The Condominium Act contains no reference to “Policies”. So, can a condominium corporation establish “Policies” (as opposed to passing Rules or By-Laws)? If so, when does a Policy make sense?
In our view, the Board has the right to establish policies for matters falling within the mandate of the Board (i.e. matters that can be decided by the Board). A Policy (created by resolution of the Board) is essentially a “repeating decision” of the Board. In other words, a Policy expresses how the Board will decide a particular type of issue (if it arises more than once). Again, it’s essentially a decision of the Board that will apply to similar situations in future – until the Board, or a future Board, changes the Policy.
A Policy is enforceable only to the extent that the particular Board decision is enforceable. So, a Policy (as opposed to a By-law or Rule) normally makes sense only in cases where the Board decision can be independently enforced.
Note that a condominium corporation may have a legal obligation to establish certain policies. Examples are as follows:
- A Violence and Harassment Policy (under the Occupational Health and Safety Act), if the corporation has at least one employee;
- A Customer Service Policy (under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act), if the corporation has at least one employee;
- A Human Rights Policy.
But, again, the Board can also consider Policies for any repeating issues.
In a given case, the Board will need to consider:
- Would a Policy make sense for this particular issue?
- If so, should the Policy be provided to all owners, and also attached to all status certificates?
- Would it be more appropriate to pass a By-law or Rule? (For instance, is a By-law or Rule needed in order to enforce the particular decision?)