Who are we and why do we exist?
In 2012, the Ontario government initiated an extensive review of the province’s condo law that involved an 18-month public engagement process. This process generated more than 2,000 submissions and more than 200 recommendations, with calls to strengthen consumer protection and support the needs of both current and future condo owners. Canada’s Public Policy Forum has published reports outlining the findings and recommendations from Stage One and Stage Two of this review.
Based on the results of the review, the government introduced the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (PCOA), which has since been passed by the Legislative Assembly and received Royal Assent. The PCOA makes changes to the existing Condominium Act, 1998 (Condominium Act), and enacts the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (CMSA). The changes introduced by the PCOA also pave the way for the creation of two new administrative authorities: a condominium authority under the Condominium Act and an administrative authority to administer the CMSA. The ministry is proposing to designate the CAO as the condominium authority under the Condominium Act and the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) as the administrative authority under the CMSA.
- Once the CAO is officially designated by the government as an administrative authority, it will provide online services and information for condo owners, offer education for condo directors regarding their rights and responsibilities, and create an accessible and affordable dispute resolution service. This organization aims to ensure condo owners in Ontario are equipped with the tools and information they need to enjoy condo ownership.
- Once the CMRAO is officially designated by the government as an administrative authority, it will administer a mandatory licensing system for Ontario’s condo managers and condo management service providers. Its goal is to improve the way that condos are managed and run, aiming for high-quality condo management services across Ontario.
Once designated by the government and fully functioning, both new authorities will be working to help improve overall condominium ownership and management and to address the concerns raised by the public during the recent review. Click here for more detailed information about the new legislation related to these two new authorities.
How is the CAO structured and run?
The CAO was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in July 2016. It is anticipated that CAO will be designated as an administrative authority in 2017, at which time it will begin operating. As an administrative authority, it is governed by an independent board of directors, and is a self-funded body. Similar to other administrative authorities, the CAO will be funded through fees, which will be charged to condo corporations and users of its services. Fees will only be collected when the CAO begins to offer its services to the condominium community, and after designation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The CAO is accountable to the government of Ontario and reports to the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). Click here for ministry announcement.
What will the CAO do once it is operating?
When it is fully operating, the CAO will offer services that protect and serve the condo community. For example, it will provide information for condo owners, including basic information about condo ownership and condo living, as well as a guide for condo buyers. It will also provide education for condo directors to ensure that condo boards run smoothly, and will provide other helpful tools and resources.
Importantly, the CAO will offer self-help tools for members of the condo community who have questions or want to resolve disputes on their own. The new dispute resolution service will include online guided negotiation, mediation and adjudication to help resolve issues and settle disputes in an easy, cost effective and accessible manner.
The CAO will also develop and provide a registry of all Ontario condo corporations, which will include members of the condo board.
When can I begin to access the CAO’s services?
It is anticipated that CAO will be designated by the government as an administrative authority in late 2017, at which time it will offer initial services. Until then, the CAO will be working to build its systems and processes to prepare for delivering services to condo communities across Ontario. Some of the key activities to-date in preparation to open our doors include:
- Appointing the interim Board of Directors by the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
- Developing its by-law and operating policies and guidelines
- Hiring staff on an interim basis and retaining legal counsel
- Issuing several tenders, including to start building our enterprise-wide technology and web service
- Securing a vendor to develop condo director educational requirements
- Establishing a partnership to build an online dispute resolution system
- Setting up a reference group to engage experts and stakeholders to support development of its systems
- Developing plans to inform the condominium sector of our progress
- Sourcing and leasing interim office space