If you have any questions about any of the information on the CAO’s guided steps to common issues, please contact us directly.
As a condo unit owner, you have a right to access certain records about how your condo corporation is run and managed. Prospective buyers and agents also have a right to access certain records. Condominium directors must ensure that certain records are kept for a prescribed period.
As of November 1, 2017, there is a new, mandatory form that must be used to request access to, or copies of, condominium corporation records. You can use the Request for Records form to request copies of records and to indicate whether you would like electronic or paper copies.
Under the Condominium Act, 1998, you have a right to access :
- The financial records of your corporation;
- The minute book containing the minutes of owners’ meetings and the minutes of board meetings;
- Your condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws, and rules;
- A copy of any return or notice that the corporation has filed with the CAO;
- All lists, items, records and other documents from your condo corporation’s turn-over meeting;
- A list of the names of the owners of each unit in the corporation and their address for service;
- The budget for the first fiscal year;
- All reserve fund studies and all plans to increase the reserve fund;
- All agreements entered by or on behalf of the corporation;
- All instruments appointing a proxy or ballots for a meeting of owners that are submitted at the meeting; and,
- Other records as specified in regulations or your condo corporation’s by-laws.
Recent changes to Ontario Regulation: 48/01 have expanded the types of records that owners, purchasers, and mortgagees have a right to access.
Examples of common records issues include:
- You are unable to get access to a record; or,
- You disagree with the fee your condo corporation is charging for access to the records.
Section 55 of Ontario’s Condominium Act, 1998 (“the Act”) establishes the basic obligations of condominium corporations with respect to records. The Act requires that certain records must be kept and made accessible to owners and purchasers.
Records to be kept
Condominium corporations are required to keep certain types of records. You can find the types of records that condo corporations are required to maintain in section 55 (1) of the Act, and section 13.1 of Ontario Regulation 48/01.
Recent changes to section 13.1 have added several additional types of records that must be maintained, over and above those specified in the Act.
You should also review your condo corporation’s by-laws. Your condo by-laws may list additional records that the board has chosen to keep and provide to condo owners.
Condominium corporations must keep (or retain) certain records for certain periods of time. There are different requirements for many types of records. For example, under section 55 (2) of the Act, financial records must be retained for six years.
Method of retention
Section 13.2 of Ontario Regulation 48/01 sets out the requirements for the storage of records.
Under section 55 (3) of the Act, condominium corporations are required to allow an owner, purchaser, or mortgagee of a unit to access or get copies of the corporation’s records.
However, owners, purchasers, and mortgagees do not have a right to access records that contain:
- personal information about employees of the condominium corporation;
- records relating to pending litigation or insurance investigations; or,
- personal information about specific units or owners.
Under section 55 (3) of the Act, condominium corporations must provide copies of records to owners, purchasers, or mortgagees, if requested. As of November 1, 2017, there is a mandatory form that must be used to request records.
Response to request
After receiving a request for records, condominium corporations have 30 days to respond. Condominium corporations are required to use the Board’s Response to Request for Records form to send their response. This form / response must include:
- A description of each record requested
- An indication of if it is a core record of the corporation
- A decision on if they will provide the requester with access to, or copies of, each record requested
- If the requester is not allowed to access a record, the specific provision of the Act that the corporation thinks allows them to refuse access
- A location where the record can be accessed if no copies were requested.
This response will be especially useful when deciding whether you think you have been unfairly denied access to records.
Condo corporations are also allowed to charge a fee to reproduce any records requested. Under section 13.3 (8) of Ontario Regulation 48/01, the fee must be reasonable, and the board can charge no more than 20 cents per page for any photocopying that may be required.
If the record requested is a core record, the condominium corporation cannot charge any fee, except the 20 cents per page for printing or photocopying.
If the condominium corporation has provided a response to the request, you have 60 days to return the response and pay the fee. If you do not, the request will be considered abandoned.
