Glossary of Terms

Making alternate arrangements for human rights related needs, unless doing so would cause undue hardship due to cost or health and safety concerns.

Alternate Dispute Resolution refers to dispute resolutions processes outside the traditional litigation approach. ADR (especially mediation) is usually focused more on the parties’ interests rather than rights.

An affidavit is a statement or declaration in writing sworn or affirmed in front of a person having the authority to administer the oath.

Agreed Statement of Facts:
A statement of facts agreed to by the parties of an arbitration and submitted to the arbitrator in writing.

The combining of one or more standard condominium corporations.

Amortization Period:
The amortization period is the period of time needed to pay off the entire principal and interest amounts of the loan, assuming the interest rates and payment amounts were fixed for the whole duration.

Annual General Meeting (AGM):    
An annual meeting of the unit owners required by the Act where board members are elected and the financial statement for the previous year are presented to the owners.

A process whereby an independent third party (the arbitrator) hears a dispute between one or more parties and makes a determination of the rights and obligations of the parties.

A neutral third party who has the power to make a binding decision.

A chartered accountant (CA) appointed at the AGM to prepare the financial statements and to provide a report indicating if the statements fairly represent and accurately reflect the financial position and results of operations of the corporation.

Best alternative to a Negotiated Agreement– what is the best I can expect if we don’t come to a negotiated agreement?  

Board of Directors:
A governing body whose responsibility is to ensure the smooth running of the Condominium Corporation.  The Directors are generally elected by, and from amongst, the unit owners.

A set of rules, in addition to the Declaration, covering the day-to-day operational aspects of the Condominium, and outlining the responsibilities of the Board of Directors.

Carbonation Testing:             
Atmospheric carbon dioxide reacts with the concrete to form calcium carbonate reducing the pH of the concrete from above 12 to below 10. When this process reaches the depth of embedded steel, the lower pH eliminates the protection high pH concrete normally affords the steel. The rate of carbonation is primarily affected by concrete quality and the degree of saturation; humidity levels of 50% to70% within the pores of the concrete are ideal, while wet/dry cycling produces the most aggressive case. The presence of chlorides greatly increases the rate of corrosion once the passive layer has been lost.

Cash Flow Table:     
A table laying out fund balances, annual contributions, interest earned, and expenditures over a period of at least 30 years.      

The Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC) is a national committee responsible for the development, production and review of standard Canadian construction contracts, forms and guides.       

A charge or mortgage is a form of security that is taken against real property. Some corporations own guest and/or superintendent’s units that can be mortgaged.  

Chloride Content Testing:                     
Chloride ions in the concrete (from various sources but primarily road salt) combined with water and oxygen can contribute to corrosion of embedded steel. Chloride contamination acts to break down the protection against corrosion which concrete normally provides for steel. To determine how extensive the contamination is, the percentage of chloride in the concrete is measured at various depths in the slab either from drilled powder samples or cores.

A commitment is a document pursuant to which a lender agrees to lend to a borrower on the terms set out in the commitment, which will include basic terms such as the principal, term of the loan, interest rate, compounding and amortization period. A commitment may also set out various conditions that have to be met by the borrower in order for the lender to agree to advance funds pursuant to the loan. A commitment fee is normally payable by the borrower to the lender.          

Common Elements: 
Refers to all of the property of the condominium excluding the units (e.g. recreational facilities, hallways, elevators, etc.) 

Common Elements Condominium Corporation:             
Type of condominium development that consists of only common elements, but no units and that requires the owners to own a parcel of tied land to which their common interest attaches.

Common Expenses:
Expenses related to the performance of the objects and duties of a corporation and all expenses specified as common expenses in the Act, or in a declaration. Essentially, common expenses are the costs incurred in running the condominium corporation, including, but not limited to, the cost of maintenance, repair, some or all utility costs, the cost of management contracts and service contacts, insurance, accounting, and legal costs.

Common Interest:   
The percentage of ownership interest allocated in the declaration to each unit.

Common Surplus:    
The extent to which revenues of the corporation from common element assessments and other revenues exceed the common expenses.

Compliance Order: 
An order of the court that requires someone to comply with the Act or the governing documents of the condominium corporation.

Compound Interest:           
Arises when interest earned is added to the principal, so that, from that moment on, the interest that has been added also earns interest.

Condominium Act:   
In Ontario, this is the legislation that creates Condominiums and outlines how they are to be administered. The Ministry of Consumer Services is responsible for the Act.

