CCI-London and Area's third newsletter of the 2020/21 year.
Inside this issue
A Thank You ................................ .....2
President’s Message The sun is shining (mostly), snow is melting (sort of), restrictions are lifting (for now), vaccines are being distributed (slowly), and there is a strong feeling spring is almost here! Surely a cautious optimism is the appropriate outlook, with emphasis on the “cautious”. You may recall that the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada was announced on January 25 th , 2020. Increasing transmissions province wide brought about the state of emergency on March 17 th , 2020 and closures began to protect the lives of all of us. Restrictions became the new normal. Here we are a year later with glimmers of hope in the horizon. It is important that we continue with our vigilance for health and safety. There are reasons for optimism and positivity in the condo world too. For example, the Board and Owners at Middlesex Condominium Corporation No. 97 are surely thrilled to have been announced as winners of the 2021 London Heritage Award for the Major Restoration of their balconies! The award is administered by the Architectural Conservancy Ontario – London Region and the Heritage London Foundation and is given out in recognition of outstanding leadership excellence in heritage conservation. Visit www.londonheritageawards.ca for more info. Congratulations! As we approach spring, lauded as the busiest time for condominium boards and communities, it will be time to attend to regular maintenance. Winter cleanup and attention to damage after winter will be assisted by your landscape contractor. You will likely start organizing and contracting for projects that are earmarked in the corporation’s Reserve Fund Study, presumably with the assistance of the appropriate experts such as your engineer to oversee them. We can be forewarned there will likely be issues relating to the supply chains, material price fluctuations, and availability of contractors to carry out projects as smoothly as you would like.
Chapter Communique ………………...3 - 5
Upcoming Events …..….………………..5 - 6
London Police Posting ................. ….7
New Members ............................ ....7
The AGM– An important Meeting for Owners to Attend ………..……….….….8 - 9 Condominium Policies during the Pandemic ……………………….……....11 - 12
The Importance of an Audit ………….13
A Toilet Leak, A Chargeback and a Case of Negligence (maybe?) …..14 - 15
Welcome Spring. …..…………………16 - 18
Fraud Prevention Month.. …………….19
Expanding Positivity ……………….…….19
Golf Tournament ……………….………...20
Event Recap (Insurance) ……………....21
Garage Doors ……………………….....22 - 23
Tips for Decluttering ………………..24 - 27
Q&A: The CAT Rules on Pets ……28 - 30
Condominium Education ............. ...31
Advertisers .................................. …32
Social Media Connection ……………...32
Next Newsletter Deadline
We are so grateful to all the writers in this edition of our CCI Review. We hope the information herein is helpful to you and your community.
London & Area Chapter Board of Directors 2020/2021
You are always welcome to inspire us with any topic you have an interest in as it pertains to challenges that may arise in your community. Not a writer – no problem. We can locate an expert to respond to your challenge. Feel free to share your comments and suggestions with the Administrator at ccisw@cci -sw.on.ca.
President Stefan Nespoli, B.A.Sc.,P. Eng
Past President Chris DiPietro, R.I.B. (Ont)
BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER...
Vice President Jennifer Dickenson, BSc (Hons), RCM
The information and opinions contained in this publication are brief summaries of complex topics provided by the authors. The Chapter is without liability whatsoever. Readers should always obtain expert advice on their specific situations. For membership and/or advertising information, visit our website or contact the Ad- ministrator directly. Advertisements in this publication do not reflect an endorsement by CCI of any com- pany or product. Members are encouraged to compare rates and ask for references when contracting for goods and services.
Treasurer Michael Watson, CPA, CA, LPA
Secretary Kristi Sargeant-Kerr, LL.B.
Directors Jeffrey Bell, BA (Hons), B.Ed., LL.B. Tony DiPietro Séan Eglinton, ACCI Laura Gurr, J.D. Victoria Phillips, RCM Tricia Baratta, R.I.B. (Ont) Lisa Skirten, CIM
Permission to reprint is hereby granted provided:
1. Notice is given to the CCI -London & Area Chapter in writing to ccisw@cci- sw.on.ca; and
2. Proper credit is given as follows:
• “Reprinted from the CCI Review London & Area Chapter, [Year: Issue] All rights reserved”, and;
Administrator Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hon’s)
Articles must be copied in their entirety.
National Representative Jennifer Dickenson, BSc(Hons), RCM
Editor Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hons)
The newsletter is quarterly. The issues are available online only; however, it would be a tremendous help if the contact person from member corporations would ensure that our Administrator is provided an updated Board of Directors’ listing, along with their mailing particulars, whenever there is a change and certainly prior to each mailing — no later than the first day of August, November, March, and May (subject to change). Please email or write the Administrator with this information. You can cc your manager to let them know that you have carried out the task. Managers will be grateful for your assist. Please email/ write the Administrator with this information here. As well, if the contact person has changed on your Board do email the Administrator — please do not send address or contact person changes to the National Office of CCI or to the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) for the Condominium MANAGER (CM) magazine. The chapter provides the labels, addressed to the contact person, to a mailing service approximately 6 weeks prior to each mailing and they are responsible for the bulk mailings of the magazine to the members. We do not provide ACMO with our mailing lists.
