Condo Act Reform Reaches Stage Two

As most of our readers will know, the province is in the midst of an extensive review of Ontario’s Condominium Act. The current Condominium Act, 1998 came into force in 2001. According to the stage two report (released on September 24, 2013) the province feels that there is “pressing need to overhaul the rules governing condo communities, provide better information to owners, and devise new tools for resolving disputes”.

The province has hatched a three-stage process for review of the Condominium Act:

  1. Under the first stage, which was completed in early 2013, various participants from Ontario’s condominium sector offered their comments and suggestions for reform of the Act.
  2. In stage two, the province set up five working groups and a twelve-member expert panel to review and consider the various comments received in stage one, all with a view to developing recommendations for reform and offering ideas for further consideration. The resulting “Stage Two Solutions Report” contains numerous suggestions and comments about Condominium Act reform, including 112 recommendations in the following categories:
    1. Condo Office
    2. Consumer Protection
    3. Financial Management
    4. Dispute Resolution
    5. Governance
    6. Condo Management

For more detail about the recommendations in the Stage Two Solutions Report, click here to see my full article.

  1. As far as concerns the “next steps”, the stage-two report states as follows:

We plan to launch the third and final stage of the review process in the fall of 2013:

  • A residents’ panel will review the stage-two recommendations.
  • Government officials will draft an action plan for implementing the recommendations.
  • Condo residents and other stakeholders will have an opportunity to review the action plan.”

Click here to review the complete Stage Two Report on the Ministry of Consumer Services website. If you would like to provide feedback to the province, the Ministry’s website tells you how you can do that. NOTE: The Ministry’s website also says: “You can comment on the Stage Two Solutions Report until November 8, 2013.”  So, if you would like to comment, don’t delay.

We’re still a long way from the finished product (the actual amendments to the Condominium Act). But it certainly appears that amendments are coming within the next few years.

To enter this week’s Great Eastern Ontario Condo Quiz, please click here!

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The Great Eastern Ontario Condo Quiz Official Rules

THE GREAT EASTERN ONTARIO CONDO QUIZ OFFICIAL RULES

GENERAL CONTEST RULES: By entering the Contest, Entrants agree to abide by these Official Contest Rules (the “Official Rules”) and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final. The failure of the Sponsor to enforce any term of these Official Rules will not constitute a waiver of that provision.

The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Contest, in whole or in part, or modify, amend or suspend the Contest and/or the Official Rules in any way at any time for any reason, without prior notice or compensation. In the event of cancellation, Sponsor may elect to identify Winner and award the Prize by way of a random draw from among all eligible Entries received up to the time of such cancellation.

CONTEST PERIOD: The Great Eastern Ontario Condo Quiz (the “Contest”) starts on Thursday, October 3, 2013, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on Thursday, October 31, 2013 (“Contest End Date”). The Sponsor of the Contest is Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP (the “Sponsor”).

ELIGIBILITY: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE CHANCES OF WINNING. The Contest is only open to legal residents of Ontario who are of legal age of majority and at least nineteen (19) years of age at the time of entry. Employees, officers, and directors (including Immediate Family members and members of the same household, whether or not related) of the Sponsor or its affiliated entities are not eligible to participate or win a prize. "Immediate Family" means spouses, parents, siblings and children and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit www.condolawnews.ca/e/contestthegreateasternontariocondoquiz.cfm, click on the Contest Banner on www.condolawnews.ca, and/or enter the information requested in the fields located under the Official Weekly Question at the bottom of each Condo Law News Contest blog post during each of the four (4) Weekly Contest Periods outlined in the Schedule below to access the online entry form for the Contest (the "Online Entry Form"). Online entry only. No other method of entry will be accepted. Free access to the Internet is available at most public libraries.

Entrant” means the person who is the “Authorized Account Holder” of the email address submitted at the time of entry. All online Entries must include a valid e-mail address for the Entrant. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. In the event of a dispute, Entries will be deemed to be submitted by the Authorized Account Holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. No correspondence will be entered into with Entrants except with a Potential Winner.

By fully completing all non-optional information and successfully submitting the Online Entry Form as directed during a Weekly Entry Period and answering the Official Weekly Question correctly, Entrant will receive one entry (an “Entry”) the Contest for the Draw Period. Entrants to the Contest may be given the option to subscribe to the Sponsor’s publications, however, eligibility to participate in the Contest is not dependent upon entrant's consent to subscribe, and subscription will not impact Entrant’s chances of winning. Incomplete entries will be deemed void.

Limit of one (1) entry per Entrant/e-mail address per Weekly Contest Period. The contest periods are outlined in the chart below (each a "Contest Period").

