Training for Workers that use Fall Protection – April 1, 2017 Deadline Extended to October 1, 2017

We previously posted a blog on April 1, 2015 entitled “New Requirements Under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation”.  The blog addressed new training requirements wherein an employer was required to ensure that workers complete a basic health and safety awareness program.

The training requirements apply to the following methods of fall protection:

  • a travel restraint system;
  • a fall restricting system;
  • a fall arrest system;
  • a safety net;
  • a work belt;
  • a safety belt.

Some employees, that had previously completed a training program before the regulation came into force on April 1, 2015, were given a grace period for completing the new training.  The grace period was to expire on April 1, 2017.  However, a recent update to the Ministry of Labour website states “The Ministry has now extended the transition period by six (6) months to October 1, 2017. Employers will have until then to ensure that workers successfully complete a CPO-approved working at heights training program.

What does this mean for your condominium? 

  • If you are considered an employer and have employees that use any of the foregoing methods of fall protection, you are required to ensure that the employee(s) complete the required new training. If any of your employees met the fall protection training requirements of the Construction Projects Regulation prior to April 1, 2015,  they will now need to complete the new training by October 1, 2017.
  • If you hire a contractor with workers that will be working at heights (i.e. cleaning windows or repairing the roof), confirm with the contractors that their workers have been trained to work at heights.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about Occupational Health and Safety issues in condominiums.

Summary of Draft Regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998 – Meetings and Voting

As we noted in a previous blog, the province has published the Proposed Regulations and a Summary of the first phase of the proposed new Regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998, as amended (“The Amended Act”). This is the fourth in a series of blogs that we will be preparing in relation to the proposed changes.

In this Blog No. 4, I explore what the Summary has to say about Changes to Meetings and Voting.

The Summary respecting the proposed new Regulations refers to some Changes to Meetings and Voting.   In the case of owners’ meetings, the changes will generally apply to meetings held at least 40 days after the Regulations come into force (unless the notice of meeting is sent before the Regulations come into force).

[Note: The target date for the Regulations to come into force appears to be July 1, 2017.]

Here are some of the highlights.

New Quorum Requirements for Meetings of Owners

Currently, the quorum requirement for meetings of the owners is the owners of 25% of the units (unless the corporation has passed a by-law to increase the quorum requirement to 33 1/3%).

Under the proposed Regulations, quorum for the third attempt to hold a meeting will be reduced to 15% for the following types of meetings:

  • AGMs
  • Turnover Meetings
  • Any meeting to appoint a new Auditor
  • Any meeting to elect Directors

Secret Voting

Condominiums will be deemed to have a standard by-law provision stating that owners voting by ballot, by proxy or by telephonic or electronic means must always be permitted to vote secretly – without revealing their names or unit numbers. (This standard by-law provision can only be amended after turnover.)

Recorded Vote

The Regulations will confirm the meaning of a “recorded vote” (also defined under the amendments to the Act).

Proxies

There will be a mandatory proxy form to be contained in the new Regulations.

By-law Voting

The required vote to confirm certain NEW types of by-laws will be reduced to an ordinary vote – ie. a majority of the votes cast with a quorum of units represented (either in person or by proxy) at the meeting.  The Summary says that this reduced voting requirement will apply to By-laws

  1. To add information to be included in a periodic information certificate, an information certificate update or a new owner information certificate.
  2. To specify more frequent time periods for sending a periodic information certificate.
  3. To specify additional disclosure obligations under subsection 29 (1) (f) and 29 (2) (f) of the Condominium Act, and any related time periods for those additional obligations.
  4. To govern the manner in which required information is presented at a meeting of owners, and identifying additional material to place before the owners at the meeting.
  5. To govern the manner in which an individual may notify the board under clause 45.1 (1) (a) of the act, and the manner in which an owner may provide material to the board under clause 45.1 (1) (b) of the act.
  6. To govern additional materials that are to be included in a preliminary notice or notice of meeting sent by the condominium corporation.
  7. To specify the method of electronic communication the condominium corporation can use in relation to communication by the corporation under the Condominium Act and the accompanying regulations.
  8. To govern the manner in which an owner may be present at a meeting of owners or represented by proxy.
  9. To allow for voting by telephonic or electronic means under s. 52(1)(b)(iii) of the Condominium Act.
  10. To specify additional records that must be maintained and to increase required retention periods.

