VOL. 14, NO. 3 • SPRING 2010
P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E C A N A D I A N C O N D O M I N I U M I N S T I T U T E - T O R O N T O & A R E A C H A P T E R P U B L I C AT I O N D E L’ I N S T I T U T C A N A D I E N D E S C O N D O M I N I U M S - C H A P I T R E D E T O R O N T O E T R É G I O N
2010 Condominium of the Year
Consistently Inconsistent - Making Sense of Recent Human Rights Tribunal Decisions The Gutting of s.97 and the Abandonment of Certainty HRTC:Time to Spend has Expired - Now the Paperwork Fun Begins!
■ ■ ■
Energy Efficiency - A Great Investment Opportunity The Myth of Multitasking What the Condominium Board Should be Considering Every Year – An Annual Checklist
… and more PM #40047055
Canadian Condominium Institute / Institut canadien des condominiums Toronto & Area Chapter 2175 Sheppard Ave. E., Suite 310, Toronto, ON M2J 1W8 Tel.: (416) 491-6216 Fax: (416) 491-1670 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ccitoronto.org
by Brian Horlick
2009/2010 Board of Directors
VICE-PRESIDENTS Mario Deo, LL.B. (Member, Public Relations Committee Member, Conference Committee) Fine & Deo LLP Bill Thompson, BA, RCM, ACCI (Vice -Chair Membership Committee and Vice-Chair Education Committee) Malvern Condominium Property Management
SECRETARY/TREASURER Bob Girard, B.Comm, RCM, ACCI, FCCI (Chair: Special Projects Committee, CAI Liaison) AA Property Management & Associates
PAST PRESIDENT John Warren, C.A. (Member, Education Committee Member, Legislative Committee) Adams & Miles LLP
BOARD MEMBERS Gordon Chong, DDS (Member, Legislative Committee) MTCC # 0620 Brian Horlick, B.Comm., B.C.L., LL.B., ACCI (Chair, Legislative Committee, Member, Conference Committee) Horlick Levitt Barristers & Solicitors Jeff Jeffcoatt - P.Eng, RCM (Member, Education Committee) Construction Control Inc. Lisa Kay (Member, Public Relations Committee, Conference Committee, Website Committee) Morrison Financial Limited Julian McNabb (Chair, Public Relations Committee and Membership Committee) Simerra Property Management Ltd. Vic Persaud, BA (Chair, Membership Committee, Chair Website Committee) Suncorp Valuations Ltd. Sally Thompson, P.Eng. (Member, Education Committee Member, Legislative Committee) Halsall Associates Ltd.
EX OFFICIO DIRECTOR Jasmine Martirossian, B.A., M.A., PhD.
ADMINISTRATOR - Lynn Morrovat ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT - Josee Lefebvre
The Boiling Point: Resolving Disputes in Condominium Communities by Bradley Chaplick
PRESIDENT Armand Conant, B.Eng., LL.B., D.E.S.S. (Co-Chair, Legislative Committee, Chair, Conference Committee) Heenan Blaikie LLP
Consistently Inconsistent: Making Sense of Recent Human Rights Tribunal Decisions
19 27 31
The Gutting of s.97 and the Abandonment of Certainty by Audrey Loeb
The Truth about Multitasking by Harold Taylor
Home Renovation Tax Credit: Time to Spend has Expired - Now the Paperwork Fun Begins! by Armand Conant
34 40 57
Information Bulletin Re Home Renovation Tax Credit Energy Efficiency – A Great Investment Opportunity by Tim Stoate
What the Condominium Board Should be Considering Every Year – An Annual Checklist by Michael H. Clifton
CCI News 5 8 17 20 41 44 46 48 49 50 54 55
President’s Message From the Editor Important Update on Reserve Fund Change made by the Ontario Government Condo of the Year - 2nd Quarter Finalist CCI-T Special Projects Committee Update: Potential Closing of Garbage Chutes at Selected Multi-Residential Buildings as Part of a Waste Diversion Plan 2009 Annual General Meeting of the Toronto & Area Chapter CCI Welcomes New Director ACCI Member Profile - Bill Thompson CCI Member Bestowed Highest Honour CCI Announces 2009 Condominium of the Year New Members Upcoming Events Spring 2010
President’s Message s I write this message, the first one of a new decade, I find that it is an exciting time; a time to look ahead in new directions and at changes and challenges which condominiums and our members will be facing.
Legislative changes are perhaps at the forefront of those challenges facing us today. For that reason you will find that many of the articles contained in this spring issue are focused on legislative matters.
With the Home Renovation Tax Credit spending deadline now behind us, managers and boards face the administrative challenges of dealing with the credits. CCI Toronto and ACMO recently met with senior representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency to clarify many of the questions our members had regarding the HRTC. For a summary of those findings, please see the article on page 31.
The Harmonized Sales Tax (“HST”) coming into effect on July 1st, 2010 will pose an even larger challenge for condominiums. Most corporations are by now already planning (or have planned) for the new tax through their budgeting processes. CCI Toronto and ACMO have been working very hard over the last 8 months advocating to the government to try to find ways to reduce the unique impact the HST will have on condominium owners.
Our efforts have borne fruit as one new change which CCI Toronto is pleased to announce is that the government has taken an important step by deciding that Corporations registered before May 5, 2001 will have 15 years, and not 10 years, from the date of their first reserve fund study to top up, or fully fund, their reserve funds. This change will reduce the economic impact on corporations that soon have to top up their reserve funds. Any shortfall, including that caused by the HST can be gradually collected or transitioned over an additional 5 years, eliminating the need for immediately seeking additional funds from owners, which would have put a financial burden on them. Details of this important change can be found on page 17.
The work of the Committee will not end here as this change is but one of many we suggested to the government. As your President and as a member of this Committee, I can assure all our members that we will continue to press the government for further changes in order to reduce the impact of the HST on condominium owners.
Recognizing the varied directions a new decade may bring forth, the 2010 Conference Committee has selected “Directions for a New Decade – Staying Ahead of The Curve” as the theme for the 14th annual ACMO/CCI-T Condominium Conference. Planning is already in full swing for this event and many interesting session topics can be expected. Be sure to mark your calendars now for November 5th and 6th, 2010 at the Markham Hilton Suites Hotel and Conference Center. Embrace the New Year, embrace the New Decade and remember that the only constant in life is change itself. Cheers!
Armand Conant, B.Eng, LL.B., D.E.S.S. (Sorbonne) President, CCI Toronto & Area Chapter
Contributors “TheCondoVoice” is published 4 times per year – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, by the Canadian Condominium Institute - Toronto & Area Chapter.
EDITOR: Mario Deo MAGAZINE DIRECTORS: Gordon Chong, Lisa Kay, Julian McNabb ADVERTISING: Marie McNamee COPY EDITOR: Ruth Max COMPOSITION: E-Graphics All advertising enquiries should be directed to Marie McNamee at (905) 852-2802 or email@example.com
If you are interested in writing articles for TheCondoVoice magazine, please contact Marie McNamee at (905) 852-2802 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Article topics must be on issues of interest to Condominium Directors and must be informative rather than commercial in nature.
The authors, the Canadian Condominium Institute and its representatives will not be held liable in any respect whatsoever for any statement or advice contained herein. Articles should not be relied upon as a professional opinion or as an authoritative or comprehensive answer in any case. Professional advice should be obtained after discussing all particulars applicable in the specific circumstances in order to obtain an opinion or report capable of absolving condominium directors from liability [under s. 37 (3) (b) of the Condominium Act, 1998]. Authors’ views expressed in any article are not necessarily those of the Canadian Condominium Institute. All contributors are deemed to have consented to publication of any information provided by them, including business or personal contact information.
Consider supporting the advertisers and service providers referred to in this magazine, recognizing that they have been supporters of CCI.
Advertisements are paid advertising and do not imply endorsement of or any liability whatsoever on the part of CCI with respect to any product, service or statement. Publications Mail Agreement #40047055 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to Circulation Dept. 2175 Sheppard Ave. E., Suite 310, Toronto, ON M2J 1W8
BRADLEY CHAPLICK, B.COMM., J.D., (The Boiling Point: Resolving Disputes in Condominium Communities, page 14.) Bradley joined Fine & Deo in 2009 and practices in all areas of condominium law and litigation. He regularly writes about new issues impacting condominium communities on the firm’s condo law BLOG. Bradley can be reached via email at email@example.com.
MICHAEL H. CLIFTON, (What the Condominium Board Should be Considering Every Year - An Annual Checklist, page 57.) is a Condominium Management and Land Development lawyer with the firm Clifton Kok LLP in Ayr, ON. He holds bachelor and master degrees in philosophy as well as a degree in law and he was called to the bar in 2000. Michael earned his ACCI designation from CCI in 2008 and has served on the Golden Horseshoe CCI Board of Directors since 2006. Michael has co-authored two Ontario Condominium law books, “A Planners and Municipalities Guide to the Condominium Act, 1998” and “Essential Issues for Realtors on the Condominium Act, 1998”
ARMAND G.R. CONANT, B. ENG., LL.B., D.E.S.S. (SORBONNE), (Home Renovation Tax Credit: Time to Spend has Expired - Now the Paperwork Fun Begins!, page 31.) is a partner in the full service law firm of Heenan Blaikie LLP, co-heading its extensive condominium and real estate department. Armand is President of CCI-Toronto, and is Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee (preparing a brief for the Ontario government with recommendations for changes to the Condominium Act, 1998). Armand is also a member of CCI National’s Government Relations Committee and assembled a “Condominium Primer”. In addition, Armand is a member of ACMO and sits on its Discipline Committee.
Armand is the first lawyer in Ontario to be a court appointed full Administrator, to take over all the duties of a Board of Directors of, and run, a troubled corporation. Armand is also an engineer and having received a Masters of Law degree from the Sorbonne (France), he is bilingual. BOB GIRARD, B.COMM, ACCI, FCCI, RCM, (City of Toronto Staff Report: Potential Closing of Garbage Chutes, page 43.) Bob Girard is a Graduate of Concordia University with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. He has served on the Board of Directors of YCC #50 for the past 18 years, 16 of them as President. He is a Director on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Condominium Institute - Toronto Chapter currently serving as Treasurer. He is a member on the Special Projects
Committee and has been teaching the Condo 201 program in the Condominium Director Course.
Bob is currently working as a Condominium Property Manager with AA Property Management.
BRIAN HORLICK, B.COMM., B.C.L. LL.B., ACCI (Consistently Inconsistent: Making Sense of Recent Human Rights Tribunal Decisions, page 9). Brian has been successfully engaged in the practice of law for 25 years. He is a senior partner with the law firm of Horlick Levitt and is an expert in the area of condominium law. He is a director on the CCI-Toronto Board, Co-Chair of the CCI Legal & Governmental Affairs Committees, Chair of the ACMO Associates Executive Communications Committee.
AUDREY LOEB, L.S.M., B.A., LL.M., (The Gutting of s.97 and the Abandonment of Certainty, page 19.) Audrey is the author of the leading texts on Condominium Law in Ontario entitled - Condominium: Law and Administration and The Condominium Act: A User’s Manual, published by Carswell. She is Professor Emeritus of Ryerson University.
Audrey is a frequent lecturer for the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association and Toronto Real Estate Board. She is a regular columnist in the Toronto Real Estate Board News.
She is also a former member of the National Board of Directors of the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), the Consumer Advisory Committee of the Board of Directors of the Tarion Home Warranty Program and the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Council of Ontario.
Audrey was awarded The Law Society Medal in 2008, which recognizes outstanding Ontario lawyers whose service reflects the highest ideals of the profession.
