Nuisances, Annoyances and Disruptions: CAT Jurisdiction Expanding By: Stephanie Sutherland, LL.B .
The Ontario government has announced that, once again, the jurisdiction of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) is being expanded. This will enable unit owners and condo corporations to commence CAT proceedings on a wider variety of issues. Unfortunately, we are not aware of any procedural changes at the CAT describing how the CAT will deal with disputes that require the decision - maker to assess witness credibility, expert evidence, and expert reports. Effective January 1, 2022, the CAT will now have the jurisdiction to hear disputes about “ unreasonable nuisances, annoyances, or disruptions ” as set out in section 117 (2) of the Condominium Act, 1998 . These nuisances, annoyances, or disruptions include:
of the Act. In October 2020, the jurisdiction was expanded to include disputes related to pets, parking, and storage. There is concern in the condominium legal community in Ontario about how the CAT is addressing these matters and about whether the procedures in place are best suited to fairly and efficiently adjudicate these issues. To date, there are limited cases where the CAT has dealt with that first expanded jurisdiction. Added to this is the fact that some of those decisions have been appealed and we do not have the results of those appeals. Ultimately, some members of the condominium legal community, this writer included, are questioning whether the CAT is properly equipped to deal with another expansion to its jurisdiction so soon after the first expansion. The CAT is intended to be a place where condominium corporations and owners can go to easily, quickly, and efficiently resolve their disputes, without necessarily needing legal representation. So far, however, the process does not seem to lend itself to accomplishing those goals. In our experience, the CAT process - particularly at the third stage, where the actual online hearing is conducted. The CAT hearing process is not necessarily faster or more efficient (or less costly) than court proceedings or mediation/ arbitration, which is how these matters were previously addressed. In addition, the complexity of the legal concepts means that many parties are still understandably
Stephanie Sutherland, LL.B. is an associate lawyer with Cohen Highley LLP in Kitchener. Cohen Highley LLP has offices in London, Kitchener, Chatham, Sar- nia, Stratford and Strathroy. Stephanie provides risk manage- ment and regulatory compliance advice to condominium corpora- tions, unit owners, and property management companies. As a professional member of CCI she has participated as a writer, presenter and leader for chapters and the condominium community.
Noise; Odour; Light;
Vibrations; Smoke; and Vapour. The CAT will also have the
jurisdiction to hear disputes relating to provisions in the declaration, by - laws and rules that govern these issues, or any other type of ‘ nuisance, annoyance, or disruption ’ within a condominium community. Finally, the CAT will also be able to address disputes relating to indemnification or compensation with respect to the matters – i.e., charge backs. The CAT ’ s jurisdiction initially only covered records disputes, under s. 55
CCI Review 2021/2022 —November 2021 - 17
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