The Ontario government has recently tabled the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, which aims to strengthen consumer protection and ensure stronger oversight of several administrative authorities, including the Condominium Authority of Ontario. As a result, there are long-awaited changes on the horizon.
It is now confirmed that condo corporations will be able to better access and use required forms under the Condo Act. The Ontario government is handing over delegation to the Condominium Authority of Ontario, starting January 1, 2020.
CAO says it has already added the first 17 digital forms and is starting to explore solutions for using an interactive question and answer approach for users during the completion process. There will also be consultations with owners and members of the condo community to find out which forms should be a priority and how they can be improved. More details on that should emerge soon.
Expanding scope of disputes heard by Condominium Authority Tribunal
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services will soon be consulting with the public on expanding the scope of disputes that can be heard by the CAO’s Condominium Authority Tribunal.
The CAO is preparing for this possible expansion with enhancements to its digital online dispute resolution system, the Condominium Authority Tribunal – Online Dispute Resolution (CAT-ODR) system. Recruitment for additional part-time CAT members (who conduct mediations and adjudications in Stage 2 and 3 of the CAT’s dispute resolution process) is currently underway.
More consultations in 2020
There will also be consultations to seek stakeholder input on other areas impacting condominium communities in Ontario, including:
- Requiring the CAO to develop a condo guide for buyers and require developers to provide it at the point of purchase;
- Changing the amount of interest that would be owed to a purchaser, who makes deposits and other payments on a purchase into pre-construction condo projects, by the developer, if a condo project is cancelled and in other circumstances;
- Establishing guidelines or standards that will govern how condo corporations are to procure goods or services;
- Clarifying how interim occupancy fees are handled by developers;
- Establishing a process whereby condo corporations could add charges to an owner’s common expenses (condo fees), under certain circumstances;
- Clarifying how contributions are made to reserve funds, how the money held in reserve funds can be used, and how reserve fund studies can be conducted; and
- Clarifying the processes for mediation or arbitration between condo corporations and owners.