Layout Design Jennifer Dickenson, BSc (Hons), RCM
Mailing Address London & Area Chapter P.O. Box 51022 1593 Adelaide Street N. London, ON N5X 4P9 Tel: 519-453-0672
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ccilondon.ca Note: the mailing address is a postal outlet/ mailbox only. Please contact the Administrator where delivery must be arranged.
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...President ’ s Message
This is not to suggest that plans to proceed should not occur! Condominium boards are responsible to maintain the affairs of the corporation, including the ongoing safety and maintenance of the assets of the corporation. Attending to ongoing maintenance for safety will also minimize the possibility of insurance claims on the property. Some suggestions for board members: Review the listing of corporation’s responsibilities to all maintenance items on the property. Make a plan for walking the property to inspect and identify those areas that need attention, including • cracked or loose roofing shingles, • uneven ground to maximize safety from a trip and fall; • low ground spaces that could create poor drainage and insect breeding or serve as waterways to flood foundations; loose eaves troughs and gutters that may create hazards; broken or cracked asphalt that might create an accident; and • inspect issues that may have been reported by owners over the winter and early days of spring. Prepare a comprehensive list of the problems to organize with your contractor who will be conducting repairs and wherever possible, include photos of the particular maintenance item with your work orders, as they are
extremely constructive for the contractor to be informed and prepared when they come on site. Document issues that may be the owners to attend to and report to them. Once the board has organized maintenance and confirmation of start-date is obtained, it is recommended that owners be notified of the work that will be carried out on the property and to be reminded of protocols related to engagement with contractors on the property by owners. This can be done via a newsletter and will assist in the continued safety of the contractors and the owners. For example, where contractors are brought to the property to carry out specific maintenance, that task is ONLY that which has been assigned by the Board of Directors. Any issues related to the work must be directed to the board or the manager, and not the contractor on site. As the days get longer and the snow melt continues, we wish you all continued good health and safety Stefan Nespoli. B.A.Sc, P. Eng. -President of CCI London & Area Chapter.
Chapter Communiqué - by Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hons), Administrator
We can see hope in sunshine. Every day the sun shines is a good day! Even though the chill factor might be less appealing than we would like, take some time to soak up that sunshine. While 2020 was admittedly a disturbing year of adjustment and challenge, we are all trusting that we will be more encouraged with only positive signs of returning to some kind of normal. We are each entrusted to maintain that hope for recovery we have all been wishing for. Continue to be safe and well. The pandemic has affected the economic and the social lifestyle of virtually everyone in some way. Anxiety and distress have become common as we each pause to consider the impact on ourselves and our families. Where the tightening of public health measures has been logical in their attempt to effectively curb the outbreaks and community transmission, especially for those who may become very ill as a result of an infection, there has also been confusion.
To find your local COVID-19 zone, visit the website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions.
The light shines at the end of the tunnel
We are not out of the woods quite yet, but hope floats. All of us continuing to work together will be key. Vaccine eligibility is based on regional vaccine supply, provincial direction and regional prioritizing.
2020/2021 — 3 — 3
What will we remember most about 2020?
Some would say 2020 was a year to forget. Forgetting is very hard to do given our own experiences and those we have witnessed in our families, communities and throughout the world. History does repeat itself so it’s up to all of us to remember what we have learned to ease the response if a similar experience comes by. We will remember those who met heart to heart, rather than face to face. Every day, we hear of heartwarming stories of amazing angels who walk among us, all those who put their lives at risk to ensure we are all taken care of during these challenging times and to help maintain a semblance of some normality for us all. Their courage, compassion, and generosity is not to be forgotten and we thank them.
Thanks so much for the support you showed to CCI by your membership in 2020/2021. You are applauded for your atten- tion to education in con- dos. Coming Soon…. In the not-too-distant fu- ture, the membership re- newals for 2021/2022 (July 1 to June 30) will be dispatched. Renewals for Condo Cor- poration memberships will be sent to the contact person on board-managed corporations and to the manager on record where a corporation is represent- ed by a management com- pany. If there are changes to any of these contact persons, please advise the Admin at ccisw@cci- sw.on.ca. If you would like a copy of the listing of the directors we have on file for your board, please contact the Administrator and Trish will be happy to send you one. It’s especially im- portant now as we are communicating by email to alert you of the posting of our online events and publications. You can check the 2020-21 Condo Corporation Mem- bership Listing or the 2020- 21 Individual, Professional and Business Partner Mem- bership List-ings in the Profes- sional & Business Partner Direc- tory to see if you are repre- sented for 2020-21 or contact the Administrator via email.
