As many of our readers know, we now have proposed additional regulations under the Condominium Management Services Act (“CMSA”). Notably, the proposed regulations include the Code of Ethics that condominium managers will be required to adhere to. The Ministry is requesting feedback on the proposed regulations (up until October 16, 2017).
As our regular readers know, the Condominium Management Services Act (“CMSA”) says that condominium managers must comply with a Code of Ethics or they risk facing complaints and discipline. However, we haven’t yet known with any certainly what the Code of Ethics would require…until now.
On August 30, 2017, the Ministry circulated proposed regulations that provide direction on the CMSA’s requirements. Perhaps one of the most serious sections of the proposed regulations is the new Code of Ethics. It outlines numerous proposed obligations for condominium managers and is designed to promote professionalism, reliability, and quality of services.
The Code of Ethics uses plain language, which makes it easy to understand and is broken down into two sections:
- General Obligations: and
- Protecting Client Interests.
As the proposed regulations are currently drafted, the General Obligations of the Code of Ethics confirm that condominium managers have an obligation to:
– Not act in a way that causes the condominium management provider to contravene the Code of Ethics.
– Treat everyone fairly, honestly, and with integrity.
– Not discriminate, harass, or commit acts of violence.
– Provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities.
– Provide courteous, conscientious, and responsive service.
– Demonstrate reasonable knowledge, skill, judgement, and competence when providing opinions or advice.
– Keep all records required in providing management services.
– Be financially responsible in providing condominium management services.
– Not misrepresent the conditions of their licence.
– Use best efforts to prevent error, misrepresentation, fraud, or unethical practice.
– Not engage in an act or omission that could be seen as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional, or unbecoming.
– Not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, units, or assets by an owner, resident, or the condominium corporation itself, unless required to do so by law.
These General Obligations are owed to the public at large – including owners and occupants.
Under the Protecting Client Interests section of the Code of Ethics, condominium managers must:
– Keep the client informed of all significant steps the manager takes.
– Promote and protect the best interest of the condominium.
– Be diligent in executing their contractual obligation to manage, maintain, repair, or protect the property or assets of condominium.
– Advise a client to obtain services from another person where those services are beyond the condominium manager’s knowledge (or they’re not authorized to provide those services).
– Not indicate, either directly or indirectly, that remuneration or other costs are fixed by the Administrative Authority or a government body.
– Not disclose any confidential information to a third party without prior written consent.
These obligations are owed to clients – i.e. the condominium corporation clients.
As it currently reads, the Code of Ethics contains a number of requirements that most regulated professionals (such as lawyers or doctors) must also meet. For example, the requirements for confidentiality or reasonable knowledge are required of most professionals and are fairly easy to monitor.
With that said, some of the other proposed requirements seem to be less common in professional standards, and may ultimately be difficult to judge. For example, how will managers be judged on their obligation to provide “conscientious” service? How are managers to judge whether their conduct is “disgraceful” or “unbecoming”?
While I think the sentiment is clear: The Ministry expects a high standard of professionalism and courtesy from condominium managers, some of the proposed requirements might be too subjective or uncertain as they currently read. We’ll have to wait to see if the Ministry clarifies or omits some of the more subjective or confusing requirements before the Code of Ethics is finalized. This will be particularly important given that a breach of the Code of Ethics could result in discipline process for the manager.
Stay tuned to Condo Law News for a series of blogs coming shortly to give more details and comments about these proposed regulations. Next up will be our review of the complaints process.