CMRAO Guidelines – What Do They Mean for Managers?
The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority (CMRAO) has published some Guides for condominium managers and providers, including the following:
These Guides can be found on the CMRAO website (cmrao.ca). And I understand there may be more to come!
Having spoken with others in the industry, there is clearly some confusion about how these Guides apply, and whether they are binding.
What do CMRAO’s Guides mean for condominium managers and providers?
I recently enjoyed an excellent discussion respecting these matters with CMRAO’s deputy registrar, Sandy Vizely. Here’s what we discussed:
CMRAO’s governing legislation (the Condominium Management Services Act and Regulations (the CMSA)) does not contain any specific reference to authority (for CMRAO) to make standards applicable to Licensees (condominium managers and providers).
However, CMRAO advises that the “courts have been clear that regulators do not require specific statutory authority to publish guidelines”. Therefore, CMRAO’s general objects and duties (set out in the CMSA) authorize it to issue “guidelines and other non-binding instruments”.
This makes good sense, because one of the purposes of the CMRAO is to generally promote improved standards for Ontario condominium management. And as Sandy put it: In addition to protecting the public, one of CMRAO’s goals is to make life simpler and easier for condominium managers, by providing some direction in areas of uncertainty. That’s part of what the guidelines are about.
The bottom line is that CMRAO expects condominium managers and providers to be aware of, and to follow, CMRAO’s guidelines. If they fail to do so, they risk potential discipline.
That said, CMRAO acknowledges that the guidelines are “non-binding”. What does this mean? Further to my discussion with Sandy, here’s my understanding:
Because the CMRAO does not have explicit legislative authority to set standards for licensees, licensees have the right to challenge CMRAO’s guidelines (ie. if the licensee doesn’t agree with a particular guideline). How might this challenge occur? Here are a couple of possibilities that I discussed with Sandy:
- If one or more violations of a guideline results in a discipline procedure that is referred to the Discipline Committee (and therefore could result in a decision that is public), the licensee would have the right to challenge the correctness of the guideline… and the Discipline Committee could possibly agree with the licensee.
Licensees (and others) can also offer feedback to CMRAO respecting any guideline… and the Registrar can always consider an amendment. [On this point, Sandy and I talked about my blog of December 8, 2020, in which I offered some alternative perspectives about the CMRAO’s guideline respecting listing candidates in a Notice of Meeting or in a pre-populated proxy form. Sandy said that the Registrar welcomes that sort of feedback… and of course gives all feedback careful consideration (for possible tweaking of CMRAO’s guidelines).]
In summary: Licensees need to be aware of guidelines published by CMRAO and need to follow those guidelines (unless the Licensee genuinely disagrees). And if you do genuinely disagree, I recommend providing feedback to CMRAO (before any discipline process)… and (unfortunately) also being braced for a debate at the Discipline Committee (if the issue ever progresses that far!).
Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on condominium law!