The Condominium Authority of Ontario: Supporting Condominium Communities through Director Training
Beginning with its launch on September 1, 2017, the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) introduced a wide range of services and resources to support condominium living across Ontario. One of these services is an online training program for the directors of condominium corporations. Robin Dafoe, CEO and Registrar of the CAO, provided us with information about the role, importance, and future of condo director training in the province.
Why is condo director training important?
Board directors are integral to the success of the condominium corporation, often responsible for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in operating a condominium. Not surprisingly, feedback gathered directly from condominium community stakeholders indicated that an overwhelming majority of condo owners want their directors to be trained. Accordingly, the government now requires by law that condo directors complete mandatory training. Through this new director training program, the CAO is working to support condo living across the province.
What are the legal requirements regarding director training?
Under Ontario Regulation 48/01 of the Condominium Act, 1998, all directors appointed, elected, or re-elected after November 1, 2017 are required to complete the training program provided by the CAO within six-months of their election or appointment. This is mandatory for all directors elected or appointed after November 1, 2017, and, once completed, it is valid for approximately seven years.
It is important to note that, according to the regulation, if a director is appointed, elected or re-elected after November 1, 2017, and does not complete director training within six months, they immediately cease to be a director.
What will condo directors learn from CAO’s training program?
The CAO’s mandate is to protect consumers and support condominium communities. Condominium directors play a key role in ensuring that the condo corporation is well managed and maintained on behalf of all condo home owners. The CAO’s condo director training program informs directors of their important obligations in overseeing the corporation on behalf of all the owners. The program helps to equip condo directors with skills and information to assist them in directing the affairs of the corporation, resolving issues, and fostering a positive condominium community culture.
What is the format of the CAO’s Condominium Director Training Program? Is there an exam?
The CAO’s Condominium Director Training Program was developed in consultation with owners and directors. To keep costs down and reach the more than 50,000 directors across the province, the CAO developed the online delivery format. By delivering the training online, the CAO can make it easily accessible to any director and/or member of the public regardless of location, and the CAO can manage costs to offer the training at no charge. The online modules are short, easy to follow, and include knowledge checks along the way. This means that there are multiple opportunities to get an answer right and there is no test or exam. The online format also allows users to stop at any time and return later to continue at their convenience. The modules can be completed in any order and are fully accessible, allowing the user to select audio, text and video, or both.
What topics are covered and how long does the training take to complete?
The CAO’s program consists of 21 individual modules, each addressing an important area of knowledge. Some of the topics covered include financial management fundamentals, maintaining the condominium’s physical integrity, certificate types, the role of the manager, and more.
The online modules range in length from approximately 10 to 20 minutes at audio speed. The entire program takes between three to six hours to complete, depending on whether you listen to the audio recording or read the transcript. The user can control the speed and complete the program at a faster or slower pace and return at another time.
How does the CAO ensure that the training program is meeting directors’ needs?
Since the program was launched on November 1, 2017, the CAO has been engaging condo directors to help identify enhancements to this initial training program. The CAO has been gathering feedback from directors who have contacted our customer care teams and by encouraging feedback from users through an online survey at the end of the training with a view to making improvements based on this feedback.
Over the past six months, more than 3,600 people have completed the program and early results indicate that the majority of respondents were very satisfied with the training (84%) and said they would recommend it to others (94%).
What if a Director does not own a computer?
The CAO is committed to ensuring that every director who is interested in continuing their tenure on the board is able to complete the training. The CAO has heard about several successful strategies being implemented by condo boards and managers to support directors who may not have or use computers regularly, including:
- Making computers available for condo directors to use in the condo management office, or another location. This also provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships between condo boards and their managers;
- Having someone set up computers and walk directors through the training modules as part of a board meeting. This provides an opportunity for the board as whole to dialogue about the topics and how these areas are addressed for their corporation;
- Contacting the local high school to seek student volunteers. This approach will also help students receive community involvement credit towards their diploma; or
- Accessing the computer equipment available at local libraries or asking a friend or family member to assist.
What if a Director is unable to use any of the above strategies?
The CAO is committed to supporting directors to complete the training. If a director is unable to complete the online training using any of the above strategies, they should write to the CAO at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide details regarding their specific circumstances. The CAO will consider specific circumstances on a case by case basis.
The CAO is very pleased to support condo directors in fulfilling their important responsibilities on behalf of all owners in the condominium corporation. Moving forward, the CAO will continue to gather feedback and evolve the training program to better assist condominium board directors in meeting their obligations.
For more information about the CAO’s Condominium Director Training Program, please visit our website at: www.condoauthorityontario.ca.
Test your knowledge!
True or False?
An information certificate must include a statement of all outstanding judgements against the condominium and include the implications of the judgement.