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Robinson v. Durham Condominium Corporation No. 139 - 2021 ONCAT 81 - 2021-08-30

Corporation:

RDCC 139

Date:

2021-08-30

Under:

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

Summary:

In this case, the applicant requested records from Durham Condominium Corporation No 139, which included minutes of board meetings. The respondent failed to disclose that certain portions of the board minutes were being withheld as in-camera minutes. The applicant argued that the respondent refused to provide the records without a reasonable excuse. The tribunal found that the respondent did not disclose the existence of in-camera minutes or provide a sufficient explanation for not providing complete board minutes. As a result, the tribunal ruled in favor of the applicant, awarding a penalty of $1000 and directing the respondent to review and provide a written explanation for the redactions made in the in-camera minutes.

Verdict:

The tribunal ruled in favor of the applicant in the case of Robinson v Durham Condominium Corporation No 139, finding that the respondent failed to provide complete board minutes and did not disclose the existence of in-camera minutes when requested. As a result, the tribunal awarded a penalty of $1000 and directed the respondent to review and provide a written explanation for the redactions made in the in-camera minutes. The lesson to be learned is that condominium corporations are required to provide complete and accurate records to unit owners upon request, including disclosing any in-camera minutes or redactions made and providing a written explanation for each redaction made.

Takeaways:

Failure to disclose in-camera minutes: The respondent, Durham Condominium Corporation No 139, did not disclose the existence of in-camera minutes to the applicant when providing board minutes. The tribunal found that the respondent intentionally withheld portions of the board minutes and did not provide a reasonable excuse for doing so, leading to a refusal to provide records.

Lack of accompanying written explanation: The applicant raised concerns about redactions made in the in-camera minutes and the lack of an accompanying written explanation for each redaction, as required by the Condominium Act 1998. The tribunal directed the respondent to review the redactions and provide a written explanation for each redaction made in the September 24, 2020, and December 10, 2020, in-camera minutes.

No failure to provide requested records: The tribunal determined that the requested records were provided to the applicant, and there was no failure to provide records. However, the respondent's failure to disclose the existence of in-camera minutes and provide a complete set of board minutes constituted a refusal to provide records without a reasonable excuse.

Recommendations: 

Improve transparency in record disclosure: Condominium corporations should ensure that they disclose all relevant records, including in camera minutes, when responding to requests from unit owners. It is important to clearly identify the existence of in camera minutes and any redactions made, and provide a written explanation for each redaction, as required by the Condominium Act 1998. This will enhance transparency and accountability in record disclosure processes.

Enhance communication with unit owners: Condominium corporations should strive to maintain clear and open communication with unit owners regarding requested records. It is important to promptly respond to inquiries and provide complete and accurate information about the availability of board minutes or any other requested records. Owners should not have to file a case with the tribunal to obtain the necessary records.

Adhere to regulatory requirements: Condominium corporations need to ensure compliance with the Condominium Act 1998, including the provisions related to record disclosure. This includes properly identifying and exempting any information that falls under the permitted exceptions, adhering to redaction requirements, and providing accompanying written explanations for each redacted portion. Adhering to regulatory requirements will help prevent disputes and penalties related to record disclosure.

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