Glossary of Terms

Accommodation

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

 

ADR

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.

 

Amalgamation

The combining of one or more standard condominium corporations.

 

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.

 

Arbitration

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.

 

Arbitrator

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

 

Auditor

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.

 

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.

 

Bylaw

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.

 

Cash Flow Table

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

 

CCDC

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.

 

Charge/Mortgage

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.

 

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.

 

Condominium Act, 1998

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

 

Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO)

The CAO is a non-profit organization with responsibilities outlined under the Condominium Act, 1998. Its role is to support condo living by providing services and resources for condominium communities, including an online public registry, mandatory training for condo directors and an online dispute resolution service.

 

Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT)

The CAT is part of the CAO. The Tribunal is dedicated to resolving condominium disputes. It is fully online and helps everyone to solve disputes conveniently, quickly and affordably.

 

Condominium

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.

 

Condominium Conversion

When a condominium is not completely built new, but rather when part of the structure is converted from an existing structure such as a warehouse, church or a commercial use building.

 

Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO)

The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) is a self-funded non-profit corporation that is accountable to the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS). As a regulatory body providing oversight of condo managers and management companies, the CMRAO helps to protect consumers in Ontario's condominium industry.

 

Condominium Manager

A person who possesses a license by the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario and who is hired by the condominium corporation to oversee the day to day affairs of the corporation.

 

Conflict

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

 

Corporation

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.

 

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.

 

Declarant

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.

 

Declaration

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.

 

Description

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.

 

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.

 

Discrimination

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.

 

Dispute

A disagreement or argument about something important.

 

Exclusive Use Common Elements

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.

 

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.

 

Governing Documents

These consist of the condo corporations Declaration, By-laws and Rules.

 

Workplace Harassment

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.

 

Information Certificate Updates (ICUs)

The ICU is a prescribed form available on the Ontario website. The information certificate updates will provide information to the owners when certain "triggering events" occur such as changes to the corporation's mailing or email addresses, a change in directors or loss of director quorum, a change in the manager or management company, a change in the insurance policy deductible or loss of insurance. The timeframe required to send an ICU depends upon the event which has changed.

 

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.

 

Lien

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.

 

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.

 

Mediation

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.

 

Mediator

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.

 

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.

 

Mortgagee

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

 

New Owner Information Certificate (NOIC)

The NOIC is a prescribed form which must be sent within 30 days of an owner notifying the condominium of their ownership The new owner information certificate contains the name of the condominium, the date it is prepared, and any information required by the condominium's by-law. The NOIC also includes copies of the most recent PIC and any ICUs sent after the PIC was sent to the owners.

 

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.

 

Owner

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.

 

Periodic Information Certificate (PIC)

The PIC is a prescribed form, available on the Ontario website. The PIC must be sent out within 60 days of the last day of the condominium's first and third quarters. The PIC could also be sent with the AGM notice. The periodic information certificate will provide owners with valuable information about the condominium, including general information about the directors, insurance policy details, financial information, legal actions or judgements, Tarion claims, disclosure statements as well as other information required by the corporation's by-laws.

 

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.

 

POTL

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

 

Quorum

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.

 

Reciprocal Agreements

See cost-sharing agreements.

 

Registration

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

A reserve fund is a savings account or other highly liquid asset set aside by a condominium corporation for major repairs or replacements of the common elements. 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.

 

Rule

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.

 

Service

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.

 

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.

 

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 By-law

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.

 

Tarion

Tarion is a regulatory body established 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.

 

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.

 

Unit

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.

 

WHMIS 

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 www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/index-eng.php).