Purchasing/Living in a Condominium
The Condominium Authority of Ontario is Seven Months Old
From the Summer 2018 issue of the CCI Toronto Condovoice Magazine.
The Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) officially opened its doors just seven months ago. It has been an extremely busy time for the condominium community and, in particular, for the CAO.
The CAO's overarching goal is to support condo communities by providing information to help them understand their rights and responsibilities; resources to help them identify and resolve common issues before they escalate into disputes; mandatory training for all condo directors elected, re-elected or appointed after November 1st 2017; a public registry of condominium corporations in Ontario; and Ontario's first online dispute resolution system, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT). In addition, the CAO has a Customer Care Team that has supported condo communities through as many as 30,000 individual interactions either by email or phone since it's launch. The CAO is also pleased to report that almost 9,000 of 11,000 corporations in Ontario have registered.
All condominium corporations are required to file returns with the CAO. The number and type of returns that each corporation must file depends on the date that the corporation was created (the date when the declaration and description were registered at one of Ontario's land registry offices) and whether the corporation held its turn-over meeting on or after January 1, 2018.
The CAO is pushing corporations to file their condo returns as soon as possible to avoid incurring late penalties. For more information on the different types of returns, please refer to the CAO's website at www. condoauthorityontario.ca.
Please note that Condo corporations must file a notice of change with the CAO when any of the prescribed information in their returns changes.
CAO Public Registry
The CAO has delivered on the government's requirement to provide a searchable, public registry of condo corporations by April 1, 2018, which is now available on the CAO's website.
The Public Registry contains information prescribed by Ontario Regulation 377/17, such as the name and type of corporation, address for service and the names of the corporation's directors and, if any, managers. The information that the registry displays is based on condo returns filed by corporations. As of early April, more than 6,600 of the 11,000 condominium corporations in the province have filed this information.
No personal information is disclosed and the Public Registry cannot be used for commercial purposes, including bulk exports or summaries. To access the Public Registry, please visit the CAO's website at www. condoauthorityontario.ca.
Mandatory Director Training
More than 3,000 individuals have already completed the 21 modules that comprise the CAO's director training, which helps to equip condo directors with skills and information to assist them in directing the affairs of the corporation, resolving issues and fostering a positive condo community. Feedback has been very positive. Early results indicate that the majority of respondents were very satisfied with the training (84%) and said they would recommend it to others (94%).
Online Tools and Dispute Resolution
The CAO website provides helpful information and templates on how to deal with the most common issues and help condo owners and residents resolve problems before they become formal disputes. Topics addressed include records, noise, personal property and odor issues, amongst others. For specific issues that cannot be resolved, the CAO launched Ontario's first online tribunal, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT), which provides the condominium sector with a fast, efficient and cost-effective way to help resolve disputes. Under s. 55 of the Act, the CAT can currently accept cases about disputes related to condominium corporation records. There are three stages of the CAT's Online Dispute Resolution process (ODR):
- Stage 1 - Negotiation: Individuals are provided with access to the CAT's online dispute resolution system, where they can negotiate in a neutral forum and attempt to resolve the dispute themselves
- Stage 2 - Mediation: A CAT Member will join the file as a Mediator and will attempt to assist the parties in resolving the dispute
- Stage 3 - Tribunal Decision (Adjudication): A CAT Member will join the file as an Adjudicator, conduct a formal adjudication of the dispute, and issue a binding order
The CAT currently consists of 13 members with diverse backgrounds in mediation, adjudication, condominium law, technological innovation and life in condominium communities.
The CAO continues to refine its online information and tools and the CAT-ODR system to address feedback from users. The CAO is looking to expand and enhance the CAT-ODR system, including opportunities for integrated teleconferencing and videoconferencing.
As with many organizations who deliver services online, the CAO is working to improve the initial systems developed and launched in a very short period of time. As the CAO moves toward steadystate operations, it will continue to reach out for feedback to better serve condo communities across Ontario, to enhance the information and resources available on the CAO's website; to refine the online mandatory director training; and to expand the CAT-ODR to handle future expansion of its jurisdiction and additional dispute types.
It is through feedback and input from all stakeholders that the CAO can best meet the needs of condo communities. The CAO looks forward to, and encourages, as much feedback as possible.
To stay up to date on the CAO's timely news, please follow on social media: Twitter: @CondoAuthOn; Facebook: @CondominiumAuthorityOntario and LinkedIn: Condominium Authority of Ontario
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