A type of property ownership, not a particular style of building. In a Condominium the owners own their units or parcel of tied land (POTL), as well as a share of the common elements. There are Standard, Common Element, Vacant Land Condominiums and Leasehold Condominiums.

When two or more parties, with perceived incompatible goals, seek to undermine each other’s goal-seeking capability.   

Coring Concrete:    
Cores are drilled through any membrane and approximately 150mm into the slab. In interior suspended slabs, the membrane and topping thicknesses are measured and visually inspected. The concrete cores are generally tested for chloride ion content. Cores drilled in hollow sounding areas can also be used to determine if the hollow sound is being created by a delamination, or by debonded topping or waterproofing membrane. On the exterior roof deck, the asphalt driving surface and waterproofing membrane thickness are also measured and the concrete tested.

A Condominium Corporation is a legal entity that is created at the time of registration, and whose members are the building owners. The mandate of the Corporation is to manage the property and any other assets of the Corporation, which is done through the election of a Board of Directors.

Corrosion Potential Measurement:          
Delaminations are the end result of corrosion. A slab which has some delaminations probably has active corrosion of the embedded reinforcing steel elsewhere. The selection of the most appropriate repair approach often depends upon the extent of corrosion activity, so it is important to measure how much of the slab has active corrosion potentials. Corrosion potential measured between embedded reinforcing steel and a calibrated copper/copper sulphate reference electrode on the surface of the concrete give an indication of hidden corrosion activity. The measurements are taken on the surface of the slab in a grid pattern.

Cost Sharing Agreements:
An agreement between two or more condominium corporations or a condominium corporation and another corporation that sets out what facilities or areas will be shared by the condominium corporation and the percentages to which each of the corporations will contribute to the shared cost.

Cover Meter Survey:
Cover meters are used to locate embedded reinforcing steel in concrete elements. This is done prior to coring in order to avoid cutting reinforcing steel or can be used to confirm the size and depth of reinforcing steel.

Crack Monitoring:    
Crack monitoring gauges can be used to measure movements across a crack. Following the initial installation, periodic inspections are carried out to measure and record crack width measurements. This information can be used to determine an appropriate repair strategy. A cover meter is a magnetic device used to measure the depth of reinforcing steel without removing concrete.

Generally the developer of the condominium corporation who is the owner of the property before registration of the declaration and description and who following registration is also the owner of the individual units prior to their sale.

One of the governing documents of the condominium corporation, functioning as the equivalent of its constitution. It must be filed with the description to create the condominium corporation.

A pictorial record similar to a plan of survey of the condominium setting out the boundaries of the units, common elements and exclusive use common elements. It includes architectural and structural plans, along with certificates of qualified professionals.
Destructive Testing:
Testing which causes removal or destruction of portions of the building in order to understand conditions.  Examples would include coring to remove concrete for chloride testing, brick openings to evaluate the condition of concealed ties, test pits to allow access to review buried waterproofing membranes, drywall openings to review concealed wall elements etc.  Typically a contractor is involved in these types of tests so that the disturbed materials can be reinstated.  Replacement materials generally match as well as possible, but may not be a perfect match.        

Disclosure Statement:                                   
Part of the disclosure package setting out the information that the Condominium Act requires a developer to provide to a purchaser of a new unit.

For the Human Rights Code to apply, unequal treatment must have occurred in one of the five areas listed in the Code: employment, housing, goods, services and facilities, contacts and membership in trade and vocational associations. The unequal treatment must have been based on one or more of the grounds, such as: age, race, colour, sexual orientation, etc.         

A disagreement or argument about something important.      

Exclusive Use:        
Exclusive use common elements are common elements used exclusively by one (or more) designated owners such as balconies and terraces.  In some cases, underground parking spaces are exclusive use common elements, meaning only the person assigned to that space can use it, but it is the responsibility of the Corporation to maintain the whole garage.

Financial Statements:
Documents setting out the financial position of the condominium corporation, generally including a statement of general operations (revenues and expenses), a balance sheet (assets, liabilities and surplus), a statement of changes in financial position since the previous statement and  a statement of reserve fund operations.

Fixed interest rate:            
A fixed interest rate stays the same throughout the term.