TIM STOATE (“Energy Efficiency A Great Investment Opportunity, page 40.) Tim Stoate is Director, Mandate-related Finance for the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, which has developed the TowerWise highrise energy efficiency program.
HAROLD TAYLOR, CSP, (The Truth about Multitasking, page 27.) Harold is president of Harold Taylor Time Consultants Ltd., facilitates time management training programs. His website is www.taylorintime.com.
Cover photo – TSCC #1791
From the Editor n 2025, over 50% of urban Ontario will be living in condominiums. This number will only get larger, since the Province of Ontario has implemented a clear policy of intensification. Essentially, intensification seeks to prevent urban sprawl by putting more homes on less land. For obvious reasons, condominiums are the most efficient way of achieving the provinceâ€™s intensification policy.
The taxation issue faced by condominiums is that the provincial government decided that the tax rate applicable to condominium homes will be the same as singlefamily homes. Fairness dictates that this policy should be re-examined carefully. It is a fact that condominiums use less municipal resources than, for example, residents of single-family homes. Most condominiums pay for their own private garbage removal and other services that â€œtraditionalâ€? home owners receive from municipalities. Condominiums also use a smaller proportion of infrastructure per household, such as roads, sanitary hardware, and other municipal services. The bottom line is that it costs a municipality less per household to serve a condominium than it costs to serve a traditional home. On March 9, 2010, the Council of the Town of Markham passed a unanimous resolution to grant municipalities the authority to create a condominium tax rate. Municipal governments do not currently have legislative authority to create a separate tax rate for condominiums. To create such legislative authority, the Ontario Assessment Act, must be amended. This may be accomplished at a Provincial level so that uniformity can be achieved in each municipality. The alternative is to permit municipalities to create a separate tax rate for condominiums. Whatever method used, a specific tax rate for condominiums may create a more equitable tax assessment environment than under the present state of affairs.
Mario Deo, LL.B.
CCI-Toronto welcomes responses and comments from members. Please forward your comments to the attention of the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Consistently Inconsistent: Making Sense of Recent Human Rights Tribunal Decisions BY BRIAN HORLICK, HORLICK LEVITT BARRISTERS & SOLICITORS n 2009, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario considered two applications brought before it by owners of units in condominium corporations. Both condominium corporations were made up of townhouses or free-standing homes which each had individual front entrances. The front entrances to the units in both corporations were reached by climbing a short flight of stairs. In both corporations, the stairs leading to the units were common elements.
Both applications concerned unit owners with mobility issues, such that the owners required modifications to be made to the common element stairs to permit them to access the front entrances of their respective units. Both condominium corporations granted permission to the respective unit owners to make the requested modifications, but stated that the cost of the modifications would be borne by the respective unit owners. Both unit owners brought applications before the Tribunal for orders that the condominium corporations be required to pay for the modifications on the basis that the corporationsâ€™ refusal to do so amounted to discrimination contrary to the Human Rights Code. Given the apparent similarities between these two scenarios, one would think that the Tribunal would have made similar decisions. In fact, the opposite occurred;
while one condominium corporation was ordered to pay for the cost of the modification, the other was not. This article will examine the two decisions, attempt to answer the question of why the Tribunal acted as it did, and illustrate the impact that these decisions could have on other condominium corporations. DiSalvo v. Halton Condominium Corp. No. 186 (Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, December 8, 2009)
The applicant, Mr. DiSalvo, owned a townhouse unit in a condominium corporation made up of twenty-four such units. Mr. DiSalvo suffered from muscular dystrophy, which, among other things, significantly limited his mobility, such that he had extreme difficulty negotiating the stairs leading to the front door of his unit.
In the spring of 2008, Mr. DiSalvo advised the condominium corporation that he would require a ramp to be installed over the stairs and pathway leading to his unit in order for him to be able to use his front door. As the stairs and pathway, as well as Mr. DiSalvo’s front landing, were common elements, section 98 of the Condominium Act, 1998 required Mr. DiSalvo to obtain the condominium corporation’s permission for the installation of a modification such as a ramp. The estimated cost of the
ramp would be about $4,000, plus about $150 per year in maintenance costs.
The condominium corporation granted permission, but took the position that Mr. DiSalvo should be required to pay for the ramp, as it would serve only his unit. In this regard, the corporation asked Mr. DiSalvo to sign a section 98 agreement stating that he would bear the costs of installing and maintaining the ramp. However, Mr. DiSalvo refused to do so, and instead brought the application on the basis that the condominium corporation had breached its duty to accommodate his disability pursuant to the Human Rights Code.
The Tribunal considered whether the condominium corporation had met its duty to accommodate Mr. DiSalvo by granting permission for him to install the ramp at his own expense, or whether that duty extended to paying for the ramp. The corporation argued that, as the ramp was for the exclusive benefit of one unit owner, it would be inappropriate for the Tribunal to force the corporation to expend all unit owners’ funds in order to pay for same.
However, the Tribunal disagreed, ruling that the duty to accommodate extended beyond providing mere permission. Rather, the corporation was required to bear the financial burden of
the installation and upkeep of the ramp. The Tribunal ordered the corporation to pay for the installation of the ramp, and also awarded Mr. DiSalvo damages for injury to dignity, feelings and selfrespect in the amount of $12,000.
McMillan v. Bruce Condominium Corp. No. 6 (Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, June 18, 2009)
The applicant, Ms. McMillan, owned a condominium unit in a 32-unit condominium corporation. The applicant’s unit, like the other units, was a freestanding one-storey house sitting on an individual parcel of land. The house itself was considered the unit, and the area extending from the front and rear entrances to the boundaries of the parcel of land was an exclusive use common element appurtenant to the unit. At each entrance was a wooden landing with two wooden steps extending from each respective landing to the ground. The landings had railings around them, but the steps did not. Ms. McMillan suffered from increasingly serious mobility issues and, as a result, she eventually felt that she was unable to safely leave her unit without assistance. This led her husband to write to the board of directors of the corporation requesting that the corporation install handrails on the front and rear steps.
The board granted permission for the installation of handrails on the steps of the McMillans’ unit, but took the position that, as with other owners who had installed handrails on the steps outside their respective units, the McMillans would be responsible for the cost of installing the handrails. However, the McMillans believed that they should not bear the cost of installing the handrails, and that the corporation’s failure to pay for the handrails constituted discrimination against Ms. McMillan contrary to the Human Rights Code. Although the Tribunal’s decision does not state the estimated cost of the handrails in question, it is reasonable to presume that the cost of wooden handrails would be relatively minimal. The Tribunal, as in DiSalvo, was asked to consider whether the corporation’s position that the McMillans should bear the cost of installing the handrails constituted discrimination on the basis of disability and, if so, whether Ms. McMillan’s disability could be accommodated without undue hardship to the corporation.
The Tribunal noted that the corporation’s declaration required the individual unit owners to maintain the exclusive use common elements appurtenant to their respective units. It further noted that all additions, alterations or improvements made to the exclusive use common elements of the corporation had always been made at the expense of the individual unit owner, and that, aside from the fact that the purpose of Ms. McMillan’s request for handrails was to facilitate her access to and from her unit, this request was no different than previous requests that the McMillans had made for permission to place a hot tub or erect a tool shed on their exclusive use common element.
Accordingly, the Tribunal held that the corporation had not discriminated against Ms. McMillan, and that the corporation’s obligation to accommodate, such as it was, had been discharged by the granting of permission for the McMillans to install the handrails.
Why the Difference? Counsel for the condominium corporation in DiSalvo has advised the author that the Tribunal’s decision in McMillan had been released at the time that DiSalvo was heard by the Tribunal, and that the Tribunal (although this is not reflected in its written decision) distinguished McMillan orally on the basis that the unit owners were responsible to maintain and repair the area to be modified in McMillan, but the corporation was responsible to maintain and repair the area to be modified in DiSalvo.
However, this reasoning seems inconsistent with the written decision for at least two reasons. For one, the written decision makes no reference to the Tribunal’s earlier decision in McMillan. Given the similarities between the two applications, and given the fact that McMillan was apparently raised before the Tribunal at the hearing of DiSalvo, it would have been both simple and reasonable for the Tribunal to include one or two paragraphs discussing its reasons for not following its own decision in McMillan.
For another, the Tribunal’s decision in DiSalvo does not appear to turn on the question of responsibility to maintain and repair the common element that would be modified. Rather, the Tribunal applied a principle from the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Eldridge v. British Columbia (Attorney General). In that case, a number of deaf hospital patients sued the British Columbia government for the government’s failure to fund the provision of interpretive services, such as sign language interpreters, in hospitals. The Supreme Court held that the hospital’s duty to accommodate included an obligation to assume the costs of the accommodation measure – in that case, sign language interpreters – even if the accommodation measure was for the exclusive benefit of one patient. The Tribunal in DiSalvo took this principle and applied it to the facts therein, holding that the obligation of the many to pay for this sort of benefit to an Spring 2010
individual should extend to a condominium corporation.
There appears to be a number of flaws in this reasoning, including the application of Eldridge to the facts of this case. Eldridge dealt with the obligations of a government and of a body in receipt of public funding to provide services to disabled members of the public pursuant to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By contrast, DiSalvo dealt with the obligations of a private, non-profit corporation with limited sources of income and limited access to funding to accommodate one of the members of that corporation in his occupancy of accommodation. It may be that other judicial and quasi-judicial bodies would (and will) uphold the general principle that a condominium corporation’s duty to accommodate extends to bearing the costs of that accommodation, unless the condominium corporation can establish that bearing such costs would amount to undue hardship on the part of the condominium corporation.
Given that the Tribunal in DiSalvo did not address its previous decision in McMillan and its reasons for departing from that decision, one could speculate that the Tribunal could have been suffering from “tryer’s remorse”, so to speak, with respect to its decision in McMillan, and could have seen DiSalvo as an opportunity to right that perceived wrong. This is, to be clear, pure speculation, but by failing to address McMillan in its decision in DiSalvo the Tribunal has opened the door to such speculation. What Should Condominium Corporations Do? It remains clear that condominium corporations must accommodate unit owner disabilities to the point of undue hardship. Unfortunately, while in some instances this point of undue hardship will be easy to determine, in others it may not, as is illustrated by DiSalvo and McMillan. In many cases, practically speaking, it will ultimately be better for the corpo-
ration to simply pay for the agreedupon accommodation measure. This is especially true if one anticipates that the Tribunal will continue to rule as it did in DiSalvo. Condominium corporations will have to weigh the cost of the proposed accommodation measure, and the value of possibly avoiding an unfavourable precedent within the corporation, against the costs associated with a potential human rights application. These costs would include legal and other costs and could, if the corporation was unsuccessful in defending the application, also include the cost of the accommodation measure that the corporation had originally been asked to pay for and a potential award of damages to the disabled unit owner. Condominium corporations would therefore be well advised to consider not just the cost of failure, but also the cost of success, when faced with potential human rights complaints. ■
The Boiling Point: Resolving Disputes in Condominium Communities BY BRADLEY CHAPLICK, FINE & DEO BARRISTERS & SOLICITORS
magine the following scenario: a condominium corporation’s board of directors is meeting with the property manager for the sixth time in the last two months. On the agenda, once again, is an ongoing dispute. A seemingly simple matter has grown into a full blown conflict. The board is overwhelmed and the stress is taking its toll.
Why do rational people get into disputes? Why do disputes get so out of hand? What can boards do to diffuse them? This article examines the causes of conflict, and explains how to resolve
disputes in condominium communities.
