New federal and provincial legislation came into effect on October 17, 2018 to legalize the possession/use/production of cannabis for recreational purposes in private residences.

As part of the Condominium Authority of Ontario’s (CAO) mandate to provide general information on emerging issues that affect condominium communities across Ontario, the following is an overview of Ontario’s cannabis legalization framework and options available to condominium corporations under the Condominium Act, 1998 (the Act).

Highlights of New Cannabis Legislation for Condominiums

The federal Cannabis Act allows condominium occupants, aged 19 years and older, to:

  • use recreational cannabis in their unit or on common element space;
  • grow up to four plants for recreational use per residence/unit (not per occupant).

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 explicitly prohibits the smoking of cannabis in any indoor common area of a condominium, including parking garages, party or entertainment rooms, laundry facilities, lobbies and exercise areas (under section 12 (1)).

Please note: Medical cannabis is not affected by this legislation. For more information on human rights accommodations, please refer to the CAO’s Cannabis Common Issues pages

Options Available to Condominiums to Manage Cannabis Use/Production

Should a condominium corporation decide to further manage the use/production of recreational cannabis, the approach would be similar to how corporations already manage other issues, such as those related to tobacco smoking or service animals.

Under the Act, options available to condominium corporations to manage recreational use/production of cannabis include: amending the declaration or making/amending a rule. Many corporations may prefer the ease of making or amending a rule over amending the declaration. For more information on amending the declaration, please see section 107 of the Act.

Overview of Process to Make/Amend a Rule Related to Cannabis

A condominium board is allowed under section 58 of the Act to make, amend or repeal a rule that is reasonable and consistent with the Act, declaration, and by-laws to:

  • promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners/occupants and the property and the assets.
  • prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units, common elements and assets.

Rules may apply to the individual units as well as the condominium’s common elements, including exclusive-use common elements such as balconies.

Notice of a proposed new or amended rule must be given to the owners of the corporation and must include:

a) A copy of the proposed rule;
b) The date that the rule is proposed to take effect;
c) A statement that the owners have the right to requisition a meeting of owners in response to the proposed rule;
d) A statement that the rule will become effective at the times determined under section 58 (7) and 58 (8) of the Act;

e) A copy of section 46 and section 58 of the Act, which details how an owner may requisition a meeting of owners and the requirements to create rules.

The effective date of the proposed rule must be at least 30 days after the notice was given. However, this date is also subject to section 58 (7) and section 58 (8) of the Act.

Section 58 (7) of the Act specifies that:

  • If a meeting of the owners is requisitioned during the 30-day minimum notice period, the proposed rule cannot take effect before the meeting is held. A vote may be held at the meeting to determine whether the proposed rule will take effect or not (see below for more information on how to requisition a meeting).
  • If no meeting of the owners is requisitioned, then the rule will take effect on date indicated in the notice.

Section 58 (8) of the Act specifies that:

  • A rule or an amendment to a rule that is similar to or has the same purpose or effect as a rule that was previously amended or repealed within the past two years, cannot be enforced until the owners approve it at an owners’ meeting.

Overview of Process for Owners to Requisition a Meeting to Consider a Proposed Rule

Section 46 of the Act sets out the requirements for requisitioning and holding a meeting of owners. The following provides a general overview of these processes.

To discuss or challenge a proposed rule, a requisition signed by owners representing at least 15% of voting units must be delivered within the 30-day notice period, and:

a) Be in writing;
b) State the business of the meeting (e.g. to vote upon the recently proposed cannabis restriction rule);
c) Be delivered personally to the corporation president or secretary or mailed to the corporation’s address of service. Once the board receives a valid requisition, it must call and hold the meeting of the owners within 35 days.
 

To hold a vote at a meeting of the owners, at least 25% of the corporation’s voting units must be represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.  This is called quorum. If quorum is not met, or the vote is in favour of the proposed rule, then the proposed rule can take effect on the later of the end of the meeting or the effective date outlined in the notice of proposed rule to the owners. If the vote is against the proposed rule, then the rule, as written, will not take effect.

Owners’ Obligation to Communicate Condominium Rules to Lessees/Tenants

Where an owner of a unit leases the unit, section 83 and section 119 of the Act set out requirements for:

  • The owner of a unit to provide a copy of the condominium corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules to the lessee;
  • The owner to take all reasonable steps to ensure that an occupier of the owner’s unit and all invitees, agents and employees of the owner or occupier comply with the condominium corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules, in addition to the Act.

For more information:

 

For more information on cannabis issues in condominiums, including an overview of the legal considerations and possible solutions, please visit our Cannabis Common Issues page.