Interest groups divided over condo act lobbying efforts
Mississauga News By Erin Obourn May 02, 2013
Groups representing different factions among the concerned parties in the Condominium Act Review process agree the outdated legislation needs to be revised with stricter regulations, but that is about as warm and fuzzy as it gets.
The Condo Owners Association (COA) represents owners looking for more protection in the revised act, and the group is a stakeholder in the legislation’s review process.
The Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) and the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) represents some condo owners as well, but its membership net is cast much wider to include property managers, management corporations, lawyers and trade suppliers. They also have some representation in the review.
All of the involved groups have publicly said they support legislation that will require licensing for property management companies, as well as stronger protection for condo owners in conflict resolution, but how it is being done and with how much effort is an issue on which the groups aren’t seeing eye to eye.
“This is one of the fastest processes that has ever been created for legislation in Canada, and it seems to be working effectively,” Michael Clifton, president of the Golden Horseshoe Chapter of CCI, told YourMississaugaBiz.com.
Mississauga realtor and COA founder Linda Pinizzotto says CCI and COA are working together towards a shared goal, but she does not describe her experience with the review process as running as smoothly. Pinizzotto has been fighting tooth and nail at every stage of the Condo Act Review process since it was launched by the McGuinty Government last summer.
“It hasn’t been easy. We’re up against condo lawyers, property managers and there’s been a big push for licensing property management companies. It’s not easy when we go into a room and there are four of us from COA and 26 others,” she said.
“I’ve been funding this out of my own personal pocket. We’re not charging people now as a sign of good faith. We spend every waking hour – thousands of hours here – to put ourselves at the forefront to fight for condo owners.”
COA is actively trying to expand its membership base in hopes that it will help speed up change, but Clifton does not believe COA represents the viewpoint of most condo owners.
“Condo owner groups have some legitimate complaints, but by and large I don’t find they reflect the majority,” he said. “I don’t tend to take the position of the owner groups as seriously. It’s representative of the very squeaky wheels, so they are getting grease, but they aren’t necessarily right.”
There are 1.3 million condo owners in the province and the number is growing rapidly as cities like Mississauga and Toronto run out of land for traditional single family home development and opt for multi-unit dwelling to increase density.
As the number of condo owners rises the fight will continue for proper Condo Act legislation. Both CCI and COA admit condos are complex, and the legislation can be difficult to wade through.
“There’s things that are unfairly handled that aren’t completely dealt with in the legislation,” said Clifton. “But it’s taken years and past proposals for legislation from Marchese [MPP Rosario Marchese] and other groups that won’t work with existing law.”Share