The Ontario Government has created a new administrative condominium authority through amendments to the Condominium Act. The government developed the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) to make dispute resolution easier and more cost-effective for owners and corporations. It will begin operations on November 1, 2017.
CAT is under the authority of Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO). The organization's mandate is to increase awareness of condo owner's rights and provide them with information and education. The organization will be managing CAT when it begins accepting disputes.
While the main functions of the tribunal are to solve conflicts mainly between owners and corporations, the tribunal has additional functions. Those include making self-help tools and online resources available.
The tribunal has a lot of authority when making decisions. CAT's rulings will be binding, just like a court order. If owners or corporations disagree with a ruling, they can appeal it to the divisional court, but only on findings of law.
The tribunal will not hear all condominium disputes. Government regulations will stipulate which disputes may be brought to CAT. Currently, the disputes that may be brought to the tribunal are limited to disputes pertaining to access to condominium records. The government is planning to consult with the public about what types of disputes they would like to be able to bring to the tribunal.
Certain disputes are excluded. That includes conflict pertaining to title issues, builder's liens and the termination and amalgamation of condominium properties. Existing dispute resolution mechanisms can be used for conflicts that cannot be heard by the tribunal.
It is prudent to consult with a lawyer who is familiar with real estate law when facing a condominium dispute.