Businesses customer service & support staff Communication workers Corporate support in businesses Custodial staff and orderlies in hospitals and schools Delivery people Emergency services personnel Energy and utilities workers Factory and farm workers Firefighters Gas station attendants Government Grocery and supermarket clerks and workers Healthcare professionals IT/Tech Support Manufacturers Mental health providers Paramedics Personal support workers Pharmacists Police services Property Managers Public health workers Public transportation workers
Railway workers Restaurant staff Scientists Teachers and child-care workers Transport staff Volunteers ….. And the list goes on
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Calm the Chaos Anxiety propelled some of us to embrace opportunities outside the box in order to calm the chaos that has become our lives. Did you ever stop to genuinely rec- ognize that Mother Nature be quite spectacularly creative? Of course we give her a bad rap, sometimes legitimately. A dramatic change can be startling though and also create a quiet calm because of the wonder we can truly enjoy before us. An overnight snowfall can be that wonder (even if we don’t really like snow and win- ter). The landscape can be different every day.
UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS
We are excited to share the topics of the next events with you. As we finalize our speakers we will post on our website. If you and your company would like to participate in sponsoring our event – which will be conducted by Zoom, please feel free to contact the Administrator at email@example.com. March 30 th (BYOF)12 pm The Expansion of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) Stages of Action Sponsors:Thorne Property Management Ltd. & Dickenson Condo Management May 18 th (Seminar) 7 pm There are No Stupid Questions! (your legal experts on Zoom) Sponsor: Scott Petrie LLP June 21 st (in person) 10 th Annual CCI Golf Tournament (see Page 20 for more information)
Photos by Trish Kaplan, MCC 203
2020/2021 - 3 — 5
CCI Publications Are Digital
UPCOMING NATIONAL EVENTS
The original plan was to gradually go digital with our publications, primarily due to increased costs of production and distribution. This was intensified by our commitment to doing whatever possible to keep our communities safe. The publications are now provided to you digitally on our website. Overall, the advantages were positive, as has been the feedback. We have a small part in saving the world and affecting climate change; we are not restricted by the number of pages and can enhance the productions with colour. CCI Review The feedback for this digital publication has been positive. We hope you will continue to share the publications with colleagues and other owners in your condominium corporation. The expertise of our professional and business partner members continues to be most constructive and we are most grateful for their support and advice they share with us. We also thank our members for their generous support by advertising. We invite and thank all of our professional and business partner members who have or wish to share and submit industry-related articles for our publications. Please contact the Administrator to discuss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming CCI-N webinars may be of interest to you. You might want to put them on your calendars and check the website https://cci.ca/ events/upcoming-national- webinars for updates. April 14 th (Seminar) 4 pm — 5:30pm Financial Statements – Translating the Numbers -Zoom June 9 th (Seminar) 4 pm — 5:30pm Managing Owner Expectations -Zoom October 13 th (Seminar) 4 pm — 5:30pm Subject TBD -Zoom Also, the CCI-N website for more upcoming events presented by other provincial chapters. In some cases, you will find our own members presenting their expertise. To find these and other chapters across Canada visit https://cci.ca/chapters/ chapter-locations You can find out more about upcoming National and Regional Chapter seminars,
You can find this year’s previous issues of the CCI Review here:
2021 Professional & Trades Directory Every corporation and owner has opportunities when they require knowledgeable professionals and trades. We invite you to share access to the publication of our members with your communities. The directory is available online here. https://ccilondon.ca/directory
Listings will be updated as memberships and changes are received.
Advertising Opportunities If you are a professional or business partner in our chapter and would like to participate in supporting our publications or events, please contact the Administrator by email at email@example.com for information or visit our website CCI’s Social Media is seen by hundreds of Board Members, owners and professionals each post. As a member, your sponsorship of events or articles you
educational courses, and networking events here: https://cci.ca/events/ upcoming-events
write for our newsletter are shared with all members and those in the wider audience following us online.
6 — 2020/2021 - 3
From the London Police Service
While we continue to provide our events via
Zoom, please note that the notice to Join Zoom Meeting is shared by the Administrator via email to those who have RSVP’d in advance of the event. This email notice goes out closer to the date of the event. It would appear that a small number of those who did RSVP may have missed the email that was sent out, or perhaps it was delivered into a SPAM or Junk mail folder instead of the Inbox. Please check these folders regularly to make sure any messages from us are not hiding out there.
Welcome, New Members!
We are always pleased to welcome new members to our CCI family. The continuing growth in condominium development demonstrates the genuine need for expansion in education and for specialty professions that can provide the goods and services in our community. We encourage all boards to share information about CCI to those servicing their property so their profile is available to boards and owners across the area. They will appreciate our help in growing their business. As new members join us, updates to the online publication, the Professional Service and Trades Directory, will be made. Please visit it for contact information for new and returning businesses; and check out the Condominium Corporation membership listing to ensure you are included by your membership
SEARCHING FOR ASSISTANCE?
