top of page

Incivility and Harassment in Condos: Exploring Existing Measures, Including The Condominium Authority Tribunal (The CAT), Legal Deterrence, + Policy Creation (Free Templates; Pt. 3 of 6)

a gavel on a desk with a caption of the blog title across it: Harassment in Condos

To tackle the topic of incivility and harassment in condos, our first two articles in this series dealt with what harassment and violence is, and how this troubling trend is causing the current state of the industry (with a particular focus on the impact to property management). Even before diving into details, we all already know it’s bad… but what can we do about it right now? Can the Condominium Authority Tribunal (The CAT) help, is there any legal deterrence available, and are there any existing proactive measures, such as policy creation, that can help property management companies, condo managers, board members, condo vendors, and condo residents tackle this troubling trend, together?


How does harassment in condos (and violence) affect us all, and what’s already in place to help Condoland citizens stay safe?




 

Exploring Existing Measures Against Incivility and Harassment in Condos



Legal Deterrence + Proceedings:

Compliance Letters + The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)


Of course, when thinking about harassment in condos, the first thing to come to mind is usually legal deterrence and proceedings. While neither the perfect, nor one-size-fits-all solution (yet) exists, there are already mechanisms with the intention to protect staff (property management companies, condo managers, corporation staff, and condo vendors), board members, and condo residents against continued harassment and violence in their workplace and/or living spaces.


Deborah Howden (Condo Lawyer and Partner at Shibley Righton LLP) explains: “compliance letters from our offices requiring the abuse to stop are often sufficient to end the harassing behaviour. Where this is not the case, we have to escalate the matter to the courts and obtain an order. That typically resolves any lingering misbehaviour, though sometimes further steps are necessary”. 


Furthermore, there are provisions in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). “That legislation protects workers and applies to supervisors, employers and workplaces in Ontario. Under the OHSA, a ‘worker’ is a ‘person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation’”, Howden (who also specializes in Employment Law) states, before also noting that because “condominium directors do not typically receive monetary compensation, they are excluded from the worker protections under that legislation” (more on this later).


Are you dealing with harassment or violence in your condo, and need a lawyer’s advice? You can find a condo lawyer on Stratastic’s vendor directory, “My Condo Vendor”, or a variety of lawyers via the Law Society of Ontario!



The Condominium Authority Tribunal (The CAT)


Thankfully, there is a government-appointed branch that may be able to assist Board Members and Condo managers (as well as property management companies, other staff or condo vendors, and condo residents) deal with harassment violence in their condos in a quicker, more effective, and budget-conscious manner.



The Condominium Authority of Ontario (The CAO) Extends Authority to The Condominium Authority Tribunal to Deal with Harassment


The Condominium Authority Tribunal (also known as The CAT) has recently expanded its reach to include harassment following the shocking shooting of Directors and their families at a luxury condo in Vaughan (December 2023), and is now in a position to deal with issues of harassment in condos. However, there is one important caveat: the corporation must have harassment provisions in its governing documents (such as in its rules) for the issue to clearly fall within The CAT’s jurisdiction. 


Next, let’s look at an important CAT case that explores harassment in condos, before we dive into how the CAO and CAT are further helping condo communities tackle harassment in condos.



The Condominium Authority Tribunal (The CAT) Recent Case Explores Harassment in Condos:

York Condominium Corporation No.444 v. Ryan (“Ryan”)


A recent case (York Condominium Corporation No.444 v. Ryan (“Ryan”)) before The Condominium Authority Tribunal, or The CAT,  explored whether section 117(1) of The Act can be relied on to treat harassment as a nuisance, annoyance, or disruption.


“The amendments of section 117 and the addition of regulation 179/17, which established the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to deal with certain nuisances, annoyances, or disruptions, have created a potential overlap between the conduct addressed in sections 117 (1) and 117 (2) of the Act. Considering harassment in particular, it can be both a tactic or form of conduct and it can also be an end. For example, a person may attempt to harass by engaging in conduct that is a nuisance or annoyance or disruption. In that case, if the conduct falls within subsection 117 (2) or subsection 1 (1) of Regulation 179/17, then the Tribunal would have jurisdiction over the dispute. Looking at the wording of the two subsections, the dividing line is the likelihood of physical injury, illness or damage to property. Subsection 117 (1) is designed to deal with conditions and conduct that are likely to have more serious consequences than a nuisance, annoyance or disruption” (Natalia Polis, Condo Lawyer at Lash Condo Law LLP).



