CCI Toronto News

March 23, 2020 - CCI Toronto News

COVID-19 and Essential Services for Condominium Corporations

Guidance and Assistance to Needed for Multi-Residential Buildings

Dear Premier Ford,

The Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 that deals exclusively with condominium issues affecting the ever-growing condominium market in Canada. CCI has seventeen chapters across the nation, including eight very active chapters within Ontario which collectively represent well in excess of 250,000 units.

As an active contributor to the amendments to Ontario’s condominium legislation and regulations over the decades, several of our Directors have participated in various stakeholder groups during public consultations and have also served on expert panels established by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

CCI has, as such, been tasked with communicating with the Ontario Ministry of Health with respect to COVID-19 issues in the condominium environment.

Multi-residential buildings, whether they are low-rise or high-rise, and whether they are condominiums or rental units, are akin to “vertical cruise ships” and should be given special consideration by public health officials. Like cruise ships, these buildings share ventilation systems and have shared common elements that are used by all residents. These communities are in need of specialized guidance and appropriate safety protocols to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. CCI is requesting that the Ministry provide guidance and assistance to these communities, generally and in situations where a resident is confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus.

With residents encouraged or mandated to stay at home, residents must continue to live together in close proximity. Unlike commercial buildings, residents cannot avoid their residential units, and in fact, are isolated and/or quarantined in same.

In order to protect the residents, these buildings must continue to operate. As more and more businesses are required to close, the condominium managers and front-line workers in the buildings (superintendents, cleaning staff and security guards) must continue to work in these buildings to ensure the safety of the residents. It will continue to be necessary to complete
emergency repairs, respond to emergency situations and, most importantly, to ensure ongoing maintenance and sanitization. The operation of a multi-residential building can be compared to operating a small town and it is our view that the work done by managers and front-line workers is necessary for the safety or security of the public. As such, CCI asks the Ministry to deem these services as essential services and provide these workers with appropriate safety protocols so that this work can continue, and the safety of the community and the workers are ensured.

Special consideration must also be given to sanitization practices and the availability of products; for example, ensuring that these buildings have an adequate supply of hand sanitizers in public areas and appropriate cleaning materials and protocols available as well as ensuring that workers have access to appropriate personal protective equipment. There may also need to be financial assistance with costs associated with sanitization whether or not there is a confirmed case of COVID-19. We ask that the Ministry give specific consideration to the steps and supplies needed to prevent an outbreak spreading throughout a multi-residential building, as we have seen in cruise ships.

We ask that the Ministry of Health consider the special circumstances surrounding multi-unit buildings and take the following steps:

1. Provide specific guidance and assistance to these communities in situations where a resident is confirmed to have COVID-19;
2. Deem that the services required to operate and manage multi-unit residential buildings are able to continue and provide workers with appropriate safety protocols and personal protective equipment;
3. Ensure multi-unit residential buildings have an adequate supply of products and appropriate cleaning protocols in place to minimize the risk of an outbreak; and
4. Provide financial assistance to multi-unit buildings to ensure proper sanitization occurs to prevent COVID-19 spreading throughout the building and into the community.

We all need to continue to work together to ensure the continued safety of all residents within these communities and address these unique challenges.]

Yours very truly,

Per: Armand Conant, CCI Ontario Legislative Committee Chair

c.c. Hon. Christine Elliott, Minister of Health

Click here to view or download the full letter