by: Linda Pinizzotto, DStG – Dame Order of St George – Founder CEO COA – Condo Owners Association
Condo Owners Association (COA) we would like to clarify some of the details. The Condo Owners Association is a non profit Association representing and advocating for Condo Owners Rights is a Stakeholder in the Condo Act Review as announced on June 8, 2012 by the McGuinty Government. https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/21256/building-a-better-condominium-act This Review was a three-stage collaborative approach with public engagement to modernize the Condominium Act. An up-to-date report of Stage One Findings and an overview of the process to include move forward measures can be found on www.COAontario.com under Condo Act Review.
The Province of Ontario contracted Canada’s Public Policy Forum to create an Advisory Group of experts in the condominium sector. There are several members of our Provincial Government; in particular Ministry of Consumers Services involved and there was a Resident’s Panel which included 36 randomly selected condo owners and residents from across Ontario for consultation. Linda’s own experience as the Founder President of the Condo Owners Association includes 17 years as the President of 2 Condo Boards, 33 year well known Veteran Realtor and as a Director and Government Relations Chair of a Real Estate Board at the time she founded the COA. She understood the problems and difficulties over real world experiences, challenges and solutions in new vs resale condominiums to include warranty coverage (Tarion) and investment value vs maintenance fees vs reserve funds to identify the need for a long term sustainable future for all condominiums.
The Advisory Group includes condominium service related trades representation and their Associations and new construction representation from Builders and Associated Associations however their expertise has assisted in identifying concerns on the present Condo Act and potential resolutions. The Condo Owners Association involvement provides 100% representation and advocacy for Condominium Owners.
COA submitted numerous recommendations to be included in the new Condo Act, some of which MPP Marchese has identified in his Private Members Bill however he does not cover all of the necessary requirements. We have to consider both new and resale condominium requirements depending on the situation at hand. We may put an onus on the new building occupancy and registration side of the equation but at the same time, there are concerns with existing buildings relating to their age, condition and present financial situation. The Condo Act is very complex and it is not a simple solution to just have a Tribunal. In fact we see a Tribunal as an expensive and complicated process with unlimited time loss for resolution and potential conflicts not getting resolved in the interim while everyone waits in line.
COA would like to see the revised Condo Act include a strict mandate of consumer protection measures whereby Board of Directors fine process for non-compliance of the Act to ensure good governance and transparency, Government Licensed Property Management Firms and Property Managers; third party holders of Proxies to prevent the present day abuse and fraud plus good dispute resolutions and a series of other important changes. Sadly, the electronic system is not fool proof to prevent fraudulent proxies. In fact many Condo Board of Directors use this system to push Condo Owners into signing changes to By-Laws and the Condo Declaration when they constantly spam Condo Owners to advise them they must sign. They do not have to sign, in fact if anyone has a Corporation that is doing these types of Spams, they should immediately report it to the CAO, Condo Authority of Ontario. They need to protect their Human Rights and not be forced into signing off due to intentional, consistent spams. Virtual AGM’s have not been a good practice for Condo Owners. The Boards are not visible and/or accountable behind the screen. They have the ability to shut down anyone where they feel a comment may not be favourable to their practices. While we commend MPP Rosario Marchese for his initiatives with the Private Members bill in 2014; the Condo Act is too complex and needs the structure of this Advisory Group of Professionals who are involved on a day to day bases in the Condominium world. We originally had concerns on the possibility of biased recommendations however we have all developed a high level of working respect. The Condo Owners Association stands strong to represent and advocate on behalf of Condo Owners. If there is one complaint that has surfaced time and time again is the apathy amongst Condo Owners. One important point is to remind Condo Buyers and Owners to educate yourself about condominiums. The COA website provides you with an excellent resource of information.
If you are a Condo Owners please register with COAOntario www.COAOntario.com We have COA Divisions across the Province www.COAtoronto.com if you are in Toronto.