Legislative hearings 22 Oct 2015
Here are the Committee Transcripts: Standing Committee on Finance and
Economic Affairs - 2015-Oct-22 - Bill 106, Protecting Condominium
Owners Act, 2015.
There were 19 witnesses who addressed the committee. Some represented
the condo industry associations, some were consumer advocates, industry
professionals and some were individual condo corporation directors or
The presentations are well worth reading as the witnesses brought
forward different issues and problems that are important to anyone who
is interested in the problems facing condo residents and owners.
Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario
Catherine Murdock, the current the president of the Association of
Condominium Managers of Ontario and Dean McCabe, a past president and
director of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario spoke
for their association.
Mr. Holland Marshall
Holland Marshall, spoke on behalf of CondoMadness and listed the changes to the Act that need to be changed or repealed.
Ms. Barbara Captijn
Barbara Captijn is a new home buyer in Toronto and is the author of a
consumer blog regarding new-home-buying issues in Toronto. She spoke
about her concerns with Tarion providing inadequate protection for
Mr. Chris Jaglowitz
Chris Jaglowitz is a partner at Gardiner Miller Arnold, a Toronto law
firm that represents and advises several hundred condominium
corporations throughout Ontario. We also assist unit owners
individually and in groups. He is also the editor of the Ontario Condo
Ms. Nancy Lee
Nancy Lee is a homeowner and past tenant of a few condominiums
throughout the GTA. Ms. Lee stated that Tarion does not provide
adequate protection for condominium owners.
Mr. Regis Jogendra
Regis Jogendra is a retired justice of the peace and he spoke on the
need to stop the annual general meetings being controlled by the
management company. They verify the proxies, they reject the proxies
and they prevent proxy holders, duly authorized by the owners, from
even participating in the meeting.
Mr. Jogendra also spoke on the need for condo directors to have proper qualifications and training.
Ms. Donna Lacourse
Ms. Lacourse stated that she is really worried about is excessive
influence and control over owners and directors by industry
She stated that when our building used ACMO-trained companies, we never
once found a person who could type an error-free letter or who could
spell or who would ever use spell-check. We never once found a person
who could prepare standardized requests for quotes or who knew how to
compare and evaluate contracts or even knew how to calculate the common
Her biggest personal concern is that the Condominium Authority will
make the names of condo directors available to the general public. "But
we directors are volunteers. We are entitled to our privacy, we are
frequently physically vulnerable in our own home, and our identities
should not be splattered over a provincial website. There is just no
legitimate need to distribute our names to unknown persons without our
explicit prior consent."
Ontario Home Builders’ Association
Mr. Stephen Hamilton and Mr. Joe Vaccaro spoke on behalf of the Ontario
Home Builders’ Association. One very interesting point that they raised
was to include the 10-day cooling off period that buyers or new condos
have to purchasers of re-sale condos.
They also support better disclosure for purchasers of new and resale
condominiums as when someone lives in a condominium, they are also
living with a new community of owners that have a shared responsibility
for the well-being of the building.
Miller Thomson LLP
Mr. Patrick Greco, Mr. Warren Kleiner and Ms. Megan Mackey are partners in the condominium law practice.
Their presentation was very interesting with these two paragraphs being of special interest:
"There must be an obligation for shared facilities agreements to be
fair and equitable. Developers often prefer themselves when they’re
drafted. Some good changes have been proposed, but those aren’t enough.
Too often, the residential components subsidize the commercial. We have
situations with commercial garages where the slab is a common element,
so the residential corporation pays for its replacement. We have
situations with residential corporations subsidizing hotel services and
amenities, and the residential condominiums have absolutely no say.
Sometimes, it’s one residential corporation subsidizing another through
unfair cost contributions."
"With these changes, shared facilities agreements being fair and
equitable, good-faith disclosure requirements and banning the leaseback
of ensuite equipment, developers will still build, sell units and make
money, but purchasers in Ontario would at least have some measure of
Eagle Audit Advantage Inc.
Ms. Judy Sue and Mr. William Stratas spoke on how easy it for
contractors, property managers and rogue condo directors to commit
"We learned that all condominium corporations are equally vulnerable to
financial exploitation and victimization by trusted persons of
authority, including managers and sometimes the directors themselves."
"In their marketing materials, all management companies claim to have
best practices in place. We have found that in some companies, there
appear to be absolutely none. This problem appears in all sizes of
management companies, including some of the largest ones. When there is
an absence of internal controls at a management company, it can permit
an astonishing scale of losses by fraud."
