Webinar on Managing and De-escalating Conflict in Condos
The Condo Authority recently hosted a webinar on managing and de-escalating conflict in condos. The webinar featured a panel of experts that included Celia Chandler, Condor Security CEO Benjamin Tabesh and CAO Data & Policy Director Paul Duffy.
A recording of the webinar is available below:
Q&As from the webinar
How can condo corporations deal with competing human rights claims?
Corporations should try to understand the nature of the claims and see if there is a way to work with the parties collaboratively towards solutions that can accommodate everyone.
As covered in our recent webinar, ultimately corporations are required to accommodate up to the point of undue hardship under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Undue hardship is assessed based on the likelihood that the accommodation would cause significant costs or health & safety risks for the accommodator.
Corporations should seek legal advice to understand their specific situations.
Can a condo corporation request an individual to provide supporting information from a medical professional when considering an accommodation request?
Corporations can request supporting documentation related to the accommodation, but only up to the point that is required to consider the individual’s request.
Seek legal advice to understand your specific obligations.
Our legal counsel advised us that harassment “policies” are no longer viable – that the better route is to set a “rule”. Does the CAO have any opinions on this?
Condo corporations can restrict owner behaviour through rules.
Policies, in turn, can provide transparency and consistency regarding how the rule is enforced.
A recent CAT case dealt with this issue and showed that policies that are not properly defined as are unenforceable.
What steps can condo corporations take before escalating a harassment dispute to the CAT?
Review your governing documents to understand the requirements at your condo corporation.
Gather information from the resident who raised the issue.
Contacting the owner causing the issue.
Follow up with the owner causing the issue after giving them some time to respond.
File a case with the CAT if the above steps do not work.
Read more about this on our page about solving issues relating to harassment.
What CAO resources can we use as guidelines for addressing harassment?
- Common Issues: Harassment
- Harassment Solutions for Condo Owners
- Harassment Solutions for Condominium Boards and Managers
- Letter templates specific to harassment issues
- Letter and email templates for general issues
How can condo corporations handle complaints about common noise that most people would consider reasonable?
The following criteria can be used to determine if noise in a condo should be considered a normal part of communal living or if it is “unreasonable”:
- Whether it is prohibited by the condominium corporation’s governing documents
- Whether it affects a person’s right to use and enjoy their unit
Corporations may share with owners that they can file a CAT case if they have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issue.
The Tribunal will assess the unique facts of their case and decide on whether the noise is unreasonable.
Working collaboratively in condos
What can we do if the condo corporation ignores requests from owners?
Condominium living requires mutual respect and understanding between owners and corporations.
Owners have several ways of dealing with an unresponsive condominium board, including:
- Writing to the board through email, letter, or the corporation’s virtual platform
- Requesting attendance at a board meeting
- Raising concerns at the AGM
- Requestioning an owners’ meeting
Owners can also remove board directors if 50 percent of all the units in the vote in favour of removal.
What can a corporation do if they are unsatisfied with the management company they have hired?
Management companies are hired by boards.
Boards can either engage with the manager or management company to improve performance or choose to terminate the working relationship.
Read more about this in CAO’s Best Practices Guide: Overseeing Condominium Managers.
Where can owners escalate complaints about condo managers?
Owners should raise performance concerns with the board.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario may also help.
The CMRAO’s jurisdiction is listed on this page.
What can owners do to address board misconduct?
Find out if your governing documents have specific protocols for raising misconduct.
Raise your concern with your board through a letter or email.
Raise your concern at your AGM.
Requisition an owners’ meeting to raise the issue.
The requisition requires support from owners who own at least 15% of the units.
Owners can remove directors before the expiration of the director’s term of office by voting at a meeting called for that purpose. The owners of more than 50% of all the units in the condominium corporation must vote in favour of the removal.
What can a corporation do if they have an even number of board members and there are often ties in votes?
The Condo Act allows corporations to increase or decrease (to a minimum of 3) the number of directors on a board.
Boards can create a by-law to make this change happen.
What if a board publishes its minutes? Can they redact information about harassment or mental health issues that identify a specific individual?
The Condo Act states that the right to examine or obtain copies of records does not apply to records relating to specific units or owners.
Therefore, the condominium corporation would be required to redact information which relates to this.