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Condominium Manager Licensing is Coming to Ontario!
The Ontario Government Has Announced That the Top Priority in the Ongoing Review of the Condominium Act Was the Call to Regulate the Profession of Condominium Managers
By Dean McCabe | Other articles by Dean McCabe
In May of 2014, the Ontario Government announced that the top priority in the ongoing review of the Condominium Act was the call to regulate the profession of Condominium Managers. This announcement was applauded by the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO), which had long been advocating for mandated professionalism and increased consumer protection.
The introduction of the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 moved that promise one step closer to reality in the Condominium Management Service Act (CMSA) and, most recently, the public posting of the first set of regulations for the CMSA. We are now months away from the single biggest change in the condominium sector since the turn of the century – a licensed Condominium Manager (CM) profession with mandatory education, mandatory experience requirements and a regulatory oversight body with the power to enforce professional conduct standards for every practicing CM in Ontario!
The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) was created late last year and is preparing to deliver the standards set out in the first phase of the regulations for the CMSA. Those regulations focus on the creations of the different types of licences that will be issued and the educational requirements necessary to qualify for those licences.
General Licence – Those individuals who have successfully completed the ACMO courses in Condominium Law, Physical Building Management, Financial Planning for Condominium Managers and Condominium Administration and Human Relations as of the date that the regulations come into force, (including all those who hold the Registered Condominium Manager (RCM) designation given by ACMO); or,
Those individuals who have not successfully completed the 4 ACMO courses but have at least 2 years' experience working as a condominium manager. These General Licensees will have a period of three years to successfully complete the ACMO courses in Condominium Law, Physical Building Management, Financial Planning for Condominium Managers and Condominium Administration and Human Relations
Limited Licence – Those that have less than 2 years' experience as a condominium manager will apply for a limited licence. This licence will enable an individual to work as a condominium manager for a period of 5 years, during which time they will be required to successfully pass the education requirements set out by the CMRAO.
The Limited Licensee will have certain restrictions placed on their licence; for example, it is expected that an individual who holds a Limited Licence will not have the authority to sign Status Certificates for a condominium corporation, or oversee the holding of certain types of owners' meetings required by requisition. The Limited Licensee will be supervised by a General Licence holder for these type of activities until they have met both the educational and experience requirements.
Principal Condominium Manager – every management company that enters into a contract to manage a condominium in Ontario will be required to appoint a Principal Condominium Manager who will be responsible for the operations of the firm and to ensure that it exercises policies and procedures that are consistent with the requirement set out in the Condominium Act for the handling of clients' funds and for reporting on the operations of the firm related to licensed managers and reporting to the CMRAO.
During the transition period, these licences may be qualified as "deemed" or "transitional" but the outline above provides a brief description of the tiered or phased regulatory system that the CMRAO has been charged with developing and delivering.
These descriptions and criteria are of course subject to the regulations being approved as posted but if that happens managers across the province will be filling out licensing applications before the end of 2017.
There are more regulations related to the CMSA that have not yet been posted for public comment and review. At the time of writing, those sections that deal with the CMRAO's powers to develop and enforce professional codes of conduct and give the CMRAO registrar investigative and disciplinary powers to respond to complaints have not yet been released.
In short, there will be a period during which condominium owners and even managers may struggle to understand the requirements that are going to be a new reality in the industry. However, these requirements will help condominium owners have confidence in the fact that if their manager does not hold the recognized RCM designation, they will still have been schooled and tested on the requirements of the Condominium Act, and importantly those who do not operate their condominiums in accordance with the Act could face discipline through a government mandated organization.