Flat Jack:                  
A jack that is flat– a mortar joint is cut out of a masonry wall and the jack inserted in the joint. The jack is then pressurized until the joint reference points across the joint are the same distance apart as they were before the mortar was cut out. The pressure needed to move the masonry back into position is a measure of the original stress in the wall

Flat Jack Testing:    
Flat jack testing is used to measure in-situ stresses within masonry walls suspected of having accumulated vertical load. The stress test works on the basic principle of stress relief: when mortar is removed from a horizontal (bed) joint, compressive stress within the masonry closes the open joint by a small amount.

Form 1:                      
Application under Section 34 of the Human Rights Code. 

Form 2:
Response to an Application under Section 34 of the Human Rights Code.

Freehold Condominium:
A type of standard condominium corporation in which the owners own the units in fee simple, as distinguished from a leasehold condominium corporation.

General Assignment:
A “general assignment” is a transfer of a right from one person to another.

General Security Agreement (GSA): 
A general security agreement, or GSA, is an agreement pursuant to which the lender takes security for a loan in all of the borrower’s property including its revenue from all sources, which for condominiums is mostly common expense payments.   

“Hearsay” Evidence:
Second hand evidence or facts not in the personal knowledge but what he or she has been told by others.        

Workplace harassment is a form of discrimination and is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It includes offensive comments or actions based on one or more of the stated grounds. 

Insurance Trust Agreement:             
An agreement by which the monies payable by an insurer under an insurance policy are paid to a third party trustee rather than to the insured, to ensure that the monies are properly applied to the loss.

The interest earned on savings in the reserve or operating fund.

Interest Rate:
The percentage applied to a principal amount for a given period to determine the cost of borrowing money. Usually stated on an annual basis, interest rates can come in different forms such as variable or fixed rates.

Joint Document Book:
A joint document book is prepared for an arbitration hearing and contains copies of the documents in the arbitration that both sides agree are important and admissible as evidence 

Leasehold Condominium Corporation:            
Type of development which permits a condominium corporation to be created on land leased from a third party for a defined number of years.

Is a right to retain possession of property until a debt due to the person detaining the property is satisfied. “Statutory liens” are liens granted and set out in statutes and legislation such as the Act.

A lender to a condominium corporation will usually require the board of directors to make a “general assignment of its assessment and lien rights” pursuant to the Act, as a remedy to be exercised by the lender in the event of default by the condominium.    

Light Level Survey:            
Light levels are measured in a parking garage to determine the existing light level, which can then be compared to minimum light levels prescribed by Property Standards by-law.

Maintenance Fees: 
A monthly payment made by each unit owner to cover the maintenance of common elements and other common expenses also known as Common Element Assessment, CEA for short.

The term Manager in the CCI materials refers to a director who has been assigned the tasks where a corporation may be self-managed, an employee of the corporation who has been hired as a Manager and or a Management Company who has been hired to deliver the services.

Mediation is a voluntary alternative dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party assists the parties in resolving their dispute. The mediator has no authority to impose a settlement, and the parties are under no obligation to reach agreement. Mediation proceedings are generally private and confidential. Mediation has been called “assisted” negotiation.       

A neutral third person specially trained to help people work together to reach a resolution to a dispute that is acceptable to everyone involved. Mediators are neutral and unbiased. They do not have the power to make decisions or impose a resolution. Their role is to ensure that the discussion is focused, organized and respectful.     

Most Likely Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement– what is the most likely alternative if we don’t come to a negotiated agreement?           

Minimum Balance:    
The value of the lowest allowable reserve fund balance, as set by the board of directors, also referred to as the “minimum balance”. This level is reached at what is known as the “critical year”. The minimum balance could be set at zero; however, most reserve fund study providers generally recommend a higher amount as a factor of safety against estimates that prove to be inaccurate, unexpected repair items becoming necessary in the future and changes legislated by Building Authorities.

Mixed Use Condominium: 
A condominium corporation or complex that consists of a combination of different uses or styles of buildings, e.g. residential and commercial or high-rise and townhouse or any combination thereof.

Lender of funds on the security of a mortgage against the property (unit).

Non-Destructive Testing:
Testing which does not cause destruction of portions of the building, but which can rather be completed without causing damage.  Examples of non-destructive testing would be temperature or humidity measurements, light level readings, thermal scans, ultrasound measurement of water flow velocity, impact echo testing of concrete slabs etc.

Notice of Future Funding of the Reserve Fund:         
The form of notice of future funding of the reserve plan prescribed pursuant to O.Reg 48/01 which includes a notice containing a summary of the corporation’s reserve fund study, summary of the proposed plan and a statement indicating the areas, if any, in which the proposed plan differs from the study.      

