Licensing of Condominium Managers – Complaints (Blog No. 9 in a series)
We now have the draft Regulations under the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (the “Management Services Act”). This is the ninth in a series of blogs that I am preparing in relation to the draft regulations.
In this Blog No. 9, I explore the following topic: Complaints.
The Management Services Act contains specific provisions for handling of complaints against licensees (managers or management providers); and for related discipline procedures.
One can imagine the potential for complaints, particularly from unhappy owners. I suspect that, for managers and management providers, this may be one of the most unsettling aspects of the new licensing requirements.
The Management Services Act gives the Registrar considerable authority to handle complaints. Note that a complaint could come from anyone. I would guess that most complaints would come from condominium corporations, owners, directors, former owners and/or former directors. But complaints could come from others as well: for instance, contractors, other managers or other professionals.
When a complaint is received, the Registrar can:
- Attempt to mediate or resolve the complaint.
- Give the licensee a written warning that if the licensee continues with the activity that led to the complaint, action may be taken against the licensee.
- Require the manager or principal condominium manager to take further educational courses.
- Refer the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline Committee.
- Suspend, revoke or add conditions to the licence.
- Refuse to renew a licence.
- Take further action as appropriate in accordance with Act (which might, for instance, include an investigation of the matter).
The licensee would of course be involved in the process. The Management Services Act says that the Registrar may request information from the licensee (and would almost certainly do so any time a complaint merits any sort of response from the licensee). The draft regulations also say that if the Registrar takes any action in relation to a complaint, the Registrar must give notice of the action to the licensee, the principal condominium manager and/or the board of the licensee’s employer condominium corporation (as the case may be). My reading of this is that the licensee, principal condominium manager and employer condominium corporation will be involved in the complaint process as appropriate.
The Discipline Committee (and the Appeals Committee, in the event of an appeal from a Discipline Committee order) could get involved in relation to any alleged breach of the Code of Ethics – if the Registrar decides that the matter should be referred to the Committee. Although I couldn’t find any specific statement to this effect in the new legislation, I believe that (except in rare cases) the licensee would be a necessary party to any Discipline Committee procedure / hearing.
I hasten to note that we don’t yet have the Code of Ethics. The Management Services Act says that the Code of Ethics will be established by Regulation, so I suspect that we will see it soon!
The Discipline Committee (and Appeals Committee) will have considerable power over licensees. The Management Services Act says: If the Discipline Committee determines that a licensee has failed to comply with the Code of Ethics, it may order any of the following as deemed appropriate:
- Require the principal condominium manager of the licensee to take further educational courses if the licensee is a condominium management provider.
- Require the licensee to take further educational courses if the licensee is a condominium manager.
- If the licensee is a condominium management provider, require the licensee, in accordance with the terms, if any, that the committee specifies, to fund educational courses for condominium managers employed by the licensee or to arrange and fund the courses.
- If the licensee is a condominium manager, require the condominium management provider that employs the licensee, in accordance with the terms, if any, that the committee specifies, to fund educational courses for condominium managers that the provider employs or to arrange and fund the courses.
- Impose the fine that the committee considers appropriate, to a maximum of $25,000, or such lesser amount as is prescribed, to be paid by the licensee to the administrative authority or to the Minister of Finance if there is no administrative authority.
- Suspend or postpone the taking of further educational courses, the funding or the funding and arranging of educational courses or the imposition of the fine for the period and upon the terms that the committee designates.
- Fix and impose costs that the licensee is required to pay to the administrative authority or to the Minister of Finance if there is no administrative authority.
The draft regulations also say that licensees must not obstruct, interfere with, or hinder anyone from making a complaint, or from providing information in relation to a complaint.
In Summary: Professionals are generally held to certain legislative standards, and are typically subject to complaints and potential discipline under the terms of their governing legislation. Condominium managers and providers are about to enter a new world of potential complaints and discipline that could have a profound impact upon their licenses and therefore their very livelihoods.
Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about the draft Regulations under the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015.