New (Ontario) condo laws target boards and directors

The CBC reported on Newsworld this morning changes to Ontario condominium legislation and management practices. The text of the CBC’s report follows, and the full report can be found (with pictures and links to related stories) here on the CBC’s web site.

The Ontario government has announced a series of changes to the way condominium boards are governed.

The announcement comes after CBC Toronto uncovered problems that downtown condo owners were having with several boards, including alleged corruption and conflicts of interest.

The new laws announced Tuesday by the Ontario ministry of government and consumer services seek to fix what some saw as loopholes in current condominium regulations.

Changes, to be implemented this fall, include:

• Regular mandatory updates about a condo corporation to help improve communication between boards and owners.
• Improving condo corporation governance and addressing conflicts of interest by introducing new disclosure requirements for directors, including whether they are not owners or occupiers of units in the condo or if they have interests in contracts involving the corporation.
• Mandatory training for condo directors.
• Clearer rules to make it easier for condo owners to access records.
• New notices, quorum and voting rules to make it easier for owners to participate in owners’ meetings.
• Mandatory education requirements for condo managers applying for a general licence.

“Creating new consumer protections will help to build more sustainable condo communities so residents moving into condos today and in the future will be able to look forward to healthy condo communities and peace of mind in the place they call home,” Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles said in a statement.

The statement also highlighted the establishment of the Condominium Authority of Ontario CAO) and the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO), two previously announced administrative authorities that will be designated this fall.

The CAO will provide education and promote awareness of condo owner rights and responsibilities, as well as manage the Condominium Authority Tribunal, a body that will resolve disputes.

The CMRAO will regulate and licence condo managers.

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Condominium corporations benefit greatly when board members have financial knowledge and follow common-sense financial management processes. Does your condo board include at least one person with financial experience, who can analyze and clearly communicate the condominium corporation’s current and forecast financial position to other board members and all owners?

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