When searching for particular goods and services for personal or corporation assistance, please search the directory https://www.ccilondon.ca/directory We all need to support companies as much as possible, to help them stay in business and keep them in our community to provide the services we need to maintain the investment we have made in our homes and the properties. Since our last publication, we welcomed:
Professional and Business Partners
- Michael Sroka, Owner/Agent
We are stronger together
2020/2021 - 3 — 7
The AGM– An important Meeting for Owners to Attend - by Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hons), Administrator
The time for Annual General Meetings is doubtless in progress for condominium corporations. During this period of ensuring safety of our owners and managers, most meetings are being held virtually. Hopefully, this manner of the meeting will entice more owners to participate where they have not done so in person previously. Owners have made substantial investments in their units. The importance of ensuring accountability of the board of directors of the corporation to the owners makes this meeting a particularly important one for owners to attend. This is their opportunity to pose questions of the board about the operation of the corporation, to discuss other topics of interest to the community, to elect new or re-elect existing directors to the board, and to vote on other matters as may come before them. This is their opportunity to have their voice heard. The process to organize this meeting, especially during a pandemic, requires attention to detail and timelines. Understanding that the board may have a condominium manager to facilitate this, it has been recommended by some owners that directors be more familiar with all aspects of preparation for the meetings and also to conduct a thorough review of their AGM Notice package to adapt the material to the official notice as amended in the Condominium Act in November 2017. Forms for meetings of owners are mandatory and can be found here under Forms Relating to Meetings and Voting : Preliminary Notice of Meeting of Owners (mandatory) The board is required to send a Preliminary Notice of Meeting of Owners to
all owners which will include a proposed date for the actual meeting and more. This notice goes out to owners at least 35 days before a Notice of Meeting of Owners . Owners may submit material and/or discussion topics to be included with the Notice of Meeting of Owners . It should be noted that if an owner wishes to receive notices electronically, they must provide an Agreement to Receive Notices Electronically form and the corporation must have a statement of this method of receiving notices on record for the owners and mortgagees (unless the Act provides otherwise). Submission to include Material in the Notice of Meeting of Owners (mandatory) Owners may request that the board include material in an upcoming Notice of Meeting of Owners ; using the so named form and to include material with the form. Given that the meeting notice will be sent out at least 15 days in advance of the meeting date, owners should return their submissions in a timely manner. Owners who may indicate their intention to be a candidate in the election of directors to the board would be required to submit a statement containing any required disclosure information, which would be distributed to owners with the Notice of Meeting of Owners , in advance of the elections. If candidates did not identify their candidacy in advance, they would be required to make the disclosure at the meeting where the election takes place.
Trish Kaplan , CCI (Hon’s) is the current part- time Administrator for the CCI-London and Area
Chapter, also having served in the position from April 2003-
September 2010 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from CCI National in November 2006. She served on the Board of Directors from 2010 to 2015 when she returned as Administrator. Trish is also a former condominium manager.
Notice of Meeting of Owners (mandatory)
Effective November 1, 2017 the notice of meeting itself must be in writing and given at least 15 days prior to the day of the meeting. The board is required
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… AGM Meetings
to use the mandatory form for this notice ( and all meetings of owners that may occur), If the meeting is to be a virtual meeting, specific wording to that effect must be inserted. Note: The Condominium Authority of Ontario prepared a guide to assist owners and directors through meetings during the pandemic. Note : It is always recommended that board members be familiar with the forms that are required in response to owners requesting a meeting in order to assist in guiding them through the process. More information about AGMs and voting rights can be found here . What information should be included in the Notice of Meeting of Owners? 1. The Notice of Meeting of Owners (mandatory form – required) 2. Agenda (not required but recommended to coordinate the timing and procedures of the meeting)
3. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting (required) Note : If there have been other owners’ meetings held throughout the year minutes to those meetings should be included. 4. Financial Statements and Auditor’s Report for the fiscal year end (required) Note: Section 60-71 of the Act provides all instructions related to the Auditors and Financial Statements. Note: An audit is required for all condominium corporations with one exemption. Condominiums with less than 25 units can be exempt from the audit requirement provided 100% of the Owners consent in writing each year. If the financial statements include supplementary schedules that are unaudited, they should be clearly marked as such. See more about audits below. 5. Candidate disclosure statements (required) Note : For information about disclosure obligations
2020/2021 - 3 — 9
… AGM Meetings
and qualifications, see the sections noted below. 6. Copy of text from subsection 29(1) of the Act (required) and
Copy of text from Section 11.6 of the regulations (required)
7. Proxy (mandatory)
See Section 2.6 Proxies for Electronic Meetings in the document prepared by the Condominium Authority of Ontario: Guide to Conducting Owners’ Meetings During the COVID - 19 Pandemic: What Owners and Directors Need to Know . – link is above. A mandatory form must be used by owners or mortgagees if they wish to be represented by proxy at a meeting of owners, including for the purposes of voting on any matters at the meeting. It is up to the meeting organizers to establish a process to accommodate them. As a best practice, meeting attendees be instructed to deliver all proxy forms by a specific date, prior to the meeting taking place. This will allow the board or organizers adequate time to validate the proxy forms, record all important information and report it to the owners attending the meeting virtually. 8. Other items to be voted on – (i.e. by-laws or other documentation subject to a vote by owners) Note: No vote shall be taken at a meeting of owners on any matter other than routine procedure unless that matter was clearly disclosed in the notice of the meeting (2015, c. 28, Sched 1, s. 42) When you receive your Notice of Meeting of Owners , please take some time to review it so you are not only informed going into the meeting, but are able to ask any questions that will help you in your understanding of the management of your condominium community. Thank you to all the boards and managers for your extensive work in preparing for these meetings. It is appreciated, Thanks too, to all the owners who participate in this very important meeting.