A dispute is not always the result of a true difference of opinion; sometimes it is merely a perceived difference of opinion. These perceptions help explain why rational people, not just aggressive people, find themselves in disputes.
When a person feels that his or her rights are not being upheld, the perceived unfairness often causes a strong
emotional reaction. It is interesting to note that most people have a much lower threshold for an unfair disadvantage than an unfair advantage. Whereas the “wronged” party will suffer acute unfairness, the “offending” party will not feel the same degree of inequity. For example, when a driver is cut off in traffic by another vehicle, he or she will have a strong emotional reaction. In contrast, if that same driver cuts off another vehicle, he or she may feel badly about it, but the feeling will not be as strong as the one that arises from being a victim.
By clarifying the parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, they can be persuaded to change their behaviour accordingly. The different thresholds for unfairness result in a gap between how the two parties perceive the same situation. This difference helps explain why rational people get into conflicts with each other.
Rights and Responsibilities While human nature’s uneven threshold for unfairness helps to explain disputes in general, it does not explain why disputes in condominium communities in particular, seem so difficult to solve. This question is answered by the complexity of the rights and responsibilities related to condominium ownership. For example, common element balconies, patios and backyards are often mistaken for being part of the unit. The rights and responsibilities which attach to a common element balcony are very different from those that attach to a unit. Thus, residents may be honestly mistaken as to their rights and responsibilities.
These rights and responsibilities are set out in the Condominium Act, 1998,
and the condominium corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules. The less familiarity a resident has with the Act and the condominium corporation’s documents, the greater the potential for that resident to run afoul of them.
By way of example, consider a scenario where a unit owner complains that he or she is being disturbed by noise emanating from the unit above. The condominium corporation, in response to the complaint, writes to the owner of the upstairs unit, but to no avail, and the noise continues. In protest of the continuing noise, the downstairs unit owner withholds a portion of his or her common expenses, refusing to pay the arrears until the noise problem is solved. Each of these actions involves a right and a responsibility.
While the downstairs unit owner may have a right to quiet, that right does not go so far as to guarantee absolute silence. Similarly, the upstairs unit owner has a right to enjoy his or her unit so long as he or she does not unreasonably interfere with the downstairs
owner’s enjoyment. Finally, the condominium corporation has a responsibility to enforce the noise rules, but also has a right to collect common expenses, regardless of a unit owner’s complaints. The likelihood of a dispute between these parties increases dramatically when they misunderstand their rights or responsibilities towards each other.
Providing the parties with the correct information about their respective rights and responsibilities will often solve such a dispute. In the above example, the property manager should not only inform the upstairs unit owner that there is a noise complaint, but also, should clarify how much noise is generally permitted. As well, the downstairs unit owner must understand that the right to be free from disturbing noise does not confer a right to silence. Finally, the property manager must explain to the downstairs unit owner that he or she has an absolute duty to pay common expenses to the condominium corporation.
The above example demonstrates how a condominium corporation’s property manager or board may be able to resolve most disputes. By clarifying the parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, they can be persuaded to change their behaviour accordingly.
However, it is more difficult to solve disputes when the parties disagree as to what has occurred. Property managers and boards of directors are ill-equipped to carry out after-the-fact investigations. This is especially true where there has been a turnover of the property manager and board positions. To avoid the problems involved with piecing together the facts months and sometimes years later, property managers and boards of directors should strive to keep detailed records. For example, complaints should be received in writing. If a complaint is received orally, it should be confirmed in writing and recorded in detail.
The Early Consultation
Property managers ought to take pride in the fact that they are responsible for solving nearly all disputes in condominium communities. If, despite the property manager’s best efforts, the dispute cannot be resolved, the file may be turned over to the solicitors. This is a common approach, but it is not the only approach.
What if, instead, the property manager sought an early consultation with the solicitor? That is, before taking steps to resolve the matter, the property manager has the option to make a quick consultative call to the condominium corporation’s solicitors. The purpose of the call is not to hand-off the matter, but rather, to ask for some advice and to get a view as to where the parties actually stand.
Many boards and property managers avoid calling solicitors in order to save money. In my experience, the result is
quite the opposite. An early consultation has the potential to save the condominium corporation thousands of dollars and countless hours of the manager’s time. Early consultations are especially important, because the best opportunity to resolve a dispute is when it first arises.
If a solution is proposed after a prolonged conflict, the aggrieved resident will be much less likely to accept it. As the matter drags on, personal differences have the potential to complicate the issues that are in dispute, making it even more difficult to reach a solution that is acceptable to all parties.
Thus, it is crucial that a dispute is handled correctly from the outset. If a resident believes that he or she is being treated fairly by the condominium corporation, then he or she will be more likely to accept a proposed solution, even if such a proposal is contrary to the resident’s original position. ■
Important update on Reserve Fund Change made by the Ontario Government:
Together CCI-Toronto and ACMO are pleased to update you on important progress we have made in our discussions with the Ontario Government related to Reserve Funds.
The provincial government has just confirmed that it will be giving condominium corporations that were registered before May 5, 2001 more breathing room when it comes to their reserve funds and the requirement to "top them up". According to the Minister of Consumer Services, this is a move the government believes will give Boards more flexibility with their budgets, and assist in taking some pressure off increasing common expenses.
Acknowledging that the statutory "topping up" deadline is fast approaching, the government agreed with our submission that it was appropriate to review the environment within which the industry is operating, including the current economic climate.
Thus the government has taken an important step by deciding that Corporations registered before May 5, 2001 will have 15 years, and not 10 years, from the date of their first reserve fund study to top up their reserve funds. This change will reduce the impact of the HST on reserve funds as any shortfall can be gradually collected or transitioned over an additional 5 years, eliminating the need for immediately seeking additional funds from owners, which would have put an additional financial burden on them.
This change will come into effect on July 1, 2010 and ACMO and CCI-Toronto look forward to working with the government in implementing it.
This Reserve Fund extension is one of several constructive solutions that we recommended to the government and have been advocating very hard over the past year. These are solutions to try to solve many serious issues related to condominiums in Ontario, including the impact of the HST on owners. It is a greatly appreciated measure from the government that will benefit many owners in Ontario to varying degrees.
However, our work does not stop here. CCI-Toronto and ACMO are continuing with their efforts on behalf of the condominium industry to obtain solutions to the serious and unique problems facing condominium owners, and we look forward to continuing our constructive dialogue with the government on these issues, and in particular with the Hon. Sophia Aggelonitis, Minister of Consumer Services. Armand Conant, B.Eng., LL.B., D.E.S.S. (Sorbonne) President, Toronto & Area Chapter Canadian Condominium Institute
Chris Antipas, RCM, ACCI President, Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario
The Gutting of s.97 and the Abandonment of Certainty BY AUDREY LOEB, L.S.M., B.A., LL.M., MILLER THOMPSON, LLP ometimes decisions are rendered by the courts that have a significant impact on the entire condominium community. One such recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal will require that all condominium corporations consider how they control what owners do on exclusive use common elements, whether they are, parking and storage spaces, back or front yards, or patios and balconies.
thing they want on the exclusive use common elements without ensuring that the board approves of the placement, and where appropriate, an agreement is entered into between the owner and the corporation to protect the corporation and the interests of other owners.
S. 98 of the Condominium Act allows owners, with the permission of the board of directors, to make additions, alterations or improvements to the exclusive use common elements. Condominium corporations have relied on this section to provide them with a vehicle for controlling what unit owners put on exclusive use common elements.
In the case before the courts, the unit owner had installed a hot tub on his exclusive use common elements, without the approval of the board of directors. The corporation did not have a rule prohibiting owners from installing hot tubs. The board assumed that the installation of a hot tub was an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements and therefor fell within the scope of S.98.
Because this was considered a breach of the Act, the corporation commenced a proceeding in Superior Court for an order that the hot tub be removed.
At trial the judge found that the placement of a hot tub on the exclusive use common elements did not constitute an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements.
The trial judge found “that “an addition” means something that is joined or connected to a structure and the word “alteration” means something that changes the structure.
… the word “improvement” means the betterment of the property or enhancement of the value of the property. I also accept that “an improvement” refers to an improvement or betterment of the property. Unfortunately this conclusion was upheld at the Court of Appeal.
In our opinion, the court “got it wrong”. The purpose of S.98 was to ensure that owners do not have the right to put any-
We believe that in this case the board of directors was unwilling to allow the installation under any circumstances. In our opinion, the board has this right. Just because an owner wishes to install or place something on the common element, does not mean that a board of directors has to approve it, if acting reasonably, the board believes it is not good for the community.
The consequence of this decision is that condominium corporations can no longer rely on S.98 to control what owners can put on the common elements.
Boards will need to pass rules prohibiting owners from putting anything on the exclusive use common elements without the board’s permission and/or check what is in the corporation’s declaration to determine if there is a provision which will protect the corporation from the impact of this decision. ■
CONDO OF THE YEAR TSCC #1791 - A Turnaround Story BY DANNY ZOMPARELLI, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD
CCI Toronto is thrilled to announce that TSCC #1791 has been announced as the third quarter finalist of the annual Condo of the Year Award. The following article was written as part of the corporationâ€™s submission for entry to the contest. Our congratulations are extended to TSCC #1791! Further details on this contest may be found on the CCI-T website at www.ccitoronto.org. The 2010 annual grand prize winner will be selected from amongst the four quarter finalists in the early fall of 2010 and will be announced at the CCI Toronto Annual General Meeting in November 2010.
Introduction Registered in August 2006, TSCC 1791 has had its share of problems and challenges: a nearby propane explosion in 2008 caused damages to homes; a garbage problem required teamwork; water damage in the winter of 2008-2009 to several units which was caused by deficiencies at the balcony scuppers; a parking fiasco; a lawsuit against the Builder; a lawsuit from unit owners against the Corporation; building deficiencies; and a lengthy Tarion file. On top of all this there was a financial situation that was so out of control, it required a special assessment. As a result, the Board of Directors decided that they should start fresh with a new Board and a new Property Management Company. In July 2008 the Board hired Malvern Condominium Property Management. Working closely with Malvern, the
Board has gone from a cautionary tale to a turnaround story. We tell this story with the hope that other Corporations that are currently where we were can benefit.
Communication Once it was announced that Malvern was the new Property Management Company, their office was flooded with calls and emails. Below is an extract of a notice sent to unit owners on August 19, 2008 from the Property Manager:
“It is important to note that since our takeover of this property from the previous Management on July 1st the amount of activity generated from your community has been extremely high, and some owners are obviously very frustrated with the perceived lack of action. Since July 1st we have fielded over 650 incoming email communications and 500 phone calls from residents. The issues include Tarion warranty claims, the new budget, the special assessment, and the Sunrise Propane blast. We will get to all of the calls and emails, however in the meantime we would ask that residents please try and be a little more courteous. Although we understand your frustration at the lack of enforcement and other issues in the past, yelling at the new Property Manager will not result in a quicker response, in fact it will only slow things down.
In order for you to help us provide as quick a service as possible, we would ask that you please ensure when contacting the Property Manager that you only use one form of communication (i.e. there is no need to send an email, fax and make a call to the Manager). We thank you for your help in this matter and look forward to fulfilling your service needs.”
Slowly the turnaround started, and one by one the concerns and complaints of unit owners were addressed. Today the calls and emails are down to normal levels, and there is very good communication between the Board, Management, and unit owners.
While the Corporation was dealing with the turmoil of events (i.e. new Property Management, new Board, special assessment, Tarion file) the Board was overwhelmed and thought “We have every possible problem right here in our Corporation”. They were wrong, more was to come.
