electric vehicles

Proposal aims to remove roadblocks to electric vehicles in condos

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Ontario government is looking at ways to remove roadblocks to installing electric vehicle charging stations on condo properties starting next spring.

A regulatory proposal, released for public comment last week, could change rules under the Condominium Act as the province moves to make good on a key commitment under its Climate Change Action Plan. The plan aims to boost the purchase of electric and hydrogen passenger vehicles in Ontario to five per cent of sales by 2020. In particular, it commits to paving the way for existing condo properties to introduce charging stations.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services said it’s considering adopting “one or more” of the changes detailed in the regulatory proposal.

One proposed change would remove some of the red tape involved in installing electric vehicle charging stations by waiving the requirements under the Condominium Act for condo corporations and owners to notify owners and seek approval to make changes to the common elements for this type of change.

Another proposed change would make it easier for owners to swap parking spaces for access to electrical charging stations by requiring only 50 per cent of owners to consent to declaration amendments to enable this versus the standard threshold for declaration amendments of 80 to 90 per cent.

If adopted, one proposed change would prevent condo corporations from blocking requests from owners to install electric vehicle charging stations, although corporations could prescribe what type of equipment is to be used. As long as a request satisfied certain conditions, which could include the owner taking responsibility for the installation and related electrical costs, the corporation would be required to approve it, unless the installation met grounds for exemption, such as compromising the structural integrity of the property or sticking the corporation with a “substantial” expense.

Under yet another proposed change, condo corporations would be able to dip into their reserve funds to cover the cost of electrical capacity upgrades to support the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles. All condo properties with parking facilities would be required to equip them with electrical subpanels by 2022, which would also have to be accounted for in reserve fund studies.

The last change detailed in the regulatory proposal would empower a minimum of owners of five units or five per cent of units (whichever is less) to request in writing that at least two common element parking spaces be equipped with Level 2 charging stations. The condo corporation would be obliged to fulfill requests meeting this criteria, but would be able to ask people to pay to plug into these stations, which fully charge electric vehicles over the span of roughly four to six hours using a 240-volt system.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is inviting the public to comment on the regulatory proposal through to Jan. 2, 2018.

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