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Condominium Policies During the Pandemic - by Kristi Sargeant - Kerr, LL.B., CCI - London and Area ’ s Secretary
During times, condominium corporations are being forced to address new and evolving health and safety issues in a multitude of different ways. However, due to the pace of the changes in legislation as well as the nature of the pandemic itself, Boards have been looking to policies more and more to assist in controlling, managing and these uncertain administering the common elements and to do all they reasonably can to protect their residents. This article explains the benefit of such policies and the Courts’ recent support of them so long as they are reasonable and applied fairly. Traditionally, Boards of Directors look to Section 58(1) of the Act , which permits the Board to make rules regarding the use of units, the common elements and the assets of the corporation to, a. promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and of the property and the assets, if any, of the Corporation; or the unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units, the common elements or the assets, if any, of the Corporation. b. prevent As per Section 58(2) of the Act , any such rules shall be reasonable and consistent with the Act , and a condominium’s declaration and by - laws. However, before any new or revised rules become enforceable, owners have to be given 30-days written notice of them. Owners also have the ability to requisition an owners’ meeting to consider and vote on the rule if they disagree with it. As such, if there is an urgent issue to be addressed related to the pandemic, a rule may not be the most appropriate
option for a Board in the short-term and they may want to consider a policy that will take effect immediately. A second benefit of policies during these times of constant change is that they can be easily revised according to any amendments in the applicable legislation or the pandemic itself. A Board need only make the necessary revisions to the policy and notify their residents in writing of the change. In the event of a dangerous situation occurring, such as a resident’s refusal to wear a mask on the common elements of a condominium and that resident not being medically exempt from wearing one, Boards can look to Section 117(1) of the Act . In this regard, Section 117(1) holds that no person shall permit a condition to exist or carry on an activity in a unit or on the common elements if the condition or the activity is likely to damage the property or cause injury to an individual. However, proceeding with an urgent court application due to dangerous conduct takes a significant amount of time and expense and if a policy is in place in the first place, this may assist in keeping owners informed and in warding off such conduct. In support of the benefits of a reasonable pandemic-related policy, we look to the recent case of Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1704 v. Fraser , 2020 ONSC 5430 (“ Fraser ”). In Fraser , the condominium corporation implemented a policy at the start of the pandemic to restrict repairs in the units during the pandemic. The policy stated that “contractors are not allowed to work in-suite unless it is considered an emergency or essential service”. The condominium corporation provided the following support for this policy:
Kristi Sargeant-Kerr, LL.B. specializes in all aspects of con- dominium and real estate law, including development, man- agement and litigation at Scott Petrie, LLP. She has been ap- pointed to the Advisory Com- mittee of the Condominium Management Regulatory Au- thority of Ontario (CMRAO) and is an active member of the CCI London and Area Chapter Board of Directors.
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… Condominium Policies During the Pandemic
“With the COVID -19 Pandemic, there is concern for the safety and security of our residents to permit additional unnecessary people in the building as well as the reasonable expectation of residents for quiet enjoyment of their property with so many people being required to work from home these days.” One of the units had suffered water damage during plumbing repairs. As a result, the occupants were not able to use the second bedroom or the ensuite bathroom. The owner wished to carry out the required repairs and this ultimately resulted in the Court dispute. The Court upheld the policy and said that the repairs could not proceed (at this time). The Court said that the policy was “well within the range of reasonable responses to the global pandemic” . It is important to note that the policy at issue in Fraser was implemented in support of the condominium corporation’s various obligations, including the duty to reasonably enforce Section 117 of the Act . At the same time, the Court noted that rules passed by a condominium corporation will be upheld by a Court unless they are “clearly unreasonable or contrary to the legislative scheme” (as noted by the Court of Appeal in the case of York Condominium Corp. No. 382 v. Dvorchik ). In Fraser , the Court applied similar reasoning to its consideration of the particular policy. The Court said: “The context for the policy is the unprecedented societal response to a virus which is contagious and fatal particularly to those in high-risk categories. Although the Province of Ontario has authorized re-opening of certain types of services during the spring and summer of 2020, this does not suggest that all places of living or working are obliged to follow these guidelines. I also find that the Corporation was reasonable in maintaining the policy over the past four
led to the Board adopting the policy. The policy is not absolute and will give way to matters of emergency or health risks. A reasonable policy may become unreasonable if it is in place longer than is necessary. However, in this case, the evidence does not support a finding that this stage has been reached yet.” The Court also held that the condominium corporation had fairly and reasonably applied the policy in the circumstances of this particular case. Going forward, we recommend that condominium corporations look to policies to assist in managing the safety, security and welfare of their residents and to manage their common elements during these very uncertain times. Seeking the input of your corporation’s lawyer can also assist if you are unsure of what is reasonable to include in such policies, when it is appropriate to update them and steps to take to enforce them if necessary.