It was 3:50 a.m. on Sunday August 10th, 2008 when a huge noise wakened the entire community. After the first moments of disorientation and panic, the second explosion occurred. Visible from the townhouse complex were clouds that resembled those produced by a nuclear bomb.
The Builder had failed to provide multiple exit roads, so when the residents panicked and tried to exit, they created a traffic jam. Some people ran from the complex in nothing but their nightshirts leaving their keys behind and their doors unlocked.
Coming on the tail end of a summer weekend, some of the residents may have still been feeling the effects of a little overindulgence from the night before and the scene was almost comical. One of the owners ran up and down the street yelling, “We’re being shot at!” Then he saw the explosion and changed his tune to “We’re being bombed!”
I was awakened by my wife nudging me. I told her to go back to sleep, but then I was literally thrown out of bed by the second blast and saw the third from my balcony. I felt the heat as the wave passed and decided to join my neighbours on the street trying to determine how safe it was to stay. I decided that since the wind was blowing westward there was no immediate danger and
went back to sleep. We were evacuated early the next day by police.
Although the event will remain in our memories forever, since then the neighbourhood has a more friendly feeling, like we went through something together and survived.
Water Damage It was Christmas 2008 and water began flowing into many of the units from the exterior. It was later determined by Management and the Corporation’s Engineer that water leaks into several units were caused by deficiencies at the balconies’ scuppers from the upper units. The Corporation engaged a Contractor to mitigate the damages to the units. Our Contractor used dehumidifiers and fans to dry the interior of units, cut out wet drywall and lift up carpets in order to allow drying and avoid the formation of mold. Damages were extensive and the mitigation and repair costs high. The residents went Spring 2010
through the holidays with drywall cuts, carpet lifted or removed, and the ever present and loud hum of dryers and dehumidifiers at work.
This problem was eventually resolved with the Builder installing new eaves and downspouts to the upper balconies. The design and actual work took several months with contractors and ladders hanging in unexpected places during the installation. While this work proceeded, unit owners were accommodat-
brand new Condominiums.
The problem continued for two years, costing the unit owners their first Special Assessment for the garbage implementation. The solution included the construction of an exterior garbage shed and chute, a tri-sorter, trash compactor, industrial bins meeting city specifications, as well as a small tractor to transport the bins to street level from the underground garage storage. It also included the cost of the on-going
involved made the turnaround possible. We look back now and understand the hardship on the owners and the help that we received, and we look to the future with more knowledge and experience, which we hope will help us avoid ever getting back to the dark days of the special assessment.
Parking Fiasco The initial move-in period was done in stages as the buildings were completed. Unfortunately the Builder did not provide signage or any direction as to parking. The owners, with bold disregard for any oneâ€™s safety, took it upon themselves to park as they pleased. They converted the street level to the lawless west with no regard for directional parking, double parking, blocking street exits, and access for emergency service vehicle, basically throwing out any common sense. The underground was left deserted, as everyone jockeyed for street parking that was never intended to be used as such.
ing and gave their full cooperation. Today, there is better control of water flows, especially during heavy rainstorms.
Whether it was a design flaw or deficient installation of scuppers that created the problem, the Builder stepped up and corrected the problem and worked with us to repair the units and give the residents back their homes. Another success? We really believe so!
Garbage Problem The garbage problem started at inception of the Corporation. The Builder neglected to provide the Corporation with any adequate garbage removal other than industrial sized 40-yard garbage bins. The problem was compounded by the lack of knowledge and experience from the initial Board Members, which is faced by many 22
repairs to the bins and maintenance personnel that were required, on a daily basis, to manage the garbage requirements. This divided the community at a time when it should have been growing.
Special Assessment As a Board, we found out the hard way that special assessments are not welcomed by anyone. We heard many heartbreaking stories from unit owners who had difficulties in coming up with the money to pay their share. We gathered as a community and understood that we all have to pull our weight and open our wallets in order to bring control to the financial situation, which included debt and outstanding invoices. Our contractors worked with us and waited patiently to get paid while they attended to more necessary work. Sacrifice and commitment from all
The City of Toronto was contacted. They surveyed the street level and deemed it a fire route, sending everyone finally scrambling back to their underground parking spots or face parking violations.
The Board of Directors eventually revisited the street parking issue and after consultation with the fire department, determined that street parking was possible on one side of the street, and then proceeded to implement a 20minute parking period to allow individual owners to load/unload.
Legal Challenges The legal challenges facing the initial Board were enormous. The importance of choosing the correct law firm to represent the Corporation was crucial. Legal costs can, and sometimes do, run into the tens of thousands of dollars and could have easily been abused if not kept in check.
The Corporation’s legal representative should be interviewed by the Board so that they are comfortable that the firm will properly represent the interests of the Corporation. The entire Board must understand that personal interests can never be put above those of the Corporation to which they serve. Professional law firms understand this and are therefore able to avoid the perception by some owners that they are only representing the Board’s interests.
It is also extremely important for the Board to select a Management Company that will help to guide them in the proper direction. The new Board needs to ensure from the very beginning that they are on the same page as Management and that both share similar goals and long term vision for the Corporation. If they do not, then the Board should consider interviewing other companies. We believe our com-
pany does provide value to us and has helped to save the Corporation legal costs by guiding the Board of Directors with their years of experience in the field as opposed to obtaining a legal opinion for every single matter.
them without the long battles of what is warranted and what is not. We consider it a success for the Corporation, as we are one of the lucky ones to have the performance audit items completed in 3 years and 4 months after registration.
Good and Consistent Governance
Dealing with the deficiencies of the first and second year after the registration was a lengthy, frustrating, time consuming, and costly process for all involved. The Board decided to be actively involved in the process and with the cooperation of the Builder, Management staff, and a strong and knowledgeable Tarion representative, the deficiencies were corrected.
The site looks better and the file with Tarion is now closed. The items were many, however, the Builder came around and worked with us to correct
All of the above was possible because of our Board Members’ strong sense of giving back to the community through volunteer work, and the belief in good and consistent governance. As you know, Board members volunteer and receive no benefits (that I’ve seen personally), and it comes with many countless and thankless hours of work that can easily add to hundreds of personal hours, stress and loss of privacy that are also a large part of being a Board member. Although not stated in the Board member contract (that’s non
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existent!) the position requires all the above-mentioned in order to keep the Corporations cost down and to make decisions that are in the best interest of the Corporation.
The importance of consistent governance is imperative in running a Condominium Corporation. It can be the difference between operating in the black and bleeding red ink in terms of finances. Sound decisions and leadership by Board Members means the difference between a close-knit community and a split community. Consistent governance is as important, if not more so, than having a good Management team that can direct the Board from their own experience in dealing with such matters as Tarion, Builder experience, contractors and also having the knowledge and back bone to advise a Board when wrong decisions are being made.
Today TSCC #1791, a 244-stacked unit townhouse site, located at 55-125 George Appleton Way (Keele and Highway 401) is a stable community. In just over three years from registration it has completely turned around, with the bulk of the work finished in 2009. Despite its history, it still has
good relations with the Builder, good communication with residents, has settled all outstanding lawsuits, and has closed the Tarion file. Its balance sheet is clean, and its Status Certificate is in demand. It continues to be managed by Malvern Condominium Property Management. All that is missing now is a nice street sign at the entrance to our Corporation. â–
Saving Money Good and consistent governance also involves looking for ways to save the Corporation money. We did that by going to a Management Company that was competitively priced and that delivered value for our money. We cancelled contracts that were too expensive and we used part-time maintenance staff when many would select full-time.
We also pursued energy saving strategies. This should always be a part of the agenda of any Board. The energy costs can be enormous and any savings that can be realized should be considered. The Board in our Corporation made the decision to change all the exterior lighting to fluorescent bulbs. Although initially expensive, the long term benefits will help with energy savings.
The Board also investigated the benefits of timers for the underground parking area for further savings, but the initial cost has hindered the implementation of this initiative until such time that the budget allows it.
The Truth about Multitasking BY HAROLD TAYLOR, CSP, HAROLD TAYLOR TIME CONSULTANTS LTD.
ultitasking is a myth. The brain is incapable of doing two things at the same time. Instead, it focuses on activities sequentially, one at a time. New research from Vanderbilt University reported in the December, 2009 issue of Scientific American Mind indicates that the restrictions on multitasking arise from the slow processing in the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s central executive. By using functional MRI, researchers discovered that when people juggle two assignments, their prefrontal cortex appeared to deal with the tasks one at a time, creating a mental bottleneck.
With practice, the prefrontal activation time becomes shorter so you are able to do each task quicker, which explains why teens playing video or computer games seem to be better at multitasking. But they are only good at multitasking on that one activity and doesn’t help them at work – unless their job at work is playing video games. And continued digital stimulation of the brain and multitasking decreases their ability to focus attention on any one particular thing. And it’s now believed to contribute to ADD & ADHD. Depending on the activities you are
engaged in, this drop in efficiency may be costly, inconsequential or dangerous. Listening to background music while working may simply result in not really hearing all the music; but texting while driving a car could be disastrous. If a computer, machine, or appliance is doing something on its own at the same time that you are doing something else, that’s not multitasking. That’s simply utilizing idle time or wait time, and is an acceptable strategy for managing time efficiently. For example, reading while commuting by subway, setting the table while the kettle boils, checking email while a document is being
printed or writing an article while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. These are simply examples of working while a machine or appliance is doing its thing.
Multitasking, on the other hand, refers to attempting to do or think about two or more things at the same time, such as talking on the telephone while signing forms, watching TV while eating, checking your smart phone for messages while attending a meeting or reading a book while listening to your spouse. In all these situations, your brain is switching rapidly from one task or activity to another – not doing two things at the same time. Multitasking could also refer to frequently switching back and forth between one task and another. Either way, it’s inefficient.
Until there was adequate research, we didn’t know any better. We thought we were saving time, not wasting it. Now it’s known, for instance, that the brain
The more complex the tasks, and the more senses involved, such as hearing, sight and touch, the greater the distraction, the greater the switching time, and the greater the inefficiency. takes a fraction of a second every time it switches its attention from one activity to another. It’s been shown that cell phone users are a half-second slower hitting the brakes in emergencies. In a half-second, a car going 70 mph travels 51 feet. That’s critical if a child sudden-
ly darts in front of the car. Drivers talking on a cell phone have more accidents than anyone else, with the exception of very drunk drivers.
Some people think they are multitasking only when they are physically doing two things at the same time. But it’s the brain activity that determines whether you are multitasking. For example, you could be writing an article while thinking about another task that has to be done. In that case, you are mentally multitasking. If you are solving math problems in your head or dreaming of a white Christmas while you are driving or walking or working, you are mentally multitasking. You are mentally multitasking when you are doing one thing and worrying or even thinking about something else. That’s why it’s a good idea to quickly jot down “things to do” as you think of them. You’re multitasking while you do so; but at least you’re not multitasking for the whole duration of your current activity.
There are also degrees of multitasking. The more complex the tasks, and the more senses involved, such as hearing, sight and touch, the greater the distraction, the greater the switching time, and the greater the inefficiency.
I always tell clients to err on the side of not multitasking. Don’t even utilize idle time or waiting time unless the amount of available time is significant, such as a 15-minute wait in a lineup or a 20-minute commute by train. Relaxing is not a waste of time. Time between agenda items at a business meeting is not idle time. Time in a restaurant with your spouse waiting for your order to arrive is not idle time. These are communication times.
California, revealed that the most common interruptions at work were people stopping by, being called away from or leaving work voluntarily, the arrival of new email and phone calls. Each of these situations introduces multitasking into the environment.