"Reasons for termination of managers absolutely must be disclosed. The
industry recycles its duds. This is a huge problem. The licensing
regime needs to know the real story about what’s happening in
terminations or, shall we say, voluntary departures. Whatever the case,
put it on paper, put it in writing, disclose fully and transparently.
Transparency was supposed to be one of ACMO’s themes."
"The criminal process has an importance for public deterrence and
public denunciation. It is really interesting when you compare the
record of prosecution and pursuit of management company and manager
misconduct in the United States, in major jurisdictions like Florida
and other places—I follow all this on the blogs, on the Web. They are
always prosecuting and charging major crimes. In Canada, nothing. It’s
very silent about that. People seem somehow not wanting to make the
Malvern Condominium Property Management
Mr. Van Smith is an experienced property manager. He spoke on the
number of ways fraud happens in condos and he made some good
suggestions on how to improve the procurement process.
Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
Kenneth Hale is the director of advocacy and legal services with the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario.
He stated that residential condominiums have been the primary source of
new rental housing for the last 30 years in Ontario. In the Toronto and
Ottawa CMAs alone almost 100,000 condominium units are occupied by
He want to insure that eviction of residential tenants should only be
granted by the Landlord and Tenant Board and not by the Condominium
Authority or Superior Court.
Mr. Charles Smedmor Mr. Ronald Smith
Charles Smedmor and Mr. Ron Smith are chartered professional
accountants. They are specialists in forensic and investigative
The three main points they made were that there should be enhanced
protection of the condominium's reserve funds, enhanced auditor
reporting and a code of ethics for condo directors.
Mr. Charles Smedmor stated:
"I, as a chartered accountant, am amazed at how many people—I find, and
Ron is of the same opinion—do not understand what exactly is a crime in
terms of white-collar crime in Canada. A secret commission is in
section 426 of the Criminal Code, but most people think that if someone
gives you two airline tickets to Florida in return for getting them the
gardening contract, that’s just a gift. No, it isn’t. To even seek or
to receive it is a crime.
I believe that we should have, in the education for the condominium
directors, a fair dose of explaining the crimes that they have to watch
for, the white-collar crimes that can create problems for their
condominium corporation and for them personally."
Mr. Ronald Smith:
"And to me, if the board was strong—and how do you get a strong board,
because they’re inheriting things from the board before them, and if
they’re not trained and if they don’t have the business acumen, they’re
just repeating the same sins of the past? Property managers can just
run roughshod over a board, and a board is left with being a
rubberstamp. So the board, being the gatekeepers, if they knew what
really is expected of them, then I think they would rise to the task,
because the board members are good people who are volunteering their
Condo Information Centre
Anne-Marie Ambert is an condo owner, a former president of the condo
board, and she was also the only owner on the government’s expert panel.
"In the past six years, since my website, which is meant to help condo
owners, was launched, I have received over 3,700 letters, largely from
desperate condo owners, which reflect some of the realities in about
40% of all the condos in Ontario."
"I want to point out that financial matters in condos account for over
half of all the letters that I have received. This is, in other words,
the number one problem. There is a great abuse of surplus monies.
Article 84(2) is regularly abused in the sense that many condos have,
in effect, a third budget. In addition to the yearly common expenses
and also a budget for the reserve fund, they have what they call an
“emergency” fund or a fund by any other name. This is often where the
surplus goes, and this third budget is not regulated by the act. As a
result, boards use it as a slush fund for their pet projects that may
run into the tens of thousands of dollars without having to ask owners’
"A very big issue is the lack of approval by owners of substantial
modification—which is article 97(6)(a)(i)—which will not so much change
with this act. As currently written, it states that any modification
that a board wants to make does not need owners’ approval if the
planned expenditure is lower than 10% of the annual common expenses
budget. When condos have annual budgets over $2 million—as more and
more will have, and do have—this means that a board can, in effect,
spend up to $199,000 of owners’ monies without these owners’ approval.
This is a lot of money, and this is being spent on modifications—what I
"Indeed, contractors are attracted to condos that can spend a great deal of money without having to ask owners’ permission."
"I know that in some condos you have a president, for instance, who has
been their president for about 20 years and he aged as gracefully as
possible with the rest of his poor elderly owners; he goes to each one
of these and he threatens them. He tells them, 'If you don’t vote for
me on your proxy, you won’t have the services that I’ve been giving to
you. You know how good we are.' And they’re terrified."
Mr. Calvin Tarr
Calvin Tarr. I’m here as an independent condominium owner.