Is a person who owns an interest in one or more units of a condominium corporation or is the holder of a leasehold interest in a unit of a leasehold condominium corporation or the holder of a common interest in a common element condominium corporation and a freehold interest in the parcel of land to which a common interest is attached.

Owner-Occupied Unit:
A unit in a residential condominium corporation which has not been rented within 60 days prior to notice being given for a meeting.

Phased Condominium Corporation:
Type of condominium corporation with a declaration that permits expansion of the condominium corporations to be built in phases and collapsed into one condominium corporation on completion.

Performance Audit:
A performance audit is performed to identify deficiencies, potential major repairs, and identify short and/or long-term liabilities associated with the operation of the property.  Checks are done to ensure compliance with applicable codes, standards, regulations, warranties and guarantees, to identify building occupant environmental and safety issues, to develop credibility and confidence in the operation for the benefit of the owners and investors, and to create a record for future reference and/or claim(s) for corrective action. In the first year of operation, it is a requirement for the Corporation to engage the services of independent Professional Engineers or Professional Architects to perform the performance audit. The audit would be completed and filed with Tarion before the Corporation's first year anniversary date of registration.

Performance Bond:
A financial guarantee that the contractor will complete a project in accordance with the specifications and drawings.          

Used to determine the depth of carbonation. This test is used to indicate pH values lower than 10. This test may be performed on drilled powder or core samples.

Parcel of Tied Land means the parcel of land owned by an owner who also has an interest in a Common Element Condominium. (CEC).

PPSA Registration:
A PPSA Registration is a requirement pursuant to most General Security Agreements. It allows people to register a security interest against personal property to secure payment or performance of an obligation”. A PPSA registration creates a priority ranking between people with competing claims over a borrower’s property in a similar way that a mortgage creates a priority with respect to security over real property.

The amount of money loaned on which interest accrues.

Promissory Note:    
A legal document pursuant to which a borrower promises to pay back money in accordance with the terms of the note.

Property Manager:  
An individual or company that is hired by a condominium corporation to manage the condominium corporation under the direction of a board of directors.

The minimum number of people required in person or by proxy to attend a meeting for the meeting to be validly constitutes and to transact business.

Real Rate of Return:
The difference between inflation and interest and is the more important value than the absolute values of either variable.

Reciprocal Agreements:
See cost-sharing agreements.

The filing of documents in the land Registry Office.

Requisition for a Meeting: 
A request signed by 15% of the owners of all the units entitles to vote requesting that the board call a meeting to deal with the matters set out in the requisition.

Reserve Fund:
The condominium corporation must establish and maintain at least one reserve fund, although the corporation can have more than one. The reserve fund can be spent solely for the purpose of major repair and replacement of the common elements and assets of the corporation. The corporation collects contributions from the owners as a part of the owners’ contributions to the common expenses.

Reserve Fund Study:
A study that is performed to ensure that a proper level of contributions is collected from owners to cover future major repairs and replacement.  A reserve fund study will include a thorough inspection, by qualified persons, of the common element areas, and dialogue with the Board of Directors and Property Management.

One of the governing documents of a condominium corporation, passed by the board of directors and generally relating to the use to be made of the common elements and units by owners, tenants and others.

The required procedure under the Condominium Act, for giving a document to another person, e.g. by personal delivery, by mail, by fax, email etc.; different forms of service may be prescribed for different situations.

Service Life:
Life expectancies are estimates based on observations of the performance of similar materials systems or components at other buildings, available literature and/or recommendations made by manufacturers or suppliers.
Two factors when considering the timing of future repairs or replacements:

  1. Time to the first occurrence is an estimate of when the work will be required. This estimate is based on the apparent condition of the item and may not be the time remaining in the standard estimated life cycle.
  2. Life cycle is the frequency at which the repair or replacement is normally expected to be required. The time cycle following a repair or replacement may be different from the original service life as a result of changes in the materials or equipment employed, and changes in technology.         

Shared Facilities: 
Those portions of two or more condominium corporations which are either jointly owned or jointly shared and for which there is be an agreement for sharing costs.

Sounding Survey Chain Drag:  
Steel chains are dragged over the surface of the slab to detect delaminations (see Figure below). Delaminations sound hollow. The areas sounding hollow are measured to determine the present extent of physical damage. The results obtained must be carefully interpreted. An existing water-proofing topping can debond from the membrane, or the membrane system can debond from the concrete slab; either condition will produce a hollow sound. Hollow sounding areas associated with the waterproofing do not represent structural damage.

