CAO’s Annual Condominium Requirements Guide
One of the recent Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) guides is the “Annual Condominium Requirements Guide”. The guide says that its purpose is to “highlight many of the regularly occurring legal requirements for condominium corporations”. The guide lists various legal requirements to be fulfilled or considered by condominium corporations on an annual basis, and also provides some “best practices” that “may be considered” by condominium corporations to help them “better prepare their condominium corporation for the next year’s governance and operational requirements”. The best practices are listed as follows:
- Create an Annual Plan (covering various events, timing of the events, responsibilities to arrange the events etc.)
- Perform a Vendor and Service Review (essentially a review of all key contracts, any deadlines, required new procurements, etc.)
- Regularly Collect Owner Feedback (either through meetings or other surveys or other methods)
I think this CAO guide raises some interesting questions:
- Do the Best Practices offered by CAO constitute performance standards for condominium Board members? Do they constitute performance standards for condominium Managers?
- In other words: If a Board or Manager fails to follow CAO’s Best Practices, would that amount to negligence (or, in the case of the Manager, professional negligence) on their part?
- And if the answer to the above questions is “yes”, was this “standard setting role” intended to be part of CAO’s mandate? Normally, setting of professional or performance standards is the mandate of a licensing body (like, for example, the Ontario Association of Architects or the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario or the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario). CAO has no such licensing mandate. On the other hand, CAO clearly has the mandate to provide Director training and to provide information (Guides) to assist condominium communities, per Section 71.1 of the Condominium Act. So it’s certainly possible that CAO’s mandate might indeed extend this far.
The bottom line is as follows: In my view, condominium Boards and Managers should be familiar with the guides and other resources from CAO….and should carefully consider implementing them whenever this makes sense for the particular condominium.
Before concluding, I add the following note: If CAO will in fact be setting performance standards for condominium Boards and Managers, I think it’s extremely important that there be strong representation, on the CAO Board, for condominium corporations and Managers. In my view, strong condominium Boards make for strong condominium communities….and it’s important for CAO to remember that condominium Boards and Managers also need protecting (along with condominium owners).
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