When the Provincial Government decided it was time to update the Condo Act they sought input from the public and interest groups. They report having received 2,000 submissions. They made a decision to establish the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO), and Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO), to effectively address what they determined to be serious concerns identified in these submissions.
Where consumer concerns exist, recent governments have followed a consistent approach. The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA), for example, regulates retirement homes in much the same way as the Condominium Authority of Ontario now regulates condominium buildings. All retirement homes must be licensed. They pay a fee based on the number of beds in the facility. Retirement home employees providing resident care must be licensed with the province.
Purpose of the Condominium Authority of Ontario
The Condominium Authority of Ontario has a goal of minimizing issues before they become disputes to help with community building. To do this they have implemented three pillars:
- Mandated reporting and disclosure of information
- Tribunal for handling disputes that arise
Industry associations of the past did not always reflect the interests of consumers – condo residents and owners. Education as provided by CAO is intended to represent consumer concerns. Education includes mandatory online courses for the estimated 50,000 condo directors in Ontario. These course are available free of charge, to anyone wanting to learn more about or consider serving as a condo director, at the CAO website. Additional condo resources available through the CAO include a Condo Buyers Guide, advice for dealing with neighbour disputes and letter templates for communicating with the condo board.
Mandated reporting and disclosure of information is intended to force condo corporations to meet a minimum standard that was not previously adhered to. For many matters, lack of available information should no longer exist. CAO feels they have struck the right balance between required disclosures and preventing abuse of process by individuals.
For matters that remain unresolved, the Condo Authority Tribunal (CAT) offers a process that includes mediation and arbitration not involving the court system.
Funding for the CAO comes from mandatory fees assessed to condo corporations based on number of units. Additional fees are paid for access to the tribunal to resolve disputes. Fees for filing disputes are paid by individuals. Condo corporations pay for its representation at the tribunal. The CAO feels that these costs, plus ongoing compliance costs, will be less than what it was previously costing condo corporations and owners to manage their home.