Long-awaited Alberta condo legislation falls short, group says
Edmonton Journal
By Mariam Ibrahim

09 December 2014

EDMONTON - The local chapter of a national condominium advocacy group is calling on the province to shelve long-awaited condo legislation introduced this fall, saying it falls short on consumer protections and leaves too many details to be decided behind closed doors.

Bill 9, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, proposes 50 changes to existing condo laws. The government says the overhaul is aimed at protecting owners and ensuring practices are brought up to current standards.

But advocates worry the legislation, developed after two years of consultations, lacks teeth and falls short on promised protections in a rapidly expanding condo market.

The North Alberta chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute called Tuesday for the government to adopt a package of more than a dozen amendments it says will ensure stricter accountability for condo developers and builders, along with enhanced protections for owners. The proposals are detailed online at www.fixbill9.ca.

The organization says provisions for issues such as insurance, property manager accreditation and document disclosure to condo owners and boards are not spelled out in Bill 9, which was tabled in the legislature early last week.

“These keys issues may be legislated behind closed doors and outside the legislature where elected officials and the public have no input,” said Anand Sharma, president of the organization’s local chapter.

Opposition parties were unanimous in echoing the call for the bill to be shelved, but Service Alberta Minister Stephen Khan said the province is pushing on.

“We feel quite confident that the consumers are very well looked after in this bill and we’re going to move forward with it,” he said.

He said he expects the bill’s corresponding regulations to be drafted within the next year, a process that will include further consultation. Regulations, however, are ultimately decided by the government and aren’t subject to public debate or scrutiny.

More than 8,000 condominium corporations are in operation across Alberta and condos account for roughly 20 per cent of homes sold annually. One-third of homes sold in Edmonton and Calgary are condos.

Proposed amendments to the legislation were being debated by MLAs Tuesday evening. The bill is expected to pass third reading in Tory-dominated legislature this week.

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