That’s been my experience in condominiums. It went from getting
involved with the condominium auditor and recognizing that he wasn’t
there to serve the interests of myself as a condominium owner, or a
contractor. Next, I brought concerns around building code violations to
the property management and also to the board, to find out that there
was no one there, either, to take interest in making sure that the
things that were concerning me would be addressed. So I’m finding out
that there were no enforcement mechanisms in the condominium that I was
living in that had also to do with fire department violations. I was
unable to get any servicing around that.
So that caused the condominium to instruct management to go ahead and
tell security forces that I should not be walking in any other building
other than the one I occupied, which had me getting a trespass notice
that later went to court. Of course, it did not stand up in court
I have concerns around proxies, in that just last year there was a need
for two AGMs that had to be held in the building within a one-week
period. Given that proxies were written up, there were four positions
available. Three board members’ names that were running for the board
had their names put in the first three spots, leaving just one blank
line. That would have someone thinking that you’re only allowed to vote
for one person, when in fact you’re allowed to vote for four.
In that same election, the property management went ahead and
instructed security to just leave on doors campaign literature that was
from the president. Three candidates who were running for the board had
their campaign literature taken off of doors by security.
Ms. Reva Landau
My name is Reva Landau. I’ve been a condominium unit owner and resident
in a 200-unit condo in central Toronto since 1993. I’ve also been a
member of the board on several occasions, for a total of about nine
I have waited four months on several occasions to see approved board
minutes and financial statements. It was after significant, constant
emails, telephone calls and letters to the board that I finally
Most condominiums have at least some non-resident owners. In Toronto, a
number of condominiums have 50% to 60% non-resident owners. Unless an
owner can get a hold of the names and mailing addresses of other unit
owners, they can’t contact them to force a vote on the rules, to force
a vote on questions of changes and modifications that do fall under
section 97, and for a number of other issues.
Now, judges have ruled that unit owners do have the right to the names
and mailing addresses of other unit owners, but some condominium boards
and property managers say, “That’s just the opinion of a couple of
judges. We don’t have to release the names and mailing addresses.” They
claim privacy concerns, or that subsection 55(4) forbids them from
releasing records relating to specific units or owners
Mr. Craig Robson
My name is Craig Robson. I’m the representative of the Waterloo Region Home Builders’ Association
We have to be very, very careful about these property management
requirements and licensing. I think it’s a good thing to license
property managers generally, but if you’ve got a small condo in Fenelon
Falls with 20 units in it and the nearest property manager is a guy who
spends most of his time in the men’s room at the Queens, you would
probably not necessarily want to hire that person
Real Estate Institute of Canada
Johnmark Roberts and Scott Fischer spoke for REIC.
First, REIC supports the establishment of the two new condominium
authorities, however they are greatly concerned about the costs
associated with these self-funded bodies.
We fear that, without proper oversight, the condominium authorities
could needlessly make condominium ownership more unaffordable by
unilaterally raising fees. We recommend that Bill 106, section 129 and
section 130, be amended so that any fees and levies should be set by
the minister and Lieutenant Governor in Council for better oversight
Second, as an educational organization with a strong professional code
of ethics, REIC supports raising the standards for a condominium board
Compulsory education for new board members is a good idea but could
easily increase costs and discourage owner participation. The training
of directors should be a best practice that should be encouraged
through incentives and education but left to the discretion of each
corporation. Further, we recommend that the educational training
programs should be expanded to include leadership, governance, asset
management as well as responsibilities and liabilities.
ADR Institute of Ontario, Inc.
I am Susette Clunis and I’m the executive director for the ADR Institute of Ontario
ADRIO supports the retention of mediation as a means of resolving condominium disputes.
ADRIO believes that arbitration is an appropriate process for
determining certain condominium disputes. To the extent that some
disputes are not governed by the condominium authority, arbitration
might be a viable alternative to court. ADRIO believes that disputants
should have an option to arbitrate if all parties consent to the
ADRIO supports the inclusion of dispute resolution training for condominium managers.
ADRIO supports the development of information and educational tools,
including online material by the condominium authority and other
providers for the use of owners and condominium boards.
ADRIO supports the use of regulation to create the dispute resolution scheme.
ADRIO supports the recommendations of the Association of Condominium
Managers of Ontario and the Canadian Condominium Institute in respect
of the amendment to section 1.42(1) of Bill 106 to permit parties who
mutually agree to opt out of proceeding to the condominium authority to
mediate or arbitrate their issue privately. Parties may desire a
private and confidential process.