months. The pandemic response has included restrictions on many aspects of daily living in Toronto since mid-March of 2020. The pandemic is still capable of spreading in the community. It has been approximately four months since the policy was implemented. This is not an unreasonable period given the context and the seriousness of the health risk that has
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The Importance of an Audit - by Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hons), Administrator
The financial and legal health and stability of a condominium corporation are important to all owners, as well as to potential buyers in the corporation. The board has a responsibility to manage the affairs of the corporation. Section 66 (1) of the Act states: A corporation shall have its financial statements prepared in the prescribed manner and in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for- profit organizations as are prescribed. 2015, c. 28, Sched 1, s.59 (1) While the Act, allows any Corporation consisting of fewer than 25 units to dispens e with a formal external audit of the financial records provided that 100% of the Owners consent in writing prior to the Annual General Meeting. Audit or not, the tax return must be prepared by the accountant. The reasons to have an audit can be important to the owners. The auditor is a qualified professional who is appointed by owners to examine and report with a full and detailed examination of the corporation’s financial statements and records on their behalf. Simply put, auditors are required to conduct their audits in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS) and to report to the owners whether, in their opinion, the financial statements are presented fairly and to report whether the requirements of the Act have been met ( CAS 700 Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements and other CASs as appropriate). Amendments to the Act have increased the tasks to be performed by small board-managed corporations. If a board is unable to complete the new work required, directors must seek advice from professionals to assist them,
especially to ensure compliance with the Act . The one area best served by the professionals is the financial area. The board and owners can be well- served by an audit. It will provide owners with an understanding and transparency of how the corporation took care of their investment. The auditor can highlight any issues, no matter how small, that may have been missed by the corporation’s system and can be brought to the board’s attention for correction. The audit can help to improve a corporation’s internal controls and systems which in turn provides confidence to the owners. It could also be said that dealings with banks to secure more affordable loans if there is proof there are resources to repay the loan, can be improved. Future owners are more inclined to buy where they are secure in the knowledge that the corporation is well managed, especially financially. The document Accounting, Auditing and Tax Guidelines for Ontario Condominium Corporations (October 2013) provides guidance, but readers are cautioned that subsequent amendments to, or interpretations of accounting and auditing standards may affect the
Trish Kaplan , CCI (Hon’s) is the current part-time Adminis- trator for the CCI-London and Area Chapter, also having served in the position from April 2003-September 2010 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from CCI Na- tional in November 2006. She served on the Board of Direc- tors from 2010 to 2015 when she returned as Administrator. Trish is also a former condo- minium manager.
validity or applicability of the comments in these guidelines.
You can access this document here :
References to the CPA Canada Handbook , to the CPA Ontario’s Member’s Handbook , and to the Condominium Act, 1998 and related regulations are not all- inclusive. Readers should refer to the complete texts to obtain an
understanding of all applicable standards and ethical and other requirements.
2020/2021 - 3 — 13
A Toilet Leak, A Chargeback, and a Case of Negligence (maybe?) - by Luis Hernandez, BA, JD, CCI - Windsor - Essex Director
In terms of condominium case law, 2021 has started off with a continuation of one of the most interesting cases of 2020. In Lozano v. TSCC 1765 , 2021 ONSC 983, the Divisional Court heard an appeal from a July 2020 decision. In the original decision, the trial judge found that the owners of a condominium unit, the Lozanos, were liable for damages arising from a water leak that came from a toilet in their unit. By way of background, while the Lozanos’ were out of the country for about five months, they left the unit unoccupied. In an attempt to be responsible, they arranged for a friend to check it every two weeks to make sure the heat was on and to collect their mail. However, a few days before the Lozanos were scheduled to return, the friend noticed that water was leaking from the toilet and reported it to the condominium. The water leaking caused damage to the Lozanos’ unit, to the ceiling of the unit below, and to parts of the common element hallways. Eventually, it was discovered that the leak had occurred as a result of a broken ballcock which caused water to constantly fill and overflow the toilet. It is important to mention that, about a year prior to the water leak in issue, the Lozanos fixed an issue with the toilet’s float themselves without hiring a plumber to fix it (spoiler alert – this will be important!). The condominium corporation’s by - laws included a provision holding the owners responsible for the deductible on the corporation’s insurance policy in cases of damage resulting from the owners’ “acts or omissions”.