The Condominium Authority of Ontario (The CAO):

Sample Anti-Harassment Rule


Unfortunately, few corporations have an Anti-Harassment Rule, so the CAO proactively stepped in to make the process of creating such a rule easier by sharing a sample “Anti-Harassment Rule”. This rule was “designed to support condo corporations in Ontario with establishing clear, consistent, and transparent processes for addressing the prevention, preparedness, and response to harassment in their condo community”. Once the condo corporation has adopted this rule, the Condominium Authority Tribunal can step in to help property management companies, condo managers, and board members enforce the rule against anyone who disregards it.



The Importance for Corporations to Create and Implement Clear Rules Against Harassment In Condos

(+ FREE TEMPLATES)


Ultimately, it’s important for all condo corporations to create clear rules against harassment and violence in order for all condo residents, board members, and staff to understand what is expected of them and their comportment. Nicholas Chirametli (President at City Sites Property Management) stresses this point: “all Corporations should pass a workplace harassment policy, as well as assisting the Condo Manager in enforcing these Respect in the Workplace policies. This would require the Corporation at large to address any harassment or violence directed towards employees and representatives of the condominium, including the Condo Manager as well as any individual at the property”.


For condos without such a provision in their existing governing documents, it may be a relief to know that creating and implementing an Anti-Harassment Rule is a straight-forward process. It’s also more crucial than ever before for staff and the resident community. Condo Boards can quickly and easily achieve this by collaborating with their condo manager, property management company, and corporation’s counsel.


If you’re a condo manager or board member in need of a lawyer’s advice to draft, implement, or enforce an Anti-Harassment Rule within your condo community, you can find a condo lawyer on Stratastic’s vendor directory, , “My Condo Vendor”!



FREE TEMPLATES: Anti-Harassment Rule + Condo Resident Education

To make it even easier for every Ontario condo to implement an Anti-Harassment Rule and ensure that residents are aware of the corporation’s expectations, Stratastic has created the following easy-to-use templates that are free to download, customize, and use:



papers on desk for proposed condo rule: Anti-Harassment Rule for Condos
blue sign on cream background: Zero Tolerance for Harassment in Condos.



Creating + Implementing an Anti-Harassment Rule in Your Condo Corporation:
A Quick Procedural Overview

Typically, the process for creating and implementing an Anti-Harassment Rule looks like this:

  1. An Anti-Harassment Rule is drafted and approved by the Board at a Board Meeting.

  2. Once passed by the Board, the Anti-Harassment Rule must be distributed to all owners. According to the CAO, the owners must receive: “a copy of the change, the date the board is suggesting the rule become effective, a reminder that owners have the right to requisition an owner’s meeting about the rule, and that the rule will become effective 30 days after the notice unless a meeting is requisitioned, [and] a copy of section 45 and section 58 of The Condo Act, which cover owner requisitioned meetings”. 

  3. The owners have 30 days to challenge this Rule, using the appropriate process to Requisition a Meeting. 

  4. If the Owners do not challenge the proposed Rule (or the owner requisitioned meeting is not successful), it automatically passes after 30 days and the corporation officially adopts the Anti-Harassment Rule.


 

How Can Condo Managers, Property Management Companies, and Board Members Do More to Tackle and Prevent Harassment in Condos?


To recap, there are already existing measures in place that may help condo managers and property management companies, board members, other corporation staff and condo vendors, and condo residents stop harassment from happening - unfortunately, most of these can only be used after the behaviour has occurred. Passing an Anti-Harassment Rule may help prevent harassment to a degree, as residents will know what will, and won’t, be acceptable comportment. Ultimately, it's important to understand that protecting workers and residents from harassment in condos falls within the condo board roles and responsibilities (Directors, take heed!)


But what are other ways that we can be even more proactive and actually prevent harassment in condos from happening right from thievery  start? We’ll tackle this topic in our next post of the series on incivility in condos, so stay tuned!

-Stratastic Inc.


P.S. Being proactive and investing in prevention is key, so don’t miss out on our upcoming posts! Register now and be the first to get resources such as these delivered straight to your inbox.

Comments


bottom of page