Sounding Survey:
Hammer Tapping or Rod Sounding:
Vertical surfaces such as columns are hammer sounded to detect areas of delaminated concrete. In parking garages, the bases of columns or walls are usually targeted for such sounding surveys. Soffits of suspended parking slabs or ramps are sounded with rods to detect delaminated concrete.

Special Assessment:
A fee paid by all owners to cover extraordinary expenditures for when the corporation does not have sufficient funds.

Special Meeting:
A meeting of the condominium corporation called by either the board of directors or by any one entitled to call the meeting if the board fails to do so.

Standard Unit: 
Defines what will be considered part of a unit and what will be considered an improvement for insurance purposes.

Status Certificate:
A written statement that prospective purchasers of a resale unit should request, which contains pertinent information that may influence the closing of a real estate or financing transaction.

Created by the government of Ontario to administer the Ontario New Home Warranty Plan Act. Its primary purpose is to protect consumers of new homes by ensuring that builders abide by the provincial legislation. It is financed entirely by builder registration, renewal and home enrollment fees.

The term in relation to a loan is the period of time in which the borrower has to pay back the loan amount.

Term Sheet:
A document setting out the basic terms of the loan including the principal, term, interest rate, amortization period, and compounding as well as any specific conditions and obligations of the particular loan.           
Test Pits:
Where the top of a slab is covered by backfill, test pits help to evaluate the extent of overburden and the presence of any waterproofing. It is not feasible within the scope of this survey to expose large areas of the slab, but the type and condition of small samples of the waterproofing is used to decide what work would appear to be warranted. Further investigation is usually required if more specific information about the condition of the slab is required.

Thermographic Scans for Cladding:
A thermographic camera views variations in surface temperature. Rather than the visible light spectrum, the camera senses infra-red radiation. This non-destructive test identifies areas that are warmer (brighter) or colder (darker) in comparison with adjacent areas. The variations can arise from problems that may include: missing or poor insulation, thermal bridges, air leakage, or entrapped moisture. A thermographic scan of a building enclosure is typically undertaken in winter months when there is a temperature differential between the interior and exterior of at least 20oC. Thermographic scans are completed at night to avoid thermal images being influenced by variations in solar gain. Low wind speed is also desired to reduce risk for cooling that might act to conceal problems.

Thermographic Scans for Roofing:
As explained above (see Thermographic Scans for Cladding), this non-destructive test effectively identifies areas that are warmer (brighter) or colder (darker) in comparison with adjacent areas. Thermographic scans of roofs are primarily employed to check for water having penetrated and collected within the insulation and/or waterproofing membrane. By locating areas that have become wet from water ingress, local repairs can be implemented prior to ongoing saturation leading to the need for greater replacement or complete re-roofing. These scans are only effective for roof systems where the membrane is exposed on the surface. It is not useful to scan systems where the membrane is located below the insulation and ballast.
Turnover Meeting:  
A meeting which must be called by the developer of a condominium corporation at a time fixed by the Condominium Act and at which the developer is required to give documents which the Act states must be given to the corporation; additional documents must be delivered 30 and 60 days after the turnover meeting.

The part of the property designated as a unit by the description and the space enclosed by its boundaries and all the land, structures and fixtures within this space in accordance with the declaration and description.

Vacant Land Condominium Corporation: 
Type of development in which one or more units consist of vacant land with no part of a building or structure at the time of the registration. Once construction is complete, the land and the structure become the unit.

Variable Interest Rate:
A variable interest rate is normally tied to the prime rate set by the Bank of Canada or chartered bank. If the prime rate set by the Bank of Canada goes up, lenders will usually increase their variable interest rates, and conversely if the prime rate goes down lenders will usually decrease their interest rates. While variable interest rates are generally tied to the Bank of Canada prime rate, lenders may differ in how much or how little they adjust their variable interest rates to reflect changes to the prime interest rate.   

Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement– what is the worst I can expect if we don’t come to a negotiated agreement?          

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada’s national hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are cautionary labeling of containers of WHMIS “controlled products”, the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and worker education and training programs (for more information, visit           

WHMIS 2015:           

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) promote workplace health and safety, and administers the workers’ compensation system for the employers and workers of Ontario. There is extensive information on this site about prevention, forms, health issues, return to work programs, and links to other health and safety organizations (for more information, visit