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Regulatory changes pave way for Expansion of the Condominium Authority Tribunal

The Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) has been advised that the government is amending a regulation under the Condominium Act, 1998 (the Condo Act) effective October 1, 2020, which will allow the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) to handle more types of disputes.

This expansion of the CAT’s jurisdiction will allow the CAO to serve Ontario’s condo owners and other members of condo communities even further, by helping them resolve more types of disputes through the CAT’s innovative, user friendly and cost-effective Online Dispute Resolution System (CAT-ODR).

What does the CAT’s expanded jurisdiction include?

Beginning October 1, 2020, the CAT can accept applications related to certain disputes about provisions in the corporation’s governing documents (i.e. the corporation’s declaration, by-laws, or rules) relating to:

  • Pets and other animals,
  • Vehicles
  • Parking and storage
  • Indemnification or compensation charges (only for charges related to disputes about the items above)

O. Reg. 179/17, which sets out the CAT’s jurisdiction under the Condo Act, will be amended to include these types of disputes.

Currently, owners and condo corporations involved in these types of disputes must go through mediation/arbitration (section 132 of the Condo Act) sometimes seek the issuance of a compliance order before the Superior Court of Justice (section 134 of the Condo Act).

However, from October 1, 2020, the CAT will assume exclusive jurisdiction over these disputes (section 1.42 of the Condo Act).

Therefore, instead of going through mediation, arbitration or the courts, these disputes will now come exclusively to the CAT.

What new types of disputes can be filed?

Beginning October 1, 2020, owners, mortgagees and condo corporations will be able to file applications with the CAT for disputes about provisions in a condo corporation’s governing documents that deal with pets or other animals, vehicles, parking and storage, or related indemnification/compensation provisions. Here are some examples of the types of disputes that will be able to be filed:

a) Disputes about compliance with provisions in the corporation’s governing documents related to pets or other animals, vehicles, parking or storage, and / or related indemnification/compensation provisions., e.g.

  • A condo corporation will be able to file an application against one or more owners because they have not complied with the governing documents.
  • An owner will be able to file an application directly against one or more owners and/or occupants for failing to comply with the corporation’s governing documents.

b) Disputes about the consistency and/or reasonableness of those provisions, e.g.

  • An owner will be able to file an application against their condo corporation because they think:
    1. That one or more provisions in the corporation’s by-laws and/ or rules relating to pets or other animals, vehicles, parking and storage, is unreasonable and/or inconsistent with the Condo Act.
    2. That one or more provisions in the corporation’s declaration relating to pets or other animals, vehicles, parking and storage is inconsistent with the Condo Act.

Note: Under the Condo Act, a corporation’s by-laws and rules are required to be reasonable. All three of the corporation’s governing documents must also be consistent with the Act.

c) Disputes about the applicability of provisions relating to pets or other animals, vehicles, parking or storage, and / or indemnification related thereto, e.g.

  • An owner will be able to file an application against their condo corporation because the corporation did not follow the correct process to implement/amend one or more of the corporation’s governing documents.

Note: Under the Condo Act, there are requirements that must be met in order to amend a corporation’s declaration, or to make, amend, or repeal the corporation’s by-laws and rules. If these processes are not followed, an owner could argue that the provisions are not enforceable.

d) Disputes about indemnification, e.g.

  • Owners and condo corporations will be able to file applications relating to provisions in a corporation’s governing documents that govern indemnification or compensation related to the above-noted disputes.

The CAT is unable to accept an application if the dispute does not deal with provisions in a corporation’s governing documents that deal with pets or other animals, vehicles, parking and storage, or related indemnification/compensation provisions.

Where can I learn more?

The CAO will be releasing more information over the next few weeks, including:

  • Updates to the CAO’s Guided Steps to Common Issues, including guidance to owners and condo corporations on how they can resolve these issues proactively;
  • Revised templates for owners and condo corporations to communicate about these issues; and
  • Interactive checklists to help people file applications with the CAT.

The CAO is pleased at the opportunity to expand our dispute resolution service to owners and condo communities across the province.