On August 26, 2020, the Ontario government announced that changes to expand the jurisdiction of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (the "CAT") will come into effect on October 1, 2020.
To date, the CAT's jurisdiction has been limited to hearing disputes relating to requests for records.
The changes are found in Ontario Regulation 179/17, and will require disputes relating to the following provisions of the declaration, by-laws or rules of a condominium to proceed to the CAT:
- Provisions that prohibit, restrict or otherwise govern pets or other animals in a unit, the common elements or the assets, if any, of the corporation.
- Provisions that prohibit, restrict or otherwise govern an automobile, motorcycle, van, truck, trailer, bus, mobile home, farm tractor, bicycle, motor-assisted bicycle, motorized snow vehicle, motorboat, rowboat, canoe, kayak, punt, sailboat, raft, aircraft, device used to facilitate the transport of a person with a disability, or any other vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of power, including muscular power, in a unit, the common elements or the assets, if any, of the corporation.
- Provisions that prohibit, restrict or otherwise govern the parking or storage of items in a unit, an asset, if any, of the corporation, or any part of a unit, an asset or the common elements, that is intended for parking or storage purposes.
- Provisions that govern the indemnification or compensation of the corporation, an owner or a mortgagee regarding a dispute described in this clause.
In a nutshell, and subject to the specific wording above, this means that disputes concerning restrictions in the declaration, by-laws and rules relating to pets, parking and storage will be heard by the CAT, as well as claims for indemnification related to such matters.
Accordingly, such disputes will no longer be subject to mediation/arbitration or a Superior Court Application.
Note that the CAT's jurisdiction on these additional matters will not apply where the dispute also relates to dangerous conditions (s. 117 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the "Act")), an agreement under s. 98 of the Act, or an agreement for electric vehicle charging systems.
We expect that in the coming weeks that the Condominium Authority of Ontario and the CAT will provide additional details as to the procedure for filing applications to the CAT on these new matters. For example, it is still unclear if the CAT's Rules of Practice might be updated to allow for legal cost recovery.
Such procedural considerations will be very important as to how the CAT functions and whether it can resolve such disputes in a timely and efficient manner, in a way that works for owners and the condominium communities involved.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.