Board Meetings by Teleconference

Boards will be entitled to hold Board Meetings by teleconference or other method of concurrent communication.

Stay tuned for our next blog in this series about the new Regulations.

#ThrowbackThursday: “Who’s Who in Condo Law” (June/July 1987 The Condominium Magazine)

We have been posting many educational and information-filled blogs about the extensive new changes to Condominium Law that are underway. For a change of pace, on a lighter note, we thought it would be fun to reminisce about earlier days in the condominium industry.

We were reviewing an article in The Condominium Magazine, dated June/July 1987, and this article entitled “Who’s Who in Condo Law: Twenty of the Country’s Finest” caught our eye.  Click here to read the article: Who’s Who in Condo Law.

We thought our readers may be interested in seeing the who’s who of condominium law from thirty years ago .  Our very own Jim Davidson is looking very dapper.   Recognize anyone else?

 

Summary of Draft Regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998 -Required Disclosure by Directors and Candidates

As we noted in a previous blog, the province has published the Proposed Regulations and a Summary of the first phase of the proposed new Regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998, as amended (“The Amended Act”). This is the third in a series of blogs that we will be preparing in relation to the proposed changes.

In this Blog No. 3, I explore what the Summary has to say about Required Disclosure by Condominium Directors and Candidates.

Section 29 of the Amended Act says that a person cannot be a condominium director if he or she has not complied with “prescribed disclosure obligations”.  The Summary provides a list of information that (according to the draft Regulations) must be disclosed.

What must be disclosed?  Here’s the LIST:

NOTE:

  • The disclosure obligations do not apply to director candidates before turnover.
  • The disclosure obligations that apply to all other director candidates are noted with a (1).
  • The disclosure obligations that apply to directors after turnover are noted with a (2).
  • The disclosure obligations that apply to directors before turnover are noted with a (3).

Legal Proceedings Involving the Corporation

(1)              If the candidate is a party to any active legal proceeding to which the condominium corporation is a party, this must be disclosed along with a general description of the proceeding.

(1)(2)        If the candidate’s / director’s spouse, child or parent, or spouse’s child or parent is a party to any active legal proceeding to which the condominium corporation is a party, this must be disclosed along with a general description of the proceeding.

Convictions under Condominium Act or Regulations

(1)(2)(3)       If the candidate / director has been convicted of an offence under the Condominium Act or Regulations in the past 10 years, this must be disclosed.

Interests in Contracts or Transactions

(1) (2)        If the candidate / director has an interest in a contract or transaction (other than as a purchaser, mortgagee or owner/occupier of a unit) to which the condominium corporation is also a party, or to which the developer (or a developer affiliate) is also a party, this must be disclosed along with certain details of the contract or transaction.

Arrears over 60 days

(1)             If the candidate is a unit owner and his or her common expenses are in arrears for sixty days or more, this must be disclosed.

By-laws

Additional disclosure obligations can be set out in the corporation’s by-laws.

In summary, directors and candidates will have new disclosure obligations; but in most cases, there will be nothing to disclose.  As long as the director / candidate (a) is not 60 days in arrears, (b) has not been convicted of an offence under the Act or Regulations, (c) is not involved in any legal proceedings with the corporation and (d) is not (and his or her family is not) involved in any special contracts or transactions with the corporation or the developer, there will be nothing to disclose.

These new disclosure requirements are expected to come into force on July 1, 2017.  Directors would have to make any required disclosure on that date.

In terms of candidates, the disclosure requirements would apply to any election held at least 40 days after the amended Section 29 of the Condominium Act comes into force (and provided the meeting notice is also delivered after Section 29 comes into force).

