CONDO ARCHIVES

CAO omg – Costing out the Condominium Authority of Ontario

June 2019

What if the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) operated similarly to condominium corporations they oversee?

For those not yet familiar with the Condominium Authority of Ontario, they provide resources and information for condo owners, residents, managers and directors.  They mandate procedures the community must adhere to.  CAO is self-funded through a monthly fee paid by all condo owners, adheres to government legislation and follows their directives, and is a not-for-profit organization.

Each year CAO publishes financial statements.  Budgets and financial statements are central to providing condo owners with information required to evaluate their condominium corporation and board of directors.  The former treasurer of a condominium corporation reviewed CAO’s financial statements.

Condominium owners fund the CAO directly through a mandated monthly fee and indirectly through costs of compliance.  When reviewing their own financial statements condo owners want confidence their corporation is operating efficiently and at its lowest practical cost.  It is reasonable to expect CAO to operate at its lowest cost and to minimize costs it imposes on condominium corporations.

Information comes from CAO Financial Statements for the year ending March 31, 2018.  Key numbers for review are presented with explanation and comments that could be posed by condominium owners had they attended CAO’s Annual General Meeting.

$7,500,000

Start Up Funds

  • CAO is able to borrow up to this amount from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
  • CAO borrowed $3.5 million in 2017 and another $2 million in 2018.
  • Interest is paid on these loans.

$2,074,536

Computer Software Value

This appears to be proprietary software developed by CAO for its use.

  • The amount seems excessive considering today’s software development costs.
  • Additional technology-related expenses of $1,030,255 ($356,951 in 2018 and more in future years) are not included.

While such a large expenditure on software development may seem reasonable to a government agency, it is beyond what appears necessary for comparable functionality in the private sector.

$5,891,015

Revenues

Primarily fees charged to condo owners.

  •  Includes $2,350 from Tribunal fees

$2,249,096

Human Resources

Salaries for employees.

$356,951

Enterprise IT

Technology-related expenses

  • Software contract commits CAO to paying a minimum of $1,030,255 between 2019 and 2022.

As with the initial software development expenditure, this appears excessive by private sector standards.

$310,559

Information and communication

Having invested in technology for communicating with its constituency and considering the lack of communication during the year, this expenditure is difficult to rationalize.

$113,809

Condo authority tribunal and members

  • Expenses are 132 times greater than revenues
  • For how long will the tribunal be unable to cover its operational costs?
  • Will operations be expanded or fees increased to cover expenses?

$97,768

Board of Directors remuneration and expenses

Condo communities typically require directors to serve without compensation.

  • What purpose does the Board of Directors serve? Condo owners have no interest in funding directors put in place as a reward for political service.

$1,802,735

Excess of Revenues over Expenses

Profit earned by the CAO.

Improvement from the prior (first) year deficit of $414,044.

$4,716,717

Cash at End of the Year

From Statement of Cash Flows.

An increase over the $2,890,261 from the previous year.

Had such a budget been presented to condo owners at an Annual General Meeting opposition would have been intense.  Regardless of bottom line profitability, there are areas where costs appear exceptionally high without explanation.  Condominium Authority Tribunal revenues failed to cover its expenses and have been hidden in notes rather than reported separately.  Directors could likely have been replaced at a requisitioned meeting and new directors with a more practical mindset elected.  Management could have been replaced.

Click here to access CAO Financial Statements.