The learning never stops!

There are valuable resources for owners, boards and managers to help them carry out their responsibilities. It can be especially valuable to any owners who may show an interest in becoming a director. They would be wellserved to review the CAO website and available resources. A simple click can take anyone interested to so much that will be helpful: guides-and-resources/

The CAO updated their website (July 4, 2023) so finding what you need to review can be easier. The information therein covers a lot of territory that we recommend reviewing regularly. Information input came through surveys, user experience sessions and focus groups. There are newsletters, guides, case law, all of it geared to “building strong and vibrant condominium communities with information, education and dispute resolution”.

CAO also recommends that directors and managers share the Condo Owners’ Newsletter with owners through distribution channels and to encourage them to subscribe directly with CAO.

Issues can be resolved when and if there is adequate information and when the parties will work together to solve the problem. The Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) publishes its decisions and orders publicly so condominium communities can learn about how the CAT resolves issues and learn more about harmonious living. Forms and templates are available to assist in proving assistance with resolving common issues.

It is no secret that managers are overwhelmed with the very long list of specific duties they are responsible for in day-to-day operations of the condominium, including those required by legislation and then there are those that are directed by the board in their duty to manage the corporation.

It is up to each of us to keep informed and carry out our own individual responsibilities to protect our own very substantial investment as well as that of our neighbours in our condominium community. Many opportunities are available to help directors, managers and owners make the life they chose that much more enjoyable.

We wish every director and corporation successes going forward.

Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hon’s) is the parttime Administrator of the Chapter; having served in the position from April 2003 to September 2010. She received the CCI Distinguished Service Award from CCI National in November 2006. Trish served as a director on the chapter board from 2010-2015 and was subsequently returned to the position of Administrator.

Trish is a condominium owner, served as a director in the corporation she resides in for a time and is a retired condominium manager.

Her experience in different areas of condominium continues to be a benefit to the chapter and its members.


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