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Participate in Survey by Nov 22: Condo Dispute Resolution Tribunal Development

Thursday, November 05, 2020 1:57 PM | Kristy Rhyason (Administrator)

Interested ADRIA members are invited and encouraged to participate in a Government of Alberta (GOA) online public survey that is gathering input on a condominium dispute resolution tribunal.  This survey is part of regulatory development work under the 2014 Condominium Property Amendment Act (CPAA). 

In Canada, the provinces of Ontario, B.C., and Nova Scotia operate condominium tribunals.  In Alberta, the only method available for resolving condominium-related disputes is through the court system.  A dispute resolution authority will provide access to affordable and efficient dispute resolution for condominium issues while helping relieve the backlog in Alberta‚Äôs court system. 

ADRIA has been consulted on this issue, by both the GOA and the condominium owners community.  As part of its ADR advocacy efforts, ADRIA will be submitting written responses to the GOA in the weeks ahead.  For ADRIA members that choose to participate in this survey, you may find that reading through the following points and ADRIA draft positions will assist you (although in no way are these views binding on any individual ADRIA member). You can also read theGOA Discussion Guide andSurvey questions in text form.

  • ADRIA is supportive of a progressive condominium dispute resolution process that commences with negotiation and mediation, and concludes with an evaluative tribunal process if still required.
  • When self-identifying at Question 1 of the survey, ADRIA members may wish to identify their point of view as "Business / Industry Association".  There may well be another category that better represents your point of view, but be aware that selecting some categories (such as "Other") will prompt the collection of demographic information including age range and postal code.
  • Although not covered in the survey, ADRIA supports the establishment of an independent body to administer the condo dispute resolution process - either an arms-length body or a delegated organization, as described in the GOA Discussion Guide.  ADRIA does not support combining these functions with those of the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS).
  • Also not fully covered in the survey, frequent GOA references to this initiative as a "Tribunal", and not as a progressive dispute resolution process or authority, will hinder early interest-based resolution efforts.  Language is important, as are how we refer to the body that ultimately emerges from this public consultation process.  ADRIA members are encouraged to make this point in their online commentaries.
  • ADRIA supports the GOA's recommended three-stage dispute resolution process, which includes mandatory negotiation and mediation stages.  ADRIA has noted, and the GOA acknowledges, that the negotiation stage is poorly defined at this point, but most agree that an early opportunity for register and formalize a dispute can open opportunities for negotiation, resources and education.  Not surprisingly, several law firms involved in condo dispute resolution have advocated for waiver or bypass options to avoid the mediation stage.  ADRIA believes that condo disputes will benefit greatly from a mandatory mediation stage, as tribunal decisions will typically be Win/Lose and will not address the underlying relationship issues that will continue to challenge the parties who must continue to co-exist in their condo community.
  • ADRIA believes that fees for the negotiation and mediation stages should be as low as possible, and only imposed as the parties progress through the stages.  Fees to access the tribunal should be higher, and act as an incentive to resolve the dispute at the earlier stages.
  • ADRIA generally endorses the proposed funding model, although questions why the assessment fees on condo owners would be so high.  Whichever funding model is adopted, it should serve to deliver and prioritize low-cost access to resources, training, facilitators and mediators.  The tribunal should be viewed as the "court of last resort", as it will be least able to resolve the underlying relationship issues.
  • ADRIA supports the public disclosure of tribunal decisions only, as these will serve to provide valuable public education, AND serve as a powerful incentive to settle the dispute early through negotiation or mediation.  Mediated outcomes should be confidential, although the outcomes could be rendered anonymous and grouped into themes - again for public education purposes which could serve to avert similar disputes in the future.
  • ADRIA supports the broadest possible jurisdiction for the acceptance and resolution of disputes that impact condominium communities.  There will be exceptions, of course, and some procedures will be required to vet out frivolous or vexatious complaints.  ADRIA also believes that all three stages can be delivered through both online and in-person interactions.

You can provide your feedback to the survey online by November 22, 2020. 

If you have any questions about the survey or if you are unable to access it online, please contact project team by email at SA.condotribunalengagement@gov.ab.ca.  You can also submit additional inputs through the same email address. If you have concerns about ADRIA's draft position statement, please contact the Executive Director at paul@adralberta.com



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