You may have complained that you can’t be all things to all people, nor do
two things at the same time. Well, scientific evidence is proving you are right. In this age of speed, where technology is king, and work is no longer a place, but a state of mind, it is essential that you plan, schedule and do tasks one at a time in order of importance. Monotasking will be the battle cry of the future. ■
Multitasking can affect more than efficiency and safety; it can damage relationships as well. A Wall Street Journal article titled BlackBerry Orphans discussed how these gadgets are intruding on families and how children are feeling neglected. Psychologists report that BlackBerrys are becoming a topic of conversation in family therapy sessions. How much does multitasking cost a company or individual in terms of lost time or personal productivity? It’s impossible to come up with an accurate figure. It would vary depending on the situation. But studies have shown that a person who is interrupted could take 50% longer to finish a task and make up to 50% more errors. Whenever you are interrupted, you are multitasking, regardless of whether you are interrupted by email, a drop-in visitor, a telephone call or a trip to the coffee machine. My personal surveys of workshop attendees show that interruptions of one kind or another is the top time problem for most seminar attendees.
Most time management writers agree that interruptions occur in a typical business environment about every 8 to 11 minutes. A study conducted by the Irvine Department of Information & Computer Science, University of Spring 2010
Home Renovation Tax Credit Time to Spend has Expired – Now the Paperwork Fun Begins! BY ARMAND CONANT, B.ENG., LL.B., D.E.S.S. (SORBONNE), HEENAN BLAIKIE LLP. vide the information to their owners, the considerable paperwork (some say huge headache) begins.
Summary of HRTC For those who may not be familiar with the HRTC, it is a non-refundable tax credit for the 2009 tax year (no cash back to owners or condominium corporations). It applies to eligible home owners based on eligible expenditures for improvements to one’s house, condo or cottage acquired or rendered after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010 under an agreement entered into after January 27, 2009.
ell, its over. The one year time period to spend on eligible expenditures for the federal government’s Home Renovation Tax Credit (“HRTC”) came to an end at midnight on January 31, 2010. From all accounts (anecdotal only), it would appear that it accomplished its purpose – to stimulate renovation expenditures and help the struggling economy.
Two questions now arise: (a) Did it have any economic effect and if so, will there be an economic slowdown afterwards because everyone spent during the last year resulting in reduced spending over the next year; and (b) Will the
government extend the HRTC, as there are rumours that it will be extended, or at least a second new program introduced.
However, condominium corporations cannot wait and see if it will be extended (the earliest would be when the Federal Budget is brought down in March) because we are now in tax season and qualifying owners are hoping for some benefit from the HRTC and they wish to file their income tax returns soon. So, for those corporations that incurred eligible expenditures and wish to pro-
The credit applies to eligible expenditures of more than $1,000 but less than $10,000. This will result in a maximum credit of $1,350 ($9,000 x 15 %). The HRTC does not apply to commercial units, and for individuals who earn business or rental income from part of their eligible dwelling the credit only applies to expenditures made for the personal-use portion of the unit.
For condominium corporations, the individual owner’s share of eligible expenditures for common elements will qualify for the HRTC, with each owner’s percentage based on Schedule D of their declaration. Eligible expenditures incurred in
relation to renovations or alterations must be of an enduring nature and be integral to the unit (or common elements). They include the cost of labour, professional services, building materials, permits etc., but they exclude routine repairs and maintenance normally performed on an annual or more frequent basis, and expenditures such as drapes, appliances, cleaning services, cleaning carpets, etc.
As mentioned above, the program will result in additional paperwork (principally for the property manager) if the work is undertaken for the common elements, because receipts will have to be issued to each individual owner and the corporation will have to maintain all backup documentation.
Since the HRTC was announced, many questions and queries have arisen. It quickly became apparent to ACMO and CCI-Toronto that certain key questions and issues were common throughout
the industry. Consequently, at the initiative of ACMO and in conjunction with CCI-Toronto, a tax lawyer was retained for advice and to arrange a meeting with senior representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to discuss and seek clarification and answers to these issues.
The meeting was held very recently and in attendance were Chris Antipas and Dean McCabe on behalf of ACMO, myself on behalf of CCI-Toronto, Stephen Chesney, condominium auditor, Michael Gwynne and the tax lawyer. The two CRA representatives were very helpful and forthright in their explanations and clarifications. However, their comments or answers in no way bind the CRA, but they do give excellent guidance to our industry.
Questions Concerning the HRTC ACMO and CCI-Toronto have pre-
pared and circulated to their members Information Bulletins in which about 20 of the most common questions relating to the HRTC are discussed and answered. Given the importance of the HRTC and the questions posed, the CCI-Toronto Bulletin is included in this issue of the magazine (see page 34).
I recommend everyone read the Bulletin and visit the CRA’s website, but by way of very quick summary, here are some of the answers received:
1. There is no legal obligation for either condominium corporations or their property managers to provide any receipts or information to their owners for the HRTC. Many if not most, corporations will be doing so, but there is no legal obligation. Ideally, but not compulsory, CRA recommends that the “receipt” to owners contain a list of the expenses, name and GST number of the supplier and the date that the work
was completed and invoiced.
2. Given the considerable amount of administrative work to provide the information to owners, there will be corporations that will decide not to do so. In this case it will be up to the eligible owner to review the corporation’s records to determine the eligible expenses. If your corporation chooses not to provide the information then I recommend it advises its owners accordingly.
3. What do you do if a unit was sold part way through the year? Is the present owner receipted for the entire eligible expenditures for that unit, or must the corporation (or management) allocate it between the present and previous owners? It is ACMO’s and CCI-Toronto’s position that at this time there is no definitive answer and each owner will have to seek their own professional advice.
for condominium corporations and their property managers who will do the work.
Remember that neither condominium corporations or property managers are tax advisers and both must be very careful that owners understand this and realize that they cannot rely on any allocation or listing of eligible expenditures provided to them. Each owner must rely only on their own professional advisers. In order to try to protect corporations and managers from potential liability for making a mistake in the information they provide, ACMO and CCI-Toronto suggest that on every piece of information or communication that is sent out the following disclaimer be included: “The HRTC is subject to the eligibility criteria established by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”). Neither
management nor the Corporation express any opinion or make any representations or guarantee with respect to the owner’s eligibility for the HRTC, whether or not the expenditures qualify as “eligible expenditures”, or the tax credit amount, if any, the owner could be entitled to under the HRTC. Each owner assumes all risk with respect to any HRTC credit they may claim and should seek advice from their own tax advisor prior to including any such claim in their tax return. Owners are further advised that any claim for the tax credit is subject to audit and verification by the CRA and may therefore be subject to change. “ Tax season is now upon us and the work for corporations and property managers is underway. So as they say in the Olympics “Let the Games Begin”. ■
4. Given that there is no obligation for corporations to provide any information to their owners, then if a corporation decides to do so there is no deadline for providing it. If an owner has filed their income tax return before the corporation provides this information (and a HRTC is not claimed) then the owner can always file later for an adjustment should they wish to do so. 5. To be an eligible expenditure, services rendered and materials supplied must have been completed by January 31, 2010. However, you do not have to have paid for those services in full by January 31st so long as a binding legal obligation to pay arose on or before then.
As can be seen from the above and the Information Bulletins, the HRTC is both a benefit to owners and a problem for the corporation. While it appears to have provided a stimulus to the economy, or at least we hope so, it has resulted in an administrative nightmare
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Information Bulletin Re Home Renovation Tax Credit he Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC), which was introduced by the Federal Government as part of the stimulus plan in the 2009 Federal budget has presented some challenges for boards and property management companies.
A full overview of the HRTC is too long to include as part of this information bulletin, but for those interested in reviewing the rules and guidelines you can visit http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/hrtc to view the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.
After reviewing the information on this site you may have questions regarding how this tax incentive affects Condominiums. On behalf of CCI Toronto & Area Members, and in conjunction with ACMO, a lawyer specializing in tax law was retained to coordinate a meeting with CRA representatives in order to address many questions submitted by our members regarding the legal interpretation of the HRTC rules and how they affect the practical management of Condominium Corporations. This meeting with CRA representatives was also attended by an Auditor specializing in condominium accounting and taxation. Listed below are the 16 questions, which formed the basis of discussion and a summary of the answers that CRA representatives provided. Notes:
1. For the purposes of clarity in the questions and answers listed below the word “Invoice” refers to the invoices received from service providers regarding a payment owing for services rendered. The term “Receipt” refers to an income tax receipt or summary of proposed eligible expenses prepared by a condominium corporation or property management firm for use by an owner in supporting an HRTC claim on their personal income tax return.
2. This bulletin is provided to CCI Toronto members for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute any form of professional advice. It is understood that the legislation is subject to interpretation and its application and enforcements has yet to be tested in the Courts. Moreover, CRA employees cannot be held responsible for an incorrect interpretation of the law. 34
1. Do condominium corporations have to provide an HRTC Receipt to condominium owners?
No. A condominium corporation (“Corporation”) is not obligated to provide a receipt summarizing the eligible expenses incurred by the Corporation on behalf of all owners. However, qualifying owners are entitled to claim their portion of eligible expenditures as part of their HRTC credit. Owners are therefore entitled to request to review copies of the invoices for work which they think is eligible and submit as part of their HRTC claim their proportionate share in accordance with Schedule D of the declaration.
2. Do property management companies (“Management”) have the obligation to provide these receipts on behalf of their clients?
No. There is no legal requirement for Management to provide these receipts since there is no requirement for the Corporation to provide the Receipts to its owners. If the Corporation chooses to prepare these invoices for their owners, it stands to reason that the contract between Management and the Corporation would determine the obligation, if any, of Management to provide this service.
3. Are condominium corporations (and by extension Management companies) justified in taking the position that the receipt will be issued to the owner of record on January 31, 2010 for all eligible expenses incurred between January 27, 2009 and January 31, 2010? (this would address the issue of ownership changes during the 2009 calendar year.) As currently written the answer to this question is “no”, the right to the credit belongs to the owner of record at the time that the expense was incurred by the Corporation. The impracticality of this is explained below from a legal and financial reporting standpoint. The HRTC requires that the owner that paid the funds
should receive the credit, without recognition of exceptional circumstances surrounding condominium ownership. In the condominium industry the asset that is the reserve fund is sold with the unit. It is the position of ACMO and CCIToronto that the credit that results from the expenditure of those funds should also be transferred to the new owner. Then it is a matter between the present owner and the previous owner to decide on how to partition or divide the credit.
4. Must receipts be provided by February 28, 2010 for all eligible expenses incurred between January 27, 2009 and January 31, 2010? Since there is no requirement to provide the receipts on behalf of the Corporation the answer is no – there is no deadline. From a client service perspective, if receipts are to be issued it is recommended that
owners receive their report in sufficient time to meet the April 30th filing deadline for the 2009 taxation year. If issued after an owner has already filed their 2009 income tax return,, CRA has advised that the taxpayer has the right to file and request for an adjustment. There is also a period of 10 years to file a claim for the HRTC credit. 5. With the exception of furnishings and other clearly ineligible expenses, do reserve fund expenditures (in spite of the fact that some would call them planned maintenance) qualify as eligible expenses?
Generally “yes”. The spirit of the law is that if the renovation is an enduring improvement to the dwelling including the land that forms part of the dwelling (and not an annual, routine or recurring renovation) then it is eligible. It is
important to make the determination of what is an eligible expense separate from whether it was paid from the reserve or operating fund.
The CRA website states that, “The expenses are eligible when they are incurred in relation to a renovation or alteration to an eligible dwelling (including the land that forms part of the eligible dwelling) and are of an enduring nature and integral to the dwelling. As a general rule, if the item you purchase will not become a permanent part of your eligible dwelling, it is not eligible.”