Ultimately, they registered a lien under section 105 of the Condominium Act, 1998 for the lesser of the cost to repair the water damage and the deductible limit of the corporation’s insurance policy. The owners argued that the corporation could not chargeback the repair cost because they did not commit an “act or omission” which caused the toilet to leak. They also argued that they maintained the unit, acted reasonably, and had originally fixed the toilet issue when it first appeared. Because of this, they asked the Court to consider a “robust” negligence threshold to prove an act or omission. However, the Court ultimately held that the damage resulted from the owners’ “act or omission” because they failed to maintain the toilet and should have hired a plumber to inspect it. The Court also held that negligence is not the standard to be considered in these types of cases. While the Court was appreciative of the fact that the Lozanos might not have acted negligently, it still indicated that the system that they were advocating for was untenable because all the other owners would more frequently (and unfairly) be responsible for repair costs or insurance deductibles. We could not say it better than the Court did, so below are some notable comments from the decision: Here, the Lozanos were aware that the toilet had previously malfunctioned and chose not to employ a plumber to address the problem or to maintain the plumbing subsequently. In Breakwell, the unit owner had no notice that the internal wiring of the
Luis Hernandez, BA, JD is an associate at Shibley Righton LLP and works primarily with the Condominium Law group. His practice is focused on solicitor-side condominium work, nevertheless he is often involved in litigation-related matters. He consistently advises boards of directors on corporate governance, compliance matters, negotiation of contracts, and preparation of by-laws and rules. He also attends clients' board meetings and chairs owners' meetings, such as annual general meetings and requisitioned meetings. With respect to litigation, Luis has appeared as counsel before the Ontario Superior Court, Divisional Court, Small Claims Court, Condominium Authority Tribunal, and the Landlord and Tenant Board. Luis is a member of the CCI Windsor-Essex Chapter and serves as their CCI National Representative. He has also participated as a presenter for CCI-London and Area Chapter.
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… Negligence (maybe?)
unit furnace was in jeopardy. Even still, the Breakwell Court determined that the unit owner’s act or omission did not have to be negligent – and the damage did not have to be foreseeable – in order to make them liable for the cost of repair. … Indeed, in this case, the Lozanos appear to be advocating for a system based on proving negligent act or omission; absent which, no unit owner could be held financially responsible for the cost of repairs. However, the case law definitively indicates that the negligence standard is not to be applied in condominium disputes of this kind; rather, the standard is between negligence and strict liability and is perhaps closer to the latter. …
This is not a case where the unit owners were negligent in their care and upkeep of the Unit. Rather, this is a case where the failure to retain a plumber who could make thorough repairs constitutes an omission for which the Lozanos must be
held responsible. Further, while the Lozanos were conscientious in
arranging family and friends to check on the Unit during their prolonged absence, it would have been additionally prudent to have shut off the water to the Unit during their trip. Doing so would presumably have mitigated against any damage of the kind suffered here and is reflective of the level of care and diligence that is expected of condominium owners. These are strong words by the Court and creates an important lesson for unit owners – when you discover an issue, make sure to investigate it properly and to document the steps you have taken. You may be thinking to yourself “it sounds like the Lozanos acted reasonably” but the Court is saying that by failing to hire a plumber to check the toilet, and to shut off the valve, there was an “omission” which caused the leak. Owners are expected to be prudent and the Court is implicitly saying that condominium owners are expected to have a high level of care and diligence. So next time you discover an issue with something in your unit, consider calling in experts in to make sure there are no bigger issues which you might not have picked up on. And if you go on a long trip, shut off the water valves in your unit!
2020/2021 - 3 — 15
Welcome Spring - by Trish Kaplan, CCI (Hons), Administrator
Now, every morning starts just that little bit earlier and stays light a little longer. It is a very welcome sign that Spring is coming. Imagine, with a little warmth, masks and physical distancing, we might just be able, and certainly ready, to have (at the very least) deck visits with special people we have missed so much in our life. I know that will be an extraordinary treat for so many of us who have been in the stay-at-home mode for so many months. Spring also means that boards, managers and other experts in maintenance are already in planning mode to attend to our properties in the months ahead. It is so important for owners to share with an assist to ensure ongoing upkeep on the property is carried out as needed. Small problems can create larger ones, so timely attention to every issue is essential. The board will likely provide owners with the opportunity and reporting instructions to view exterior maintenance in and around the unit, mostly within an exclusive use area. These owner reports are significantly helpful to the board. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of this reporting system especially within their personal exclusive use area, as well as any they may have viewed on the common elements. Photos of the issue being described can be amazingly helpful to the board and the contractor. There are responsibilities for boards and owners for repairs, described in the corporation’s governing documents. All hands on deck identifying any and all issues of concern will allow the board to carry out a thorough review so they can prioritize and organize the repairs with appropriate contractors within their budgets. In some cases, they might have to advise owners of their responsibility to maintain. Attending to organizing maintenance issues with the appropriate contractor in a timely manner will help them schedule the work sooner than later. Exterior inspection - what to look for • Foundation cracks or signs of stress in the walls as well as the actual foundation • Cracks in mortar joints in a brick façade or cracking stucco • Gutters for cleaning or loose from icicles • Downspouts and grading – must be set to direct water away from the unit; make sure splash diverters are set properly to move runoff away from the foundation; check for loose sections • Erosions and/or low spots formed next to the foundation, or other landscaping issues • Peeling paint • Dryer vent for clogs – make sure the vent cover is secure and flap moves freely • Caulking around entry areas for AC or cables • Caulking around windows and doors, cracks in glass, discoloration around edges of glass; mechanics of the window • Mailbox (clean inside and out – watch for spiders who like to take up housekeeping inside) • Parking space, driveway and walkways (watch for tree roots, cracks, stains on the driveway/parking space) • Trees closest to the unit – make sure they aren’t rubbing against the roofing shingles
Trish Kaplan , CCI (Hon’s) is the current part-time Administrator for the CCI- London and Area Chapter, also having served in the position from April 2003- September 2010 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from CCI National in November 2006. She served on the Board of Directors from 2010 to 2015 when she returned as Administrator. Trish is also a former condominium manager.
