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STONEWALLING raises Q : is Ontario’s Tribunal seen POWERLESS ? RICE v P.C.C. # 9 2020/12/13 17:10  
Not legal advice,as usual

THREE MONTHS after a Mississauga condo owner’s FUTILE simple BUT IGNORED CORE record request ( singular, with proven follow-ups for such owners list ) , an ONCAT Ontario Condominium Authority Tribunal member has ordered the requested OWNERS LIST produced in 30 days.

It also awarded a token $ 650. against the withholders. That token award may only partially cover the fee of the Applicant’s agent.

The decision details that absolutely correct procedural steps are held were followed by the ignored records requester including procedural exactitude & proven deliveries.

Should an OWNERS LIST request get stonewalled in late 2020 ?

The Tribunal process has for some time been interpreting the Ontario legislation to require AT NO CHARGE the release of a digitized OWNERS LIST as a “core record” . A nominal charge may be applicable for an un-digitized version.

But one would be gob-smacked to be told that in 2020 this 3 month refusal looks like anything but defiant circling of the wagons against shareholders lawfully contacting each other for lawful purposes.

The ONCAT record production Order is accompanied by only the token award. BUT ALSO CITED is one biggy :

that TRIBUNAL STAFF PERSONALLY FOLLOWED UP the stonewalling at the site with the PERSONALLY IDENTIFIED PRINCIPAL of one of Ontario’s best known family property management companies .

AND ALSO personally with the IDENTIFIED onsite PROPERTY MANAGER employed by such company

In fairness, one has a limited power over current clients who ignore one’s professional counsel. Seen that myself. BUT whether to continue such service of course is a different issue . . . .

Did the stonewallin' continue ? ( and has someone discovered that civil court registration of an ONCAT Order could platform contempt proceedings against non-compliers ? )

No record released. No reply to the requester nor Tribunal staff. No participation. But at the Tribunal ( ex parte ) process‘ 11th hour the client withholdin' condo corporation - without expressed grounds of justification - without attendance - somehow asked the Tribunal to allow it to now raise a defence !

Claimed it never received the proven deliveries ! Nor been 'follow-upped' !

This latest arrives amidst Ontario’s Auditor General raising some pointed questions about consumer rights of condominium owners. Although there gets raised the still- NON-IMPLEMENTED status of ( Ontario ) condo law legislative amendments, there's the 2012-15 consultation process & leadup itself. Just how surprised should one be about the outcomes, given SOME of those selected upfront to remind legislators that owners are in the mix. Who were right upfront "at the table" to distinctly protect property & civil rights of condo owners ? Of course, whether the Legislature even listened & to whom, are further issues too.

( And may the Gods help us all out here in the wild & whacky non-condo Building Scheme universe ! Even judicial intervention may make things wilder for us . . . . )

For such absolutely simple but arguably stonewalled record denial with minimal token consequence, does this indicate that ONCAT is seen as powerless ?

Or at least seen thus including by some condo corporations ? And even detected thus by Ontario’s Auditor General ?

Rice v P.C.C # 9 2020 ONCAT issued Dec 10/20
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cheaper to stonewall 2020/12/25 18:08  
Not legal advice, as usual.

Cost-savings reported chosen by some condo corporations by stone-walling ( records withholding ) tribunal dialogues at ONCAT. ( shouldn't forget of course that the odd award has been $ 5 K and that adjudications can be made enforceable as court orders )

* One Toronto lawyer's recent review of the Ontario Auditor General's report on Condominium Oversight ( )

The Toronto lawyer argues that SOME condo corporations' participatory boycotts could be lessened by awarding 'winners' costs adequate to cover legal / paralegal fees. That empowering awards for representation by counsel would constitute "levelling the playing field"

A first problem with this : whether sorta like levelling the playing field by carrying guns ? Or letting wealthy-enough amateur hockey league teams - IF able to afford such - to hire & bulk up playoff roster with NHL players . . . )

So THAT would level the playing field ? ?

Yes, perhaps if BOTH tribunal parties could afford professional counsel, the dialogue could be better-conducted. But of course only one party has access to general condo revenues & insider information. Imbalances of power do not usually encourage the more powerful to play fair with the less powerful, nor widening the power imbalance.

Secondly : perfect or imperfect, the Legislature has made its valid choice to set up a summary ADR mediation forum which in some cases may have to be followed by a specialty adjudicator's summary decision. It's a valid legislative choice for simplicity, not formal civil procedure.

Things likely get edgier when jurisdiction enlarges from records-access, but the goal could be seen as simple & cheap.

Respectfully, that's more credibly what's been seen as the better "leveller".

But there's a lot of good argument within the article.

* Dec 10/20 “With All Due Respect To The Auditor General... Democracy Is Messy, Managers Should Be Paid More, Leveling the Playing Field Means Awarding Costs to Either Side, and the Silent Majority of Condos Are Doing OK” by lawyer Victor Yee ( Elia & Associates )
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