Finally, the Summary describes different disclosure methods and timing for candidates, depending upon the election or appointment procedure that is being followed in the particular case.

Stay tuned for our next blog in this series which will review what the Summary has to say about Changes to Meetings and Voting.

Summary of Draft Regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998 – Communication with Owners (and mortgagees) “Information Certificates”

As we noted in a previous blog, the province has published the Proposed Regulations and a Summary of the first phase of the proposed new Regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998, as amended (“The Amended Act”).  This is the second in a series of blogs that we will be preparing in relation to the proposed changes.

In this Blog No. 2, I explore the following question: What are the “information certificates” that the condominium corporation is required to send to owners (and mortgagees)?

There is a new requirement for condominium corporations to provide owners (and mortgagees) with “information certificates”.

Section 26.3 of the Amended Act states: 

A corporation shall send to the owners,

(a) at least once every three months or at such other time periods as are prescribed, a certificate that is prepared in accordance with the regulations and that contains the statements described in clauses 76 (1) (d), (e) and (h), the certificate or memorandum described in clause 76 (1) (p) and all other information relating to the corporation as is prescribed; and

(b) at the prescribed times, a certificate that is prepared in accordance with the regulations and that includes all other prescribed information relating to the corporation. 

The summary confirms that there are three types of information certificates that condominium corporations will be required to provide to owners:

(a) Periodic Information Certificates (“PIC”) – to be sent twice per fiscal year with various information related to the corporation (address for service), insurance, finances, Board of Directors, reserve fund, etc.

(b) Information Certificate Update (“ICU”) – to be sent upon certain “trigger” events. These “trigger” events may include changes to the address for service of the Corporation, changes to insurance, board vacancies, etc.

(c) New Owner Information Certificate (“NOIC”) – to be sent to new owners of a condominium unit with the most recent PIC and ICU that was sent to owners.

This is a major change for condominium corporations and will likely involve additional work for the directors and/or managers.  These changes will assist in ensuring condominium owners are kept up to date with important information affecting the condominium.

There is a proposed exemption from the requirement to provide Information Certificates for small condominiums with less than 25 units.  The proposed exemption would allow small condominiums to obtain the consent of 80 percent of the owners to dispense with the requirements.

[Note: The Summary states that the ability to dispense with the requirement to distribute information certificates is possible if:  a turnover meeting has been held; the corporation has fewer than 25 units; or the owners of at least 80 percent of the units’ consent in writing.  However, the “or” should be an “and”. The draft regulations confirm that only corporations meeting all of the requirements can dispense with providing information certificates.]

The requirement for condominium corporations to provide information certificates may come into force as early as July 1, 2017.

Stay tuned for our next blog in this series which will review what the Summary has to say about Required Disclosure by Condominium Directors and Candidates.

Licensing of Condominium Managers – Complaints (Blog No. 9 in a series)

We now have the draft Regulations under the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (the “Management Services Act”).  This is the ninth in a series of blogs that I am preparing in relation to the draft regulations.

In this Blog No. 9, I explore the following topic:  Complaints.

The Management Services Act contains specific provisions for handling of complaints against licensees (managers or management providers); and for related discipline procedures.

One can imagine the potential for complaints, particularly from unhappy owners.  I suspect that, for managers and management providers, this may be one of the most unsettling aspects of the new licensing requirements.

The Management Services Act gives the Registrar considerable authority to handle complaints.  Note that a complaint could come from anyone.  I would guess that most complaints would come from condominium corporations, owners, directors, former owners and/or former directors.  But complaints could come from others as well:  for instance, contractors, other managers or other professionals.

When a complaint is received, the Registrar can:

  • Attempt to mediate or resolve the complaint.
  • Give the licensee a written warning that if the licensee continues with the activity that led to the complaint, action may be taken against the licensee.
  • Require the manager or principal condominium manager to take further educational courses.
  • Refer the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline Committee.
  • Suspend, revoke or add conditions to the licence.
  • Refuse to renew a licence.
  • Take further action as appropriate in accordance with Act (which might, for instance, include an investigation of the matter).

