A New Approach

The Ontario Government has introduced a new concept in legislative review.  They have decided to approach the review of the Condominium Act, 1998 through a multi-facetted viewpoint.  They have, in their wisdom, come to see that viewpoints of all sectors and all stakeholders will give them the best chance at successfully leading Condominiums into the future.  The marketplace needs to continue to evolve to meet the growing and changing needs of the purchasing public.  Builders need to be able to continue to bring new concepts to market to meet those needs.  Legislators need to recognize that Condominiums represent the most affordable, yet most diverse, form of housing in our ever growing market.  Condominiums meet many of the planning needs for densification in the urban centres in Ontario.  Condominiums represent the future of the housing market in Ontario, and therefore need to be guided with great vision, great diversity and great legislation. Condominiums are more than just building, they are a lifestyle choice.  We need to make the changes needed to help everyone find balance in this complex lifestyle, without making things more complicated.  We need to make the dispute process simple, and affordable, so that minor issues can be resolved before the fabric of the community gets torn.  We need to enrich the lives of the people who choose the condominium lifestyle, and keep condominiums a viable form of housing and community for years to come.

The surprising thing that has happened though, is that despite the model of inclusion and cooperation, certain stakeholders have taken this opportunity to cast disparaging light on others in the hope of bolstering their own futures.  This activity completely defeats the spirit of cooperation and the multi–facetted viewpoints that are necessary to lead the Condominium world into the future.  The review process will be a long, arduous process, and negative posturing will only make it more difficult to get the best legislation assembled for our future condominium owners and residents.  It is imperative for every- one who is involved in the review process and all of those who are simply commenting from the sidelines, to keep the comments positive and focused on building a better Act.  Not everyone is going to agree on the best approach, nor are they going to have the same perspectives, yet they should all have the same goal in mind.   Build a better condominium!

Our whole structure in Canada is based upon commerce.  It is no secret that people get paid to go to work, nor is it a secret that services cost money.  There is no connection between making money at something, and having the wrong perspective, which seems to be a common thread in many of the negative comments that are prevalent amongst the detractors.

Builders build condominiums in order to make money.  That does not mean that they are bad builders, nor does it mean that they are good builders.  Each builder needs to create a reputation that defines their role in the industry.  Some have built sparkling clean, progressive, caring reputations, while others have built less desirable reputations.  It is their business model choice, and along with that model choice come the costs of supporting that model.  It is no secret that a clean, clear professional reputation costs more to maintain than a less than stellar one, and therefore the costs of the product will reflect that.  Purchasers choose which builder to purchase from, and therefore drive the market.  The same can be said of every industry that supports the Condominium world, or for that matter, any business in Canada.  Purchasers choose who thrives, who survives, and who goes out of business.  That is a fair, equitable marketplace where the buyer has choice and ultimate control.

Every day in CCI chapters across the country, professionals and trades support decisions to improve the condominium industry.  Sometimes that support will come at some cost to their personal livelihood.  An example of this came recently when a group of more than 30 stakeholders were assembled by CCI to review the problems with the current dispute resolution model in the Act.  Some of the stakeholders were Owners, Board Members, Property Managers, and others who live and work every day in Condominiums.  Some of the stakeholders were Lawyers and ADR specialists who made a portion of their living from these disputes, but brought needed expertise about the system that we needed to work within.  Throughout the whole process, there was never any resistance to finding ways to reduce the legal costs to solve a dispute.  There was no protection of the status quo.  There was no voice louder than any other.  There was simply a wide open dialogue to find a better way for Owners to resolve disputes.  Having witnessed first-hand the fair, transparent and cooperative process in action, it never stops shocking this writer to read the accusations leveled at those professionals who have given so freely of their time, their talent and themselves for the simple betterment of Condominium living.

At the Canadian Condominium Institute, we applaud the Ontario Government for their vision and foresight.  At CCI, we feel that this is the only fair approach to achieving balance in a lifestyle obviously ripe with differing needs and segregated viewpoints.  CCI has made this exact thought process its model since inception in 1980!  Our Chapter Boards are filled with experienced local people from the condominium sector who represent all areas of Condominium, from Directors and Owners, to Professionals and Trades who service the market.  Our National Board helps to tie all of the local chapters together and share knowledge, experience, resources and contacts.  All of these efforts are done by a volunteer force of thousands across this great country of ours.  We have worked diligently to find cooperation from the industry stakeholders for the betterment of Condominiums all across Canada.  CCI has tried to find the balance for more than 30 years, and will still be pursuing that balance 30 years from now!

By:  Bill Thompson, BA RCM ACCI FCCI, President at Malvern Condominium Property Management

 

Bill Thompson has been in the property management industry since 1985.  He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University.  He attained his R.C.M. designation in 1988.  Bill attained his ACCI designation from the Canadian Condominium Institute in June 2000, and was honoured by his peers with the FCCI designation in 2010.  Bill served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario for three years, and has been an active member on many of its committees throughout his career. Bill instructed the Administration Course in the Humber College Property Management course for two semesters.  He currently serves as Past President of the Toronto & Area Chapter Board of Director.  In addition, Bill serves as a Vice President on the CCI National Executive Board.  In his career, he has held positions ranging from Property Manager, to Vice President, to President at three different management companies.  Bill is the President of Malvern Condominium Property Management, which is an "ACMO 2000 Certified Company" that has exclusively managed Condominiums since 1972.