Weekly Contest Period Schedule*:

Weekly Contest Period Start

Weekly Contest Period Deadline

2:00:00 p.m. ET on October 3, 2013

11:59:00 p.m. ET on October 9, 2013

2:00:00 p.m. ET on October 10, 2013

11:59:00 p.m. ET on October 16, 2013

2:00:00 p.m. ET on October 17, 2013

11:59:00 p.m. ET on October 23, 2013

2:00:00 p.m. ET on October 24, 2013

11:59:00 p.m. ET on October 31, 2013

* The Sponsor’s computer system will be the official clock of the Contest.

RANDOM DRAW: A random draw (the “Draw”) for the Prize by the Sponsor will be held on or about November 1, 2013 (the “Draw Date”)in Ottawa, Ontario from all Eligible Entries, and one Entrant (the “Potential Winner”) will be selected. Odds of winning the Prize depend on the number of eligible Entries received by the Sponsor.

DECLARING A WINNER: To be declared the Winner (the “Winner”) and claim the Prize, a Potential Winner must (i) be eligible according to these Official Rules, (ii) correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, whether mechanical or otherwise, a time limited mathematical skill testing question which will be administered by telephone at a mutually agreeable time, and (iii) sign a duly completed Liability and Publicity Release Form (the “Release Form”) and return same to the Sponsor by the date specified on the form.

Attempts will be made to contact a Potential Winner by email and/or by telephone at the e-mail address or telephone number provided on the Online Entry Form at the time of entry, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET for a period of three (3) business days following the Draw Date. If a Potential Winner cannot be reached within the allotted time, incorrectly answers the skill testing question, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, or declines the prize, they will be disqualified, the prize will be forfeited and, at Sponsor's discretion and time permitting, an alternate potential winner may be selected at random from among remaining eligible entries. The Winner’s name will be announced in the November 5, 2013 Condo Law News Contest blog post.

Prize will be awarded only upon verification and final approval by the Sponsor. Prize must be picked up at the Sponsor’s Ottawa office, located at 50 O'Connor Street, Suite 1500, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6L2, at a date and time as agreed to by the Sponsor and the Winner. In order to receive the Prize, each winner must have two pieces of government-issued identification (including one photo ID). Prize must be picked within four (4) weeks of being confirmed as a winner.

DISQUALIFICATION: A Potential Winner will be disqualified if (i) they are ineligible for the Contest according to these Official Rules, (ii) provides an incorrect answer to the skill-testing mathematical question (iii) fails to fully complete, sign and return any required documents to the Sponsor by the date specified on the document, and/or (iv) is found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Contest. A disqualification will result in Prize being forfeited and, at Sponsor's sole discretion, and time permitting, an alternate Potential Winner will be randomly drawn by the Sponsor from among all remaining eligible entries.

Persons found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Contest or attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest by cheating, deception or other unfair playing practices, or intend to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrant or Sponsor's representatives or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Sponsor will be disqualified and all associated Entries will be void. Any attempt to deliberately damage the content or operation of this Contest is unlawful and subject to legal action by the Sponsor, and/or its respective agents.

PRIZE: There will be one (1) prize available to be the won (the "Prize"), consisting of: (a) $500.00 CAD in legal services from the Sponsor’s Condominium Law Group, and (b) and a merchandise prize package from the Sponsor with an estimated retail value ("ERV") of $50.00 CDN. All Prize details, including exact nature of merchandise prize package will be determined in the sole discretion of Sponsor. Prize must be accepted as awarded and no substitution, transfer, conversion or assignment of Prize will be allowed. The Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of comparable or greater value at its sole and discretion.

Any and all additional costs and expenses associated with Prize acceptance and use not specified herein as being provided that are incurred by the Winner in claiming, accepting and/or using their prize are the sole responsibility of the Winner. The Winner is fully responsible for any and all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal taxes (including income and withholding taxes). Before the Sponsor can represent Winner and provide them with legal services, it must first ensure that there is no conflict of interest. In the event that the Sponsor cannot provide Winner with legal services, alternative arrangements will be made to ensure that Winner receives $500.00 CAD towards legal services from another law firm without a conflict. 

PUBLICITY RELEASE: By acceptance of the Prize, the Winner authorizes the Sponsor and each of its designees to use in any related publicity, the Winner's name, photograph, image, any statements they may make regarding the prize, city and province of residence, likeness and/or voice for advertising and promotional purposes worldwide in perpetuity and in any form of media now or hereafter devised worldwide (including the Internet), without limitation and without additional compensation or consideration, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.

WAIVER OF LIABILITY: By participating in the Contest and submitting an entry, each Entrant agrees to waive any and all claims against the to release the Sponsor and its affiliated entities, and all of their respective officers, directors, employees and agents (the “Released Parties”) from liability for any injury, damage or loss that may occur, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from the participation in the Contest or from the receipt, possession, use and/or misuse of any prize or any travel or activity that is related to the receipt or use of the Prize. In no event will Released Parties be liable for any special, incidental, consequential, indirect or punitive damages arising out of or in connection with this Contest and/or the Prizes, however arising, including negligence.