The licensee would of course be involved in the process.  The Management Services Act says that the Registrar may request information from the licensee (and would almost certainly do so any time a complaint merits any sort of response from the licensee).  The draft regulations also say that if the Registrar takes any action in relation to a complaint, the Registrar must give notice of the action to the licensee, the principal condominium manager and/or the board of the licensee’s employer condominium corporation (as the case may be).  My reading of this is that the licensee, principal condominium manager and employer condominium corporation will be involved in the complaint process as appropriate.

The Discipline Committee (and the Appeals Committee, in the event of an appeal from a Discipline Committee order) could get involved in relation to any alleged breach of the Code of Ethics – if the Registrar decides that the matter should be referred to the Committee.  Although I couldn’t find any specific statement to this effect in the new legislation, I believe that (except in rare cases) the licensee would be a necessary party to any Discipline Committee procedure / hearing.

I hasten to note that we don’t yet have the Code of Ethics.  The Management Services Act says that the Code of Ethics will be established by Regulation, so I suspect that we will see it soon!

The Discipline Committee (and Appeals Committee) will have considerable power over licensees.  The Management Services Act says:  If the Discipline Committee determines that a licensee has failed to comply with the Code of Ethics, it may order any of the following as deemed appropriate:

  • Require the principal condominium manager of the licensee to take further educational courses if the licensee is a condominium management provider.
  • Require the licensee to take further educational courses if the licensee is a condominium manager.
  • If the licensee is a condominium management provider, require the licensee, in accordance with the terms, if any, that the committee specifies, to fund educational courses for condominium managers employed by the licensee or to arrange and fund the courses.
  • If the licensee is a condominium manager, require the condominium management provider that employs the licensee, in accordance with the terms, if any, that the committee specifies, to fund educational courses for condominium managers that the provider employs or to arrange and fund the courses.
  • Impose the fine that the committee considers appropriate, to a maximum of $25,000, or such lesser amount as is prescribed, to be paid by the licensee to the administrative authority or to the Minister of Finance if there is no administrative authority.
  • Suspend or postpone the taking of further educational courses, the funding or the funding and arranging of educational courses or the imposition of the fine for the period and upon the terms that the committee designates.
  • Fix and impose costs that the licensee is required to pay to the administrative authority or to the Minister of Finance if there is no administrative authority.

The  draft regulations also say that licensees must not obstruct, interfere with, or hinder anyone from making a complaint, or from providing information in relation to a complaint.

In SummaryProfessionals are generally held to certain legislative standards, and are typically subject to complaints and potential discipline under the terms of their governing legislation.  Condominium managers and providers are about to enter a new world of potential complaints and discipline that could have a profound impact upon their licenses and therefore their very livelihoods.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about the draft Regulations under the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015.

Hydro HST Rebate: Have you received it?

Has your Condominium started to receive the Hydro HST rebate yet?

As you may recall, Jim Davidson posted a blog on September 21, 2016 entitled “Hydro HST Rebate: Are you Eligible?”.  At that time, it was not clear who would be entitled to receive the Hydro HST credit.

We can now confirm that condominiums ARE eligible.

The Ontario Rebate for Electricity Consumers Act, 2016 states that the 8% rebate is available to consumers that have an “eligible account”.  The Act defines an “eligible account” to include “a property, within the meaning of the Condominium Act, 1998”.  Therefore, in my view, condominium corporations should be receiving this credit.

[Note: Although the credit was to start January 1, 2017, the credit may not have been applied right away.  This is because the first one or two bills of the year may have dealt with electricity consumption in 2016.  Therefore, condominiums may only actually see the credit on its most recent bill.]

Another credit….

On Thursday, March 2, 2017, there was announcement about a new credit, under Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan, for another 17% credit (totaling 25% with the current 8% HST credit).  It appears that this additional credit may be effective in June.  We will have to wait and see who is eligible to receive this additional credit!

Stay Tuned for more blogs on Hydro Rebates.