Condominiums in Canada
One in eight Canadian households lived in a residential condominium dwellings, mostly located in a few census metropolitan areas according to Statistics Canada Condominiums exist throughout Canada, although condominiums are most frequently found in the larger cities. "Condominium" is a legal term used in most provinces of Canada. in British Columbia, it is referred to as "strata title" and in Quebec, the term "divided co-property" (French: copropriété divisée) is used, although the colloquial name remains "condominium".
With regular condominiums, the unit owner usually owns the internal unit space and a percentage of the common property; in the case of a freehold condominium (or a bare/vacant land condominium) the owner owns the land and building and a percentage of any common property shared roadways and amenities. The Canadian Condominium Institute is a non-profit association of condominium owners and corporations with chapters in each province and territory. The Condo Owners Association COA Ontario is a non-profit association representing condominium owners with divisions across the province and districts within the various municipalities.
Before 1981 condominiums made up less than ten percent of homes built in Canada.
British Columbia Strata Housing
Over a million people live in strata housing in British Columbia. Strata properties are a popular housing choice in B.C. because it is convenient, provides security and added amenities and is usually less costly than buying a single-family home.
As the price of single-family housing has soared to unprecedented levels in Vancouver, the number of new condominium sales has increased, along with prices. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the benchmark price for a condo in July 2016 was $510,600 in the region, up 27.4 per cent from the same month in 2015.
Insurance under the Strata Property Act
The Act requires all stratas to maintain an insurance policy for a minimum of $2 million (property and liability) that covers the common elements and the units as originally buïlt.
There are over 1.3 million condo owners and/or residents living in more than 587,000 condominium units in Ontario. One-half of new construction in 2013 was condominium-related. In recent years, the condominium industry has been booming in Canada, with dozens of new towers being erected each year. Toronto is the centre of this boom, with 17,000 new units being sold in 2005, more than double second place Miami's 7,500 units. Toronto's condo population has grown from 978,125 in 2011 to 1.478 million people in 2016 representing 54.7% of the city population according to Toronto Condo News.
Outside of Toronto, the most common forms of condominium have been townhomes rather than highrises, although that trend may be altered as limitations are placed on "Greenfields" (see Greenfield land) developments in those areas (in turn, forcing developers to expand upward rather than outward and to consider more condominium conversions instead of new housing). Particular growth areas are in Kitchener/Waterloo, Barrie, and London. In fact, after Toronto, the Golden Horseshoe Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute is one of that organization's most thriving chapters.
Ontario Condominium Act
Condominium Authority of Ontario
Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) was established, in 2017, by the Province of Ontario to address concerns about condo living and management in the province. Its goal is to minimize issues before they become disputes to help with community building. To do this they have implemented three pillars; education, mandated reporting and disclosure of information, and a tribunal for handling disputes that arise In a March 2018 Toronto Condo News article, the Executive Director of the Condominium Authority of Ontario explains it has an "overarching goal to enhance consumer protection for condominium owners, directors and residents. This is made possible through a comprehensive offering of information about condominium ownership including self-help tools, mandatory director training, and a new online dispute resolution service, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)."
Ontario Condominium Act, 1998
Until December 2015, condominiums in Ontario were governed by the Ontario Condominium Act, 1998 with each development establishing a corporation to deal with day-to-day functions (maintenance, repairs, etc.). A board of directors is elected by the owners of units (or, in the case of a common elements condominium corporation, the owners of the common interest in the common elements) in the development on at least a yearly basis. A general meeting is held annually to deal with board elections and the appointment of an auditor (or waiving of audit). Other matters can also be dealt with at the Annual General Meeting, but special meetings of the owners can be called by the board and, in some cases, by the owners themselves, at any time.
The Ontario Condominium Act, 1998 provided an effectively wide range of development options, including Standard, Phased, Vacant Land, Common Element and Leasehold condominiums. Certain existing condominiums can amalgamate, and existing properties can be converted to condominium (provided municipal requirements for the same are met). Accordingly, the expanded and expanding use of the condominium concept is permitting developers and municipalities to consider newer and more interesting forms of development to meet social needs.
On this issue, Ontario condominium lawyer Michael Clifton writes, "Condominium development has steadily increased in Ontario for several years. While condominiums typically represent an attractive lifestyle and home-ownership alternatives for buyers, they also, importantly, introduce a new approach to community planning for home builders and municipal approval authorities in Ontario. ...[There are] opportunities for developers to be both creative and profitable in building, and municipalities more flexible and imaginative in planning and approving, developments that will become sustainable communities."
Reserve fund contributions are ten per cent of the condominium fees collected or higher. Contrary to other jurisdictions such as Alberta, Ontario does not provide flexibility for small condo corporations to conduct their own reserve fund study, or to update it less frequently than required for large corporations. Managers of small condominium corporations have asked the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services to review this requirement as it becomes burdensome for the management of smaller buildings.