6. Do ancillary expenditures related to eligible expenses (professional engineer fees, security costs related to eligible work etc.) qualify as eligible expenditures?
Yes. Any costs associated with the completion of a project that is an eligible expenditure is eligible to
be included in the calculation of the HRTC. An example of engineering fees incurred to supervise, tender or consult on a project that is eligible was given to representatives of CRA and their response was that these costs can be included in the claim.
7. Are Corporations (and by extension Management companies) protected by placing a disclaimer on the receipt in the event that an expense deemed eligible by the Corporation is subsequently deemed ineligible by CRA?
From the standpoint of CRA the reporting relationship that exists is between the individual taxpayer and the Canada Revenue Agency. A Corporation that makes an honest error in judgment in determining whether an expense is eligible can expect no penalties by CRA. That
does not hold true necessarily for Corporations that intentionally or fraudulently misrepresent the eligible expenses in order to increase the amount of the claim by its owners. CCI-Toronto and ACMO have prepared a suggested disclaimer for those that wish to use it. (See page 33.)
8. In the event of expenses incurred by Shared Facilities (SF) of two or more condominium corporations, does the responsibility of the SF management company end at providing the total of the eligible expenses for the SF to the management company of the condominium corporations that contribute to SF (based on the % of their contribution)? The short answer is yes. This is in keeping with the philosophy that since the condominium corpora-
tions contributed to those expenses based on their proportionate share then the owners who provided those funds to the Corporation are entitled to claim the portion of the funds that they provided.
9. Do Corporations (and by extension Management) need to supply copies of the invoices being claimed as eligible expenses to each owner along with a copy of schedule D of the declaration for that Corporation? Do those need to be submitted with the tax return of each unit owner making a claim? CRA is not expecting each unit owner to provide copies of the contracts entered into by the Corporation as proof of eligible expenses. If the Condominium Corporation provides a Receipt or summary of eligible expenditures
incurred on behalf of all owners, then the unit owner can rely on that summary and the Corporation is responsible to maintain the records and proof of expenses to support the summary which it provided to owners.
CRA did indicate that if possible, but not mandatory, they would like to see the owners with a list of the contractors, their GST numbers and very short description of the work completed and when. It is important to note from an administration standpoint, that Corporations need to maintain those records in the event the taxpayer gets audited.
Note: If a Corporation is in the midst of a large project that is eligible it would be beneficial to have the invoice and the consultant prepare a certificate for payment for work completed to January 31, 2010.
12. Are the common element portions for parking spaces and lockers included in the portion of eligible expenses assigned to an individual unit which owns those parking spaces and lockers? continuedâ€Ś
10. Should Corporations (and by extension Management companies) issue their receipts based on the total expenses or only those expenditures over $1,000? Is the reduction of the $1,000 from the total expenses the responsibility of the owner at the time of filing their tax return or should the Corporation make that reduction in the total amount before issuing a Receipt? There is no minimum amount on which Corporations should report. The deduction of $1,000 from the total eligible expenses is done by the individual taxpayer when completing Schedule 12 of their personal 2009 Income Tax Return, and not by the Corporation.
11. Holdback on a project that has been completed but the holdback not released as at January 31, 2010?
The eligible expenses include the value of any work completed as at January 31, 2010. Therefore if work on a project was completed prior to January 31, 2010 then the entire value of the contract is an eligible expense even though the contractor has not yet received payment in full.
The proportionate interest in common elements which determines the percentage of contributions to Common Area Maintenance (including parking and locker percentages, if applicable) dictates the percentage of the eligible expenditures that an individual unit owner can claim.
13. What are the reporting responsibilities for Corporations without any eligible expenses?
Technically there is no responsibility on the part of the Corporation although a letter to unit owners indicating that the Corporation has not incurred any eligible expenses is advisable.
14. Can the Corporation include as an eligible expense the consulting fees for work which has not been started or has not been contract-
ed as at January 31, 2010?
Yes, provided the consulting or engineering work is in relation to an eligible expenditures and the services (consulting work) for which the claim is being made were received prior to January 31, 2010.
15. If it is determined subsequent to releasing the receipts to the owners that an expense should be included or excluded by way of reporting error or CRA audit, what will be the obligation of the Corporation with respect to revising the receipts previously issued. For instance will the revisions require the owners to revise their 2009 income tax returns or could the revision be reported for the next tax year ie 2010? In the event that an error is discovered that alters the amount of the
claim made by owners in relation to the HRTC claim, then the owners should be notified as soon as possible and they should forward the information on the correction to CRA in order to have their personal income tax return reassessed.
16. Is there any reporting obligation to CRA directly from the Corporation for the record of receipts issued?
No. There is no summary or detail that is required to be filed with CRA in connection with the HRTC other than the requirement to maintain the records in the event that CRA chooses to further investigate any claims made by unit owners in connection with the Corporationâ€™s eligible expenses. â–
The 16th Annual SpringFest returns on April 28, 2010 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Building. This exclusive oneday event features educational seminars and top exhibits for building owners, property managers, facility managers and others responsible for building maintenance and facility operations, including condo directors. Visit www.pmexpo.com/Springfest for full show details and for the information on the session time for this CCI Sponsored session.
CCI Toronto Seminar Information What’s Right and What Needs Improvement in the World of Condos... - 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. A panel of condo experts including a lawyer, a property manager, an engineer and an insurance representative will look at key current topics within the industry. What’s new, what’s hot and what’s not will be explored. Fast paced and current this is a “not to be missed” session! M ODERATOR: Pamela Boyce, Brookfield Residential Services Ltd. SPEAKERS: Christopher J. Jaglowitz, Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP Dean McCabe, Brookfield Residential Services Ltd. Mark Shedden, Atrens Council Insurance Sally Thompson, Halsall Associates Limited Also of interest will be the following Springfest Session: Waste Management Cost Control & Material Diversion Success Stories Condo Building Case Study Presentations - 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. M ODERATOR: SPEAKERS:
Doug King (Director Market Development, Metro Group) Mila Carvo (Condo Board President) Katherine Gow (Property Manager) Julian McNabb (Property Manager) Andrew Simon (Condo Board President)
DONNA SWANSON ACCI, FRI
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Director of Toronto Chapter of REIC
Email: email@example.com Spring 2010
Energy Efficiency – A great Investment Opportunity BY TIM STOATE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, MANDATE RELATED FINANCE TORONTO ATMOSPHERIC FUND
nergy is the number one controllable cost for any condominium. With the HST about to increase your energy bills by 8%, and governments and utilities offering unprecedented financial incentives for condo energy efficiency projects, there has never been a better time to get your energy costs — and greenhouse gas emissions — under control. But how do you get started, and how do you decide which projects make sense for your building?
The best way to get started is with a professional energy audit. You can find a list of reputable energy management firms at www.toronto.ca/bbp/emf-firms.htm. An audit will identify the most viable energy efficiency projects for your building, and provide an estimate of the annual savings from each project. A good energy audit is a valuable investment that can pay for itself many times over. And as long as you undertake at least one of the recommended projects, government and utility incentive programs will reimburse you for most of the cost of the audit itself.
But once you’ve completed your audit, and you have a list of potential energy efficiency projects, how do you decide which projects make sense for your building? Let’s look at the following hypothetical list of projects as an example: One all too common approach is to “cherry pick” the quickest payback
items and postpone the other often higher-cost projects. The problem is that this makes it harder to justify ever getting to the longer payback items, which tend to provide the most significant savings over the long-term. While that new exit lighting has a very fast payback, it is no match for the total dollar savings delivered by changing out old boilers. Just ask yourself: do you want to save $1,000 a year or $15,000 a year and you will see the problem with focusing simply on payback.
By combining quick and long payback projects together as part of a comprehensive retrofit, you will maximize your savings while ensuring a reasonable blended payback. In this case, combining all of the projects would result in a 4.5 year payback and a 120% return on investment over 10 years.
But how to finance a comprehensive energy retrofit? The first option to consider is your reserve fund. The example measures above are all likely suitable for drawing on your reserve fund, because they all involve replacing or
upgrading existing building components (which will need to be replaced one day anyway and better to get to those boilers before they breakdown in the middle of February). Moreover, many condos have built up extensive reserve funds, with money that won’t be needed in the near-term invested in long-term savings accounts or bonds earning around 1.5%. Why invest excess reserve funds at 1.5% when you can invest in your own building and earn an internal rate of return of over 10%?
However, before using reserve funds you’ll need to take a careful look to figure out how much you can responsibly draw from it without undercutting your ability to pay for other important structural or aesthetic projects, like repairing the underground garage. Moreover, reserve funds should only be used to repair, replace or upgrade building components which are nearing the end of their expected lifespan. So if you were to replace an inefficient boiler or chiller that was only installed three years ago, you may need a legal opin-
10-year Return on Investment
10-year Internal Rate of Return
LED Exit signs
Garage Lighting Retrofit
High Efficiency Boilers (heating)
High Efficiency Boilers (hot water)
High Efficiency Chiller (AC)
Comprehensive Retrofit (All 5 projects)
ion as to whether you can use your reserve fund to do it.
Let’s assume for a moment that your reserve fund is running low and all of it is needed for key structural repairs that are only a few years away. Does this mean you can’t afford an energy retrofit?
Absolutely not. You have at least two other options: a special assessment and a loan. A special assessment means each member of the condominium corporation contributes a one-time sum to pay for part of the project. While this can be a great source of interest free financing, your fellow owners’ pockets are only so deep and this may prove to be an unpopular option.
The final option is a loan. While you’ll need to pay interest on the loan, in most cases the energy savings will be equal to or greater than the financing costs. To figure out if a project makes sense even if financed by a loan, you’ll need to consider the Internal Rate of Return (IRR). IRR is your effective annual rate of
return resulting from a project. It’s also the maximum interest rate that you could pay to finance the project without making the project a net drain on your building’s finances. In this case, the IRR for the combined five projects is 17.7%.
To figure out if a project makes financial sense you can compare the IRR to a hurdle rate. In this case, the hurdle rate would be the interest rate on the loan — 7% would be a reasonable assumption — plus a risk premium of around 3%. This gives you a hurdle rate of 10%. Since the IRR on this hypothetical project is 17.7%, well over the hurdle rate, it’s still a sound investment even if you have to borrow all of the initial capital.
But how will the loan repayments affect your building’s cash flow? Well, if you were to borrow the money at 7% with a seven year amortization period, your loan payments would be about $36,000 per year. Since the annual savings are estimated at $44,000, the project would be cash flow positive from day one.
To help you with these kinds of calculations, we have added online calculators for payback, IRR, and ROI to our TowerWise.ca website, where you’ll also find other helpful tools and information — including real case studies of energy efficiency retrofits — to help you reduce your energy costs and trim your carbon footprint. The new calculators are available at www.towerwise .ca/new_calculators.