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not, take a few minutes to correct it.
Garage doors and opener
Decks, stairs, porches for nails or screws sticking up; mould buildup or surface grime to be cleaned; wood stairs that looked warped; handrails that are loose • Fencing, gates and retaining walls • Patio areas for uneven bricks or cracked concrete • Look up at the roof to see if any shingles are missing, loose, damaged or misaligned • Check for signs of animal activity or entry points When to call in the pros It is recommended that mechanical components such as air conditioning units, are best served by the pros to ensure they have the appropriate inspection to prevent breakdowns and assure it stays running at peak efficiency when you need it. Here are some areas to identify relative to the air conditioner.: 1. Is the unit sitting level on its foundation pad? If
2. If there are plants and bushes growing close to the system, remove any that are less than 2 feet away. Most units need adequate air flow around the system to operate properly. 3. Check for damage on circuit boards, wiring and compressor tubing. 4. Check coils and clean drain pan and replace filer on your air conditioner Let the sunshine in The snow is melting, temperatures are rising and now it’s time to let the sunshine in. • Wash exterior and interior windows and screens. • Test window seals and cranks – repair/replace as necessary
2020/2021 - 3 — 17
bathroom (check out Ontario’s Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit for financial assistance) • Ensure areas are well-lit, especially stairs and doorways • Use footwear that fit and have non-slip soles • Use walkers or canes as the medical professionals recommend • Keep a cell phone with you or get a personal emergency response system Indoor Cleaning We’ve all been spending time at home. It’s time to get outdoors. Get your indoors polished up so you can fully enjoy the summer. • Wipe walls, baseboards and outlets (remove covers as well) to remove dust and spider webs • Replace (or thoroughly clean) all filters – including water, range hood and air vent (every 3-6 months depending on type of filter • Faucets and showerheads – soak in equal parts vinegar and water solution for an hour, then rinse and dry with warm water. • Spring clean all rooms, check for evidence of leaking, dust and mould Other notes Exclusive use and common elements areas • If your condominium has a contract with a landscaping company, do not add any products to the common elements as they may have an adverse effect on what the landscaper uses. • Clean outdoor furniture and get it ready to relax • Clean and plant your favourite container flowers • Clean BBQ to get ready for outside grilling (according to manufacturer’s instructions)
Clean exterior and interior window sills Leaks around windows and doors
• Check windows and doors for proper weather stripping; repair/replace as needed • Clean outdoor light fixtures and bulbs. • Throw open those windows and let some fresh air in. Indoor Inspections Attention to indoor items will mitigate the possibilities of claims during your much needed warmer weather. • Check appliance hoses for cracks or brittleness or leaks • Check and clean your dryer vent • If you have a fireplace, clean it out and have the chimney cleaned • Leaks within a unit could identify an exterior issue • Check for signs of leaks or pests in the attic, garage or basement • Clean and flush all toilets, check for cracks • Clean sinks and make sure there are no clogs • Test water heater’s pressure relief valve to prevent mineral/corrosion buildup and leaks • Check working order of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – replace batteries where needed • Check drainage near basement windows • Check under the sink in bathrooms and kitchens for possible leaks and check that shut off valves are in working order • Check tub and sink caulking for repair/ replacement • Check tiles in shower and around sinks for cracks or loose tiles Safety Tips Now is also a good time to review your home environment to lower your risk of injury. While medical conditions can increase your risk of falling, attention to poor lighting, loose rugs or clutter can be risks that a little pre-planning and simple solutions can also help. Here are some tips: • Remove or secure loose carpets, area rugs and mats • Clean up spills as they occur • Remove clutter • Secure power cords away from floors • Choose anti-slip flooring, especially for stairs • Install and use handrails on stairs and in the
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