Released Parties (i) make no warranty, guaranty or representation of any kind concerning any prize, and (ii) disclaim any implied warranty. Released Parties are not responsible for lost, interrupted or unavailable network server or other connections, miscommunications, failed telephone or computer or telephone transmissions or technical failure, jumbled, scrambled or misdirected transmissions, or other error of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest.

PRIVACY: By entering this Contest, Entrant consents to the collection, use and sharing of information about Entrant by the Sponsor for the sole purpose of administering this Contest. All information submitted by entrants is subject to, and will be treated in a manner consistent with the Sponsor’s Privacy Notice accessible at: www.nelligan.ca/e/privacynotice.cfm.

APPLICABLE LAWS: This Contest is subject to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws. Except where prohibited by law, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of the Contest Rules or the rights and obligations as between the Entrant and the Sponsor in connection with the Contest will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the province of Ontario including procedural provisions without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of any other jurisdiction's laws. Any litigation must be commenced in the City of Ottawa, Ontario.

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The Great Eastern Ontario Condo Quiz

To enter the contest, click here.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Open only to legal residents of Ontario who are of legal age of majority and at least nineteen (19) years of age at the time of entry. Not open to employees or family members of employees of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP or affiliated entities. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on October 31st. One (1) prize available to be won consisting of $500.00 CAD in legal services from the Condominium Law Group at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, and a Nelligan O’Brien Payne merchandise prize package. Draw will be conducted on or about November 1, 2013, and winner will be announced on November 7, 2013. Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible entries received for the drawing at issue. Mathematical skill testing question must be answered correctly to win. For full rules, please click here.

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The Great Eastern Ontario Condo Quiz

Take part in the Great Eastern Ontario Condo Quiz – A contest made for Eastern Ontario’s condominium communities to celebrate the fall season!

You could win free legal services from Nelligan O’Brien Payne’s Condominium Law Group (see details below).

The contest will run for four weeks in October, on Condo Law News, a blog published by the Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP Condominium Law Group*. Visit the blog at: www.condolawnews.ca.

A quiz question will be included in our weekly blog posts from October 3rd to October 31st 2013, which will be based on the previous week’s blog post. You will have one week from the date of posting of the quiz question to submit your answer through our online form. Each correct answer submitted before the deadline gives you one entry in a draw. The winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted over the four weeks, and will be required to answer a skill testing question.

The contest winner will win $500.00 CAD in legal services from the Condominium Law Group at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, and a Nelligan O’Brien Payne merchandise prize package. The winner will be announced in our November 7th blog post.

Week One Question: CLOSED

Week Two Question: CLOSED

Week Three Question: CLOSED

Week Four Question: CLOSED

Please share this message with your condominium boards, managers and residents! The more entries received, the better chance you have of winning!

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Privacy in Condominiums

Some special considerations apply to privacy issues in the condominium setting.

The basic concept in law is that privacy rights apply whenever there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal has recognized a tort of “intrusion upon seclusion”, which is essentially the tort of violation of privacy rights (see Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32).

So privacy rights are now clearly recognized by our courts, but how do these rights apply in a condominium setting? The key question is: what are an owner’s reasonable expectations of privacy?

The answer will depend to a certain extent on the nature of the condominium community (highrise, townhomes, etc.), as well as the condominium’s governing documents (including the Condominium Act, and the corporation’s Declaration, Description, By-laws and Rules). In other words, an owner’s privacy rights may vary from condominium to condominium.

In each case however, condominium owners and residents will have certain rights of privacy in relation to:

  • their personal information;
  • their personal property;
  • the use and enjoyment of their unit; and
  • the use and enjoyment of the common elements.

But the key is that there will be limits on these privacy rights because of the sharing and co-operation that comes with condominium living. For instance:

a. Rights of Entry: Condominium corporations have general rights to enter the units and exclusive-use common elements, on reasonable notice, in order to perform the corporation’s objects and duties. So condominium owners and residents do not have complete privacy in their homes.

b. Surveillance: Condominium corporations have rights to arrange for surveillance of the common elements, again in order to perform the corporation’s objects and duties. Note however that, subject to some exceptions, the surveillance must be disclosed (to persons attending on the property) and must be confined to locations where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

c. Records: As part of their record-keeping responsibilities, condominium corporations collect personal information related to owners and occupants. All condominium owners have rights to inspect the records of the corporation. However, these inspection rights do not apply to certain types of records, including records relating specifically to other owners or to other units. Still, this right of privacy in relation to an owner’s “personal records” may become blurred if the personal information is part of a record that has general or common application to all owners or to the corporation as a whole.

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