OTTAWA, Jan. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - Training and support for condominium board members. Better informed, more engaged owners. More effective communication and dispute resolution. Minimum standards and qualifications for condominium managers. These are some of the issues stakeholders from Ontario's booming condominium sector have identified as priorities for an update of the province's condominium legislation.
Canada's Public Policy Forum shared these and other findings today in its report on Stage One of a three-phase public engagement exercise that is informing the review of Ontario's Condominium Act, 1998, the responsibility of the Ministry of Consumer Services (MCS).
Through the fall of 2012, hundreds of condominium sector stakeholders—owners, developers, property managers, and others—met to talk about what changes they want to see in a modernized Condominium Act. The issues and solutions they identified can be grouped into six categories: governance, dispute resolution, financial management, consumer protection, condominium manager qualifications, and issues outside the Act (property taxes, insurance, etc.).
"Stage One of the review process was about providing a safe space for an important conversation," said Don Lenihan, Vice-President of Public Engagement at the Public Policy Forum. "We were encouraged to see such a remarkable degree of agreement among stakeholders on what the key issues are, and what needs to be done to solve them."
Since current legislation came into effect more than a decade ago, Ontario's condominium sector has seen dramatic growth. Today, condominiums account for nearly half of all new homes built in the province, and about 1.3 million Ontarians call a condominium their home.
"The results of our review will be stronger because all parts of Ontario's condominium community have come together to propose solutions and to discuss ways to improve our Condominium Act," said Margarett Best, Ontario's Minister of Consumer Services. "The next stages of our review will offer even more opportunity for public involvement. This Stage One Findings Report sets up our continuing condominium conversation and brings us closer to durable solutions."
Stage Two will begin in March 2013, when experts will review the Stage One findings and develop options for renewing the Act. In Stage Three, which will begin in the fall of 2013, the options will be reviewed and validated by condominium owners and other stakeholders, after which they will be presented to the government and the condominium sector. The public is invited to comment on the findings report by March 11, 2013 at email@example.com.
For more information on the review, please read the backgrounder. For the Executive Summary, complete Findings Report, supporting documents, and updates on future stages of the project, please visit ppforum.ca/publications
The Public Policy Forum is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of government in Canada through enhanced dialogue among the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors.
Ontario's Condominium Act Review, Stage One Findings Report
Ontario's current Condominium Act, 1998 came into effect in 2001. Since then, Ontario's condominium sector has experienced remarkable growth and change. Today, condominiums account for half of all new homes built in Ontario. With roughly 589,000 units in the province, about 1.3 million Ontarians call a condominium their home.
In June 2012, the Ontario government launched a review of the Act to align it with developments in the sector. The Ministry of Consumer Services engaged Canada's Public Policy Forum, based in Ottawa, to lead a public engagement process to review and recommend changes to the Act. Working with MASS LBP, a Toronto-based consulting firm specializing in citizens' panels, the Forum is engaging condominium owners, developers, managers and other community stakeholders in a three-stage, 18-month review process that will identify issues, consider options, and propose an action plan for renewal.
Stage One of the review was launched in September 2012. It involved four discussion streams:
- Minister's Public Information Sessions provided information about the review and convened town-hall forums for over 500 participants in five Ontario cities (Toronto, Ottawa, London, Mississauga and Scarborough);
- A Residents' Panel, comprised of 36 condominium residents from across the province, met for three full-day sessions;
- Stakeholder roundtables brought together 25 stakeholders from across the condominium community for four full-day sessions; and
- The entire condominium community was invited to provide input. Review organizers received over 400 emails and letters, including approximately 180 formal submissions.
The issues and solutions raised in the four discussion streams fall into six categories:
- Dispute resolution
- Financial management
- Consumer protection
- Condominium manager qualifications
- Issues outside the Condominium Act (e.g. property taxes, insurance, tenant rights and responsibilities, etc.)
With the release of the Findings Report, Stage One of the review process is complete. Stage Two will begin early in March 2013, when experts in condominium issues, including owners, will meet to review the findings report. They will develop a detailed set of options for renewal of the Act. In Stage Three, which will begin in the fall of 2013, the options will be reviewed and validated by owners and other stakeholders, after which they will be presented to the government and the condominium sector.
For more information and updates on this project, please visit www.ppforum.ca
SOURCE: PUBLIC POLICY FORUM
For further information:
Director of Communications, Public Policy Forum
Tel.: (613) 238-7858, ext. 220
Director of Communications, Ministry of Consumer Services' Minister's Office
Tel: (416) 326-1939