Condo Owners Association
The Condo Owners Association (COA) was established by Founder Linda Pinizzotto in 2010 as a non profit Association to provide a cohesive united voice to represent condominium owners across the Province of Ontario to all levels of Government and to advocate for a Condo Act Review recognizing that the Condo Act was established in 1998 and since that time there had not been any changes to the Act. The COA supports the development of new legislation and advocates to the Province of Ontario to address concerns. The Condo Owners Association holds a position on various stakeholder groups and provides representation and information for condo owners, buyers, and the general public. It was engaged in the Condominium Act review that culminated in the 2015 changes to the Condominium Act.
Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015
On May 27, 2015, David Orazietti, Ontario's Minister of Government and Consumer Services, introduced a new bill called the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015. The bill called for the creation of a new Condominium Authority, which would be funded by a $1 a month fee on individual condo owners and by condo developers, that would provide advice for condo owners, facilitate dispute resolution between owners and boards regarding issues such as noise complaints, bylaw infractions or an inability to get financial statements from the board of directors. Critics of the bill said that the bill would result in increased fees and more special assessments. The aim of the Act is to make it less expensive to resolve disputes. The Act will require boards to issue reports to owners on things such as insurance or legal proceedings. Clear language will spell out the amount of an adequate Reserve fund study and help eliminate surprise hikes in condo fees or special assessments levied against each unit. On December 2, 2015 Third Reading of this Act was Carried on division and on December 3, 2015 Royal Assent was received,
Condo Manager Licensing Authority
The Act introduces a new body, the Condo Manager Licensing Authority. There will be training and licensing of condominium management companies and individuals to ensure those hired to run multimillion-dollar condominium corporations are adequately trained to reduce the risk of fraud and mismanagement. The Act also introduces a code of ethics for condo managers. There were 2,500 people managing 10,000 condominium developments in Ontario, with 700,000 individual units.
In Saskatchewan, condominiums are registered as a special type of non-profit corporation that is owned by the unit owners; the owners elect a board of directors; the operation of the corporation is governed by The Condominium Property Act, 1993.
Criticism and controversy
According to Maclean's:
- Canadian condos are rife with internal politics, neighbour infighting and power struggles stemming from the complicated network of condo boards, owners, investors, tenants and property managers
- "Condominium dwellings in Canada".
- Condominium Buyers Guide (PDF). Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 2002. ISBN 0-662-33517-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 11, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
- "Ontario moves to license condo managers". Rem online. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
- "Condo hell". April 22, 2014.
- Standards, Office of Housing and Construction. "Strata Housing - Province of British Columbia". gov.bc.ca.
- "Financial fault lines: The earthquake risk of Vancouver's condo boom".
- Standards, Office of Housing and Construction. "Insurance - Province of British Columbia". gov.bc.ca.
- In, Condo Owners Association, COA Toronto, March 10, 2010
- "pagename=thestar%2FLayout%2FArticle_Type1&c=Article&cid=1148507412275&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154&t=TS_Home". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved September 29, 2007.
- "Toronto's Condo Population - Toronto Condo News". TOcondonews.com. March 2017.
- "Why the Condominium Authority of Ontario Exists". Toronto Condo News. Toronto Condo News.
- "The Condominium Authority of Ontario – Supporting Condominium Communities" (March 2018). Toronto Condo News. March 1, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Condominium Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 19". Queen's Printer for Ontario. Archived from the original on October 20, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- on YouTube
- In, A Comment about Condominiums, Community Planning and Sustainability, Forum Magazine Archived February 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Dec 6/Jan 7, p. 28.
- "Main Home". acmo.org.
- Pigg, Susan (May 27, 2015). "Ontario condo owners to get cheaper way to resolve disputes". Toronto Star.
- "Toronto Daystarter: Wednesday, May 27, 2015". cbc.ca.
- "Legislative Assembly of Ontario - Bills & Lawmaking - Current Parliament - Bill 106, Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015".
- "Condo disputes in Ontario will be less costly to resolve under a new provincial plan". financialpost.com.
- "Ontario condo owners to get cheaper way to resolve disputes - Toronto Star". thestar.com.
- "The Condominium Property Act, 1993 being Chapter C-26.1* of the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 1993" (PDF). Queen's Printer. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
- "Condo hell". macleans.ca. April 22, 2014.
- (Alberta) Condomium Property Act
- (British Columbia) Strata Property Act
- (Nunavut) CONDOMINIUM ACT
- (Ontario) Condominium Act, 1998
- (Saskatchewan) Condominium Property Act, 1993
- (Yukon) CONDOMINIUM ACT