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Charlene Aquilina v Middlesex Standard Condominium Corporation No. 823 - 2019 ONCAT 21 - 2019-06-20

Corporation:

CAMSCC 823

Date:

2019-07-09

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Access to Records
Entitlement to Records
Fees, Costs, Penalties

Summary:

In the case of Charlene Aquilina v Middlesex Standard Condominium Corporation No. 823, the applicant sought unredacted copies of records related to the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the condominium corporation. The condominium corporation agreed to provide the requested records but insisted on redacting information that might identify other unit owners. The applicant objected to the proposed redactions and sought a penalty for the delay in obtaining the records. The decision clarified that the corporation was obligated to redact information to protect the privacy of unit owners and that the tribunal could not direct the release of unredacted records. The applicant was given the option to pay for the redacted records, but no penalty or costs were awarded.

Verdict:

The case Charlene Aquilina v Middlesex Standard Condominium Corporation No. 823 highlights that under the Condominium Act, 1998, condominium corporations are required to redact information that might identify specific unit owners or units when providing records to owners, even when there are allegations of misconduct or irregularities. This decision clarifies that an owner's request for unredacted records must be subject to privacy protections, and the costs associated with producing such redacted records can be reasonable but are at the discretion of the condominium corporation. Additionally, abusive or unacceptable conduct during the proceedings may not warrant a cost award against the self-represented applicant.




Takeaways:

The case involved a dispute over an owner's request for unredacted records related to a condominium's Annual General Meeting (AGM). The condominium corporation was willing to provide the records but insisted on redacting information to protect the privacy of other unit owners.

The decision clarified that under the Condominium Act, 1998 and its regulations, condominium corporations are obliged to redact information that could identify specific units or unit owners when providing records to owners.

The applicant's argument that the redactions would render the records useless was not upheld, as privacy protections take precedence.

The tribunal concluded that the applicant should have the option to pay for redacted records or decline them altogether.

No penalty or costs were awarded to either party, and the condominium corporation's claimed production costs for redacted records were deemed reasonable.

Recommendations: 

Compliance with Privacy Regulations: Condominium corporations and similar entities should ensure they are fully compliant with the privacy regulations and laws in their jurisdiction. In this case, MSCC823 was required to redact information to protect the privacy of unit owners. Compliance with such regulations is essential to avoid disputes and legal actions.

Communication and Education: Both parties in disputes should encourage effective communication and educate self-represented applicants about relevant laws and regulations. Providing relevant legal references and resources, as was done in this case with the provision of the Janet Cangiano decision, can help self-represented individuals better understand the legal context of their claims.

Consider Alternatives to Legal Action: Parties involved in disputes should explore alternative dispute resolution methods before pursuing costly legal proceedings. In this case, it was noted that there might have been other options for the applicant to obtain the information she sought, potentially avoiding a formal hearing. Encouraging parties to explore less adversarial methods can save time and resources for all parties involved.

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