If the condominium corporation has not provided a response to the request, the request is considered abandoned if you have not filed a case with the CAT within 6 months.
The records that a condominium corporation provides access or copies of must be accompanied by a written document that states:
- If the board has redacted or removed any part of the record, and, if so, the reason why
- The actual costs that were incurred to provide access or copies.
If the actual costs were less than the requester paid, the condominium corporation should give the requester a refund of the difference.
If the actual costs were more than the fee that the requester paid, then the requester must pay the condominium corporation the least of:
- The difference;
- 10% of the total costs incurred by the corporation; or,
- 10% of the fee they paid.
For example, if the requestor paid $50 and the total costs incurred by the corporation were $60, then the owner would have to pay the condominium corporation $5 (i.e., 10% of the $50 fee they paid).
We strongly recommend that you attempt all the steps below in sequence (where appropriate) before filing your dispute with the Condominium Authority Tribunal.
1. Understand your rights and obligations
The Act contains information about your ability to access a record. Your condo corporation may also have by-laws that deal with access to records. Refer to Step #2 – Legal Considerations and related links to learn more.
If you have already read this information, proceed to step 2.
2. Communicate in writing
What if I want access or copies of records?
Your first step to get access to records is to send a request for access to, or copies of, the records to your condominium corporation. You must use the new mandatory form to request records.
You can send the request to your condominium corporation by:
- Placing it in the mailbox; or,
- By fax or email, if your condominium corporation can receive requests by fax or email.
If you send the form by mail, courier, or by placing it in the mailbox, you can send it to the address for service of the corporation, the manager, or the condominium management provider.
Your condominium corporation has 30 days to respond to your request.
Be sure to keep a copy of your request and to note the date and time you delivered it. If you sent it by fax email, you may want to keep a copy of the email you sent.
It is important to note that there may be a fee associated with obtaining or accessing records.
What if I have concerns about the response I have received?
If your condominium corporation has provided you with a response to your request and you are confused or concerned about the contents of the response, you may wish to proceed to step 3.
What if my condominium corporation has not given me a response?
If you do not receive a response to your request within 30 days, proceed to step 3.
3. Follow up with your condominium corporation
Your next step is to follow up with your condominium corporation or manager.
There may be delays in providing the records you have requested if they contain personal information that cannot be disclosed. If this is the case, your condo corporation will have to review and redact the records to protect this information. It may also take some time to compile the records you have requested, particularly if they are older, are stored off-site, or if you have requested many records that need to be collected.
When you follow up with your condo corporation, they should be able to give you an estimate of when they can provide you with the records you have requested.
What if the self-help tools don’t resolve the issue?
If you have taken these steps but still have issues, you may wish to file a case with the Condominium Authority Tribunal.
File an application with the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)
As of November 1, 2017, anyone with a dispute about the records of a condominium corporation in Ontario can file a case at the CAT. Records disputes are covered by section 55 of the Condominium Act, 1998.
Please note that if the dispute relates to a request for records, you can only file with the CAT if you made your request for records on or after November 1, 2017. If the request was made before November 1, 2017, you cannot file with the CAT.
If you want to make another request for the records, you must use the new mandatory form. Condominium corporations have 30 days to respond to these requests.
Your dispute about records must also have happened within the last two years if you want to file a case with the CAT. For example, you cannot file a case about a records dispute that happened in 2014.
The CAT can refuse to accept your case if:
- It does not deal with a records issue
- If the request was made before November 1, 2017
- The dispute is more than two years old
- Before filing with the CAT, you are strongly encouraged to read all the information on records issues available on the CAO’s website, paying particular attention to the Step #2 – Legal Considerations tab. Please note that this information is not legal advice, and you are encouraged to consult with a lawyer or paralegal should you wish to get a legal opinion.
- You are also strongly encouraged to review our User Checklist: Filing a Records Case with the CAT, and to read about the CAT’s process here before your file your case.
- If you are a condominium director or manager, please review this important information about filing or joining a case.
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