And before making a final decision on any projects, remember to take into account government and utility incentive programs. These incentive programs can easily offset 20% or more of the initial capital costs of an energy retrofit. The TowerWise Conservation Incentives Advisor, Rob Detta Colli, will help you figure out which incentives your projects are eligible for and how much they would be worth — he’ll even help you fill out the forms. Call Rob at (416) 450-7989, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to arrange your free consultation session today! ■
CCI-TORONTO SPECIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE UPDATE
Potential Closing of Garbage Chutes at Selected Multi-Residential Buildings as Part of a Waste Diversion Plan BY BOB GIRARD, B.COMM, ACCI, FCCI, RCM CHAIR, SPECIAL PROJECTS COMMITTEE, CCI-TORONTO & AREA CHAPTER City Staff Report was submitted to the Public Works and Infrastructure (PWI) Committee by the General Manager, Solid Waste Management Services (SWMS) requesting City Council's approval of a garbage chute closure program for multi-residential buildings in order to help improve recycling rates in multiresidential buildings. For a copy of this report go to: (http:/www.toronto.ca/ legdocs/mmis/2010/pw/bgrd/back groundfile-26695.pdf)
The program proposes to permit owners of selected apartment buildings to close a garbage chute if the closure is part of a waste diversion plan for the multiple dwelling that has been approved by the General Manager of Solid Waste Management Services and meets certain minimum criteria set out in Appendix “A”.
Appendix “A” sets out the process that SWMS and the property owners would follow in determining whether a building should be granted permission to close the garbage chute. See: (http: /www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2010/ pw/bgrd/backgroundfile-26696.pdf) Highlights of the program include:
• Buildings must meet the following minimum requirements: - Receive Solid Waste Management Services;
- Have sufficient storage space for the increased number of garbage containers required, as garbage would no longer be compacted; - Have sufficient recycling containers for the building; and - The storage space for garbage containers complies with the Building Code and Zoning Bylaws.
Application process includes:
• Owners, Property Managers, Condominium or Co-Op Boards must submit: - An initial application indicating interest in closing the garbage chute; - A draft communication plan to inform the residents of the proposed plan to close the garbage chutes for SWMS approval; - A draft plan to assist seniors and people with disabilities in transporting their waste to the common collection point for SWMS approval.
• Once the communication and assistance plans are approved; Owners, Property Managers, Condominium or Co-Op Boards must demonstrate that at least 51% of the units are in favour of closing the garbage chute by supplying a completed City designed Petition
• The building must ensure that the required space for 200% additional waste containers storage is available, then the General Manager of SWMS, may issue a permit for closing the garbage chute.
Solid Waste Management Services Staff will work in conjunction with the site to determine the feasibility of closing the chutes on a location-by-location basis, to submit the application and to facilitate the drafting of a communication plan including a template for letters to residents.
A Deputation was provided to the PWI Committee by the CCI-Toronto and Area Chapter. Motions were incorporated and passed by the (PWI) Committee, ensuring: - Continued use of a compactor may occur where feasible (without 200% container capacity & storage) - Safe storage of waste material(s) on each floor if in compliance with Fire and Safety codes
It was clarified that this is a voluntary application only including the “51% of units in favour” condition in Addendum “A”. There will be a staff report in one year to review the success of the programs. ■
2009 Annual General Meeting – CCI Toronto & Area Chapter The 2009 CCI Toronto & Area Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday November 19th, 2009 at the Novotel North York Hotel. The AGM was preceded by an information seminar on the HST and was followed by a Wine and Cheese networking forum. Attendance was terrific!
Appreciation is extended to Sally Thompson, John Warren and Armand Conant for bringing members up to date regarding the requirements and implications of the new Harmonized Sales Tax set for implementation on July 1st, 2010.
In accordance with the Chapter byVice President, Mario Deo presents a plaque of CCI Toronto Membership Chair, Vic Persaud, laws, elections were held that evening appreciation to Dr. Gina Cody upon her retirepresents an Ambassador Platinum Award to and five positions were filled. ment from the CCI Toronto Board of Directors. Janice Pynn, Executive Vice President of Simerra Returning to the board are: Gordon Property Management Inc. Chong, Brian Horlick, Vic Persaud, and John Warren. Newly elected that evening was Jeff Jeffcoatt, an Engineer with Construction Control Inc. An outgoing director plaque As in the past, the Annual General Meeting served as a forum of appreciation was presented to Dr. Gina Cody. Gina served for our annual Awards Ceremonies. The Condominium on the CCI Toronto board for over 15 years and will be greatNewsletter of the Year proudly went to PSCC #0688 for their ly missed. publication “The Tiara”. In attendance that evening to receive
HST Seminar held November 19th, 2009
Directors Dennis Kirstine and Nabil Mustafa from PSCC #0688 accept the CCI Newsletter of the Year Award for 2009.
the Award were Directors Dennis Kirstine and Nabil Mustafa. A platinum level Ambassador Award was presented by Membership Chair, Vic Persaud, to Simerra Property Management Inc. On hand to receive the award was Simerra Executive Vice President, Janice Pynn. This is the second year in a row that Simerra has earned this top-level honour
Audience at the 2009 Annual General Meeting.
and CCI is deeply appreciative of Simerra’s outstanding recruitment efforts and support of the Institute. The first Condominium of the Year Award recipient was announced on November 19th – as selected from the four quarter finalists throughout the year. For the full story and to find out more about this year’s recipient see page 44. ■
Head table at AGM. L to R: Bob Girard, Bill Thompson and Mario Deo.
CCI Welcomes New Director Jeff Jeffcoatt, P.Eng, BDS, RCM is a Registered Condominium Manager and Professional Engineer and heads up the Condominium Division and the Mechanical/Electrical Division for the consulting engineering firm of Construction Control Inc. where he also spearheads the Health & Safety Programs (Certified WSIB parts 1&2).
More recently Jeff was accredited through the Professional Engineers of Ontario as a Building Design Specialist after successfully completing the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) program for Large Buildings, Building Services, Small Buildings, and Houses.
Well known for his educational seminars at conferences, and teaching for ACMO at Humber College and via the web through Mohawk College, Jeff wrote/compiled the original manual for the ACMO Physical Building Management course.
Having been a Property Manager/Regional Manager for Condominiums for ten years, he continues to be active in the ACMO Associates Committee as Co-Chair of the ACMO Professional Development Committee.
With prior experience as a Board of Director Member and President of the Board of Directors of the condominium where he lives in Toronto, Jeff is very pleased to have been elected to the CCI Toronto Chapter Board of Directors.
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ACCI Member Profile Bill Thompson, B.A., RCM,ACCI Bill Thompson is a firm believer in the value of education and commitment to the industry.
He was amongst the first to attain his R.C.M. designation from ACMO back in 1988 and subsequently served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario for three years. He has also been an active member on many of ACMO’s committees and instructed the Administration Course in the Humber College Property Management course for two semesters. As the President of Malvern Condominium Property Management, a firm that has exclusively managed Condominiums since 1972, Bill saw the value in having Malvern become an "ACMO 2000 Certified Company". In June 2000 Bill furthered his commitment to the industry by attaining his ACCI designation from the Canadian Condominium Institute. Bill’s active involvement in the condominium community has continued throughout the years. He currently sits as Vice President on the CCI Toronto and Area Chapter Board of Directors and serves as Chair of the Education Committee and as a member of the Membership Committee. Bill is a regular lecturer at CCI courses for Directors and has also been a guest speaker at many condominium industry conferences. In addition, Bill also serves on the Executive Board of CCI National, and is a member of both the Membership and Education Committees at the National level.
“This fledgling condominium industry needs to recognize those individuals who have made it their career to continuously learn and continuously contribute back to the industry that we serve. Whether you are a Lawyer, Engineer, Accountant, Property manager or any other professional that specializes in the Condominium field, the ACCI is the symbol of that commitment. I believe that in years to come, the ACCI will be the most recognized and sought after designation for condominium professionals across all of Canada, and I am proud to be among this distinct group of individuals.”
Member News CCI Member Bestowed Highest Honour Dr. Gina Cody P.Eng., M.Eng., ACCI, FCCI, a past President and long time Board member of the CCI-Toronto Chapter, has recently been recognized by the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario for her outstanding contributions to the profession. For her efforts, the Professional Engineers of Ontario has named Dr. Cody as an Officer of the Order of Honour, the association's highest form of recognition.
While the CCI Community is aware of the many contributions Dr. Cody has made to the CCI â€œfamilyâ€?, it is also important to note her remarkable and like-minded contributions to other associations and to her profession.
On behalf of CCI, congratulations are extended to Dr. Cody on this honour.
Join Us for a CCI Toronto NETWORKING DINNER With a focus on:
Creating Community Newsletters Wednesday April 7th, 2010 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Novotel North York Hotel 3 Park Home Avenue Toronto, ON M2N 6L3 CCI Toronto is pleased to offer a unique opportunity for Condo Presidents and Board members to interact with each other and with industry experts. Come and join us for dinner and round table discussions. The focus of this dinner will be on Creating Community Newsletters. Bring your newsletters to share and discuss with representatives from other corporations. Share the best features of your newsletters and get ideas for future issues. Samples of past CCI Toronto Condo Newsletter of the Year award winning newsletters will also be available for viewing. Visit online at www.ccitoronto.org/Events/seminar for details.
2009 Condominium of the Year
The CCI Toronto & Area Chapter is thrilled to announce that YCC # 510 ‘the Harbourside’ has been chosen as the 2009 Condominium of the Year.
The Harbourside was chosen from amongst four quarter finalists as this year’s winner and will receive a street sign prize valued at $5,000 The judging was close, as all four of the quarter finalist corporations showed outstanding leadership, initiative and community spirit. Representatives from all four corporations were in attendance at the CCI Toronto Annual General Meeting on November 19th, 2009 when the grand prize winner was officially announced. Board members
which collectively hold 100 or more meetings per year. These committees consist of a Communications Committee, Energy Committee, Finance Committee, Human Resources Committee, Property Committee, Security Committee Harbour Square Joint Committee – as well as a Waste Management Sub-Committee.
The Corporations’ guiding principle “What our Condominium Will Be Depends On Its Owners and Residents” is at the root of all work done by every committee. So whether a committee is overseeing a major energy retrofit program, is developing a community newsletter, planning a social event or preparing financial reports, this guiding principle is what steers them.
CCI Membership Chair, Vic Persaud (left) pictured with Doug Dempsey and Pauline Brown from the Harbourside as they are announced as the Condominium of the Year winners.
Douglas Dempsey and Pauline Brown were in attendance that evening to hear the wonderful news as announced by CCI Membership Chair, Vic Persaud. Congratulations are extended to all three runners up – MTCC 797, MTCC 1195 and MTCC 1398.
Well done YCC #510 and thanks to all those volunteers who contributed their time and efforts on preparing the contest submission to CCI including – Jennifer Barber, Harvey Beresford, Micheline Bertrand Hobbs Carl Brickman, Pauline Brown, Ulla Colgrass, Don Cooper, Doug Dempsey, Irma Eibich, Jack Gilbert, Leah Lambert, Wanda Matuszkiewicz, Michelle Ramsay-Borg, James Russell and Gary Whitfield. Congratulations to YCC #510 on being selected as the first recipient of the CCI Toronto Condominium of the Year award!
About the Harbourside The Harbourside, one of Toronto’s first waterfront communities, is approximately 30 years old and boasts a community population of about 2000 people. Its co-joined towers at 55 and 65 Harbour Square are governed by a sole corporation known as YCC #510.
In addition to outstanding harbour views, the Harbourside offers residents such fabulous amenities as the HarbourSide Lounge, the Tiffany Room, a south facing rooftop garden, north facing garden terrace, a billiards room, a library/conference room, a 60 foot saltwater swimming pool, an exercise room, a fleet of buses to transport residents across the downtown core and a car wash bay in the parking garage.
Volunteers are what really make this corporation special and they extend far beyond the board of directors. YCC #510 has close to 50 residents, including owners and tenants, who contribute time and effort on seven committees,
A comprehensive resident survey resulted in a number of new amenities, including a large deck that overlooks Lake Ontario, and BBQs and additional furniture on the terrace.
If you think that your corporation has what it takes to be the next CCI Condominium of the Year, please write to us or visit our website at www.ccitoronto.org for further contest details. We are interested to hear any and all condo success stories no matter how large or how small. ■
CCI-Toronto Welcomes the Following New Members Individual Members
J. Cassidy M. Frenkel Y. Ho J. Rivait
DCC # 0034 DRSCC # 0229 MTCC # 1377 PCC # 0053 PCC # 0063 PSCC # 0857 TCECC # 1964 TSCC # 1791 TSCC # 1965 VCC # 0010 YCC # 0035 YCC # 0217 YCC # 0523 YRCC # 0616 YRCECC # 1165
YRSCC # 1162
YRCECC # 1167
George Bazios Coldwell Banker Eph & Associates Colette Dagher Harris Management Corporation
Hannah Daniels Nadlan-Harris Management Corporation Kareen Maizel Nadlan-Harris Management Corporation Rob Stevens Bayshore Property Management Inc.
Mimi Yung Connium Management Inc.
New Trade Members
Teresa Furneri Altus Capital Planning Paul Calcano Calaway Mechanical Capitalink Property Management Ltd
David Willms Dashelle Property Care Nick Bogdanovich Extreme Roofing
Allan Ball Floodchek - Ball Associates John Sefah Ghacan Services
Frank Aiello Green Leaf Landscaping Limited Jeff Feswick Historia Building Restoration Inc.
Steve Dimkovski Knights On Guard Security Services Corporation Ryan Bukovscak Millennium Landscape Design Inc.
Valerie Johnston Pinchin Environmental Ltd. Joe Palladino Pro-Active General Contracting
Michael Ramalho Ramalho Electric Limited Jason Duck Skypole
Paul Gulesserian Your Condo Board Has A Vacancy?
Mark Your Calendars Level 201 Course - Governance and Unit Owner Rights Dates & Times:
Saturday, April 10th, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Novotel North York Hotel
$95 for CCI Members and $125 for Non Members plus GST
This half-day course will teach Directors all they need to know about proper Governance issues and how to ensure a well functioning Board. This is a ‘must-attend’ session for any new Director or for any owner considering running for a Board position. For further course information, to download registration forms, or to register online, please visit www.ccitoronto.org/Education
Condo 101 Course Dates & Times:
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Novotel North York Hotel
$60 for CCI Members and $95 for Non Members plus GST
This 3 hour seminar will focus on the topics that every Director should be aware of and will provide participants with a basic knowledge of the condominium Act. The course is an excellent means to find out what you need to know to be effective as a condominium owner or director. The information presented will be of interest to those purchasing a condominium or to those who want to know what a condominium is and what it means to live in one.
CCI Toronto Level 300 Course Note to members – the Level 300 course usually held in the spring has been postponed to the fall of 2010. This course is currently under review by the Education Committee and is being completely updated. Watch for further details coming in June 2010!
Springfest 2009 Dates & Times:
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Metro Toronto Convention Center, North Building, 255 Front Street West
For more information visit the show website at: www.pmexpo/Springfest While at Springfest, be sure to visit the CCI Booth in the Trade Show area and also to attend the following CCI Sponsored seminar:
What’s Right and What Needs Improvement in the World of Condos... - 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Moderated by Pamela Boyce, a panel of condo experts including Chris Jaglowitz (Lawyer), Dean McCabe (Property Manager), Sally Thompson (Engineer) and Mark Shedden (Insurance Representative) will look at key current topics within the industry. What’s new, what’s hot and what’s not will be explored. Fast paced and current this is a “not to be missed” session! Also of interest will be the following Springfest Session from :
Waste Management Cost Control & Material Diversion Success Stories Condo Building Case Study Presentations - 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Moderated by Doug King (Director Market Development, Metro Group). Speakers include: Mila Carvo (Condo Board President), Katherine Gow (Property Manager), Julian McNabb (Property Manager); Andrew Simon (Condo Board President)
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What the Condominium Board Should be Considering Every Year – An Annual Checklist BY MICHAEL H. CLIFTON, CLIFTON KOK LLP here is no real end to the projects and activities that can be undertaken by the board of directors of a condominium created under the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”), although there are limits. The ultimate limit is that the board should do nothing that is not in accordance with the Act or extends beyond its mandate to manage the affairs of the corporation honestly and in good faith, exercising the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances (see sections 27 and 37 of the Act).
Having said this, it never hurts to have a checklist that covers the issues that generally matter most. To help the board to organize its calendar and remember every important thing, here is our short-list of just a few key annual considerations.*
Budget planning for the next year should begin well before the conclusion of the current year. The budget should be set before the beginning of the year to which it applies.
The budget should cover all the regular costs of operating the condominium, plus known or anticipated increases in such costs, such as administrative/ office expenses (phones, supplies, etc.), bank charges, meeting costs, manage-
ment fees (if any), amounts to be paid under any service contracts (such as landscaping, snow removal, cleaning, maintenance and so forth), salaries and deductions if the corporation has any employees, and legal and auditing fees. A sufficient cushion should be built in for unforeseen costs, such as unexpected maintenance and repairs that are not payable from the reserve fund, or legal fees, especially if there are existing or anticipated disputes with unit owners or escalating enforcement issues.
When budgeting, the board should also ensure it includes an amount to cover directors’ and officers’ education – such as membership in the Canadian Condominium Institute and attendance at courses. The board might also plan special educational events, such as
bringing professionals in to speak with the board or owners at meetings about topics of interest or to clarify points of concern.
(NOTE: An additional consideration for newly registered condominiums is the declarant’s obligations pursuant to section 75 of the Act for the first-year budget of the corporation. The board will want to ensure it engages its auditor immediately when the first-year budget period ends and plan with legal counsel to deal efficiently and effectively with any amounts the declarant is responsible to pay, if any.)
AUDIT AND A.G.M.
Mentioning the annual general meeting and annual audit of the corporation Spring 2010
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seems as if it should be unnecessary. However, a good annual checklist would be incomplete without them.
Under the Act, the corporation is required to hold its annual general meeting within six months of the end of the fiscal year to which it relates. The annual general meeting will deal with such matters as: • auditor’s financial report • new budget • election of directors (if any positions are open) • board’s and/or manager’s reports on the previous year • discussion of upcoming significant matters, projects or goals • appointment of the new auditor (or reappointment of the old) • other matters raised by owners for discussion (only) during the meeting
Since the annual general meeting includes the auditor’s report, having the audit completed is an essential component of planning for the meeting.
In preparation for the audit, the board should ensure all relevant documentation is accurate, up-to-date and available, since the auditor has a right of full access to all documents of the corporation.
Board members must also make themselves available to speak with the auditor, if explanations of different expenses or other occurrences will be wanted. If there is an audit committee, they may oversee all of this.
Finally, the board must review the auditor’s report prior to the annual general meeting.
With respect to the annual general meeting itself, the board should take time to prepare a meeting that is not only effective and efficient from the “business” perspective, but also provides an opportunity to build trust between the board and the unit owners, and to solidify the sense of community within the condominium.
This means the board should not simply consider (or delegate to management) the task of planning the meeting’s technical elements, but also give consideration to the atmosphere and attitude to be represented at the meeting. These should be reflective of the kind of community the board would like to encourage.
Ensure that a pre-notice of meeting goes out early enough for candidates to be declared and included in the notice
of meeting, and that the notice of meeting goes out to the owners listed in the section 47(2) record of the corporation within the time frame required by the Act.
RESERVE FUND STUDY & PHYSICAL REVIEW A new reserve fund study is required at a minimum every three years; but it needs to be considered that the board need not wait a full three years before holding the subsequent study. It is often necessary to have reserve fund studies completed sooner than every three years. Therefore, the board needs to consider annually whether a reserve fund study is required for the coming year and plan when it should take place. The sorts of events or circumstances that might have arisen or occurred in the last year which would indicate the need for an earlier reserve fund study include such things as: (a) unexpected damage occurring in the prior year that could shorten the expected life-span of a part of the common elements or assets;
(b) evidence of significant wear and tear of any common elements or assets beyond what was anticipated
in the last reserve fund plan; or
(c) significant changes (reductions, additions or alterations) to the common elements or assets.
If there are any circumstances that cause the board to believe that its reserve fund plan is no longer adequate or otherwise needs to be revised, a new study should be contracted.
In conjunction with determining whether any changes are need to the reserve fund plan, it would be reasonable to have at least annual (preferably semi-annual or more frequent) walkabout inspections of the property, to help indentify both minor and major repair issues, and for the board to consider whether any of the services or facilities of the condominium require changing or upgrades. (NOTE: If yours is a new condominium corporation still within its first year of operation, then in addition to a reserve
fund study, you will need to plan for a performance audit of the common elements pursuant to section 44 of the Act. These can generally be conducted together. As part of your planning, you will then need to consider when and how to deal with any deficiencies revealed by the study, including whether and to what extent you might be able to rely upon Tarion warranties.)
INVESTMENTS REVIEW Section 115 of the Act sets out the requirements for investments of operation or reserve fund monies. The board should ensure there have been no changes, or that no changes are required, to the corporationâ€™s investments, to comply with the Act.
Since the Act requires that investment of reserve fund monies be done only in accordance with an investment plan based on anticipated case requirements of that fund, the board will need to
review its investment of those monies if it is anticipated any changes will need to be made on account of a new reserve fund study and plan. There may also simply be new investment options available that the board should consider. An annual review of the status of investment accounts and new investment options is simply a part of prudent financial management.
INSURANCE REVIEW Even if the insurance policy of the corporation does not come up for renewal during the coming year, the board should review its policy to ensure that there are no circumstances (known or anticipated) that could render the insurance inadequate or prevent a claim from being successfully processed.
The board might also speak with its broker about any riders or other additional coverage that the corporation
should consider, or whether the circumstances of the corporation have changed in any way so as to require other changes.
CORPORATE RECORDS REVIEW It is important for the board to ensure that effective and accurate corporate records are maintained. An annual review of the minute book and other records can assist in ensuring important resolutions, agreements and other transactions are accurately recorded before personal and institutional memories fully fade. As discussed in our memorandum on corporate minute books, the board may consider engaging the assistance of its solicitor, and advice from the solicitor and/or auditor, on identifying and dealing with deficiencies in the documentation.
The Board should seek to determine whether the records kept pursuant to subsections 47 (2) and 83 (3) of the Act appear to be up-to-date. If they are not, then the board should consider approaching those owners whose information is missing to complete the record well before the next Annual General Meeting. This is particularly important with respect to the section
47(2) record, since failure to be included there would mean such owners are technically not entitled to notice of or attendance and participation at this very important meeting of the condominium. (Not being included in the section 47(2) record can affect other rights of the unit owners as well, and can inhibit exercise of the corporationâ€™s lien rights.) As part of its documentary review, the board should ensure that: (a) all corporate records are retained in a safe and accessible location; and
List of Advertisers A.R. 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Edick & Sons Landscape Contractors Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 LAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Larlyn Property Management Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 M & E Consulting Engineers Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Maple Ridge Community Management Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Mareka Property Management Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Metro Group of Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Miller Thomson LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Morrison Hershfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Nadlan-Harris Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Ontario Screen Systems Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Pillar Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Pro-House Management Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Provident Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Rainbow International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Regal Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 Royal Grande Property Management Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Samuel Property Management Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 SmithValeriote Law Firm LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 SR Wise Management Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 Stratacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Summa Property Management Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Suncorp Valuations Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Toronto Hydro Electric Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Trustlink Property Management Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Waste Solutions Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Whiterose Janitorial Service Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Wilson Blanchard Management Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 YARDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Published on Aug 22, 2012