Condominium Act Dispute Resolution

In Ontario, Canada most disputes related to condominiums are required to be mediated and then if not settled are required to go to arbitration. We are expecting changes to come to the Condominium Act soon with a major overhaul but those changes are not fully known yet. Bill 106 to amend the Act has been introduced but it is not clear yet how mediation and arbitration will change once it becomes law and is implemented.

Here we explain the dispute resolution provisions that apply to Ontario’s condominiums under the Condominium Act of 1998 which became law in Ontario in 2001 and remains the law in 2015. Since the 1998 act, the condominium lifestyle has become more prevalent and the number of condominiums has multiplied. The existing Condominium Act provides for mandatory mediation and arbitration of most condominium disputes but the court has a major role in dispute resolution which is very significant as set out in most of the applicable sections.

Part 9  of the Condominium Act covers enforcement and remedies available in condominium dispute resolution. The following are the major provisions from each section of Part 9:

Section 130 The court has power to appoint an inspector to investigate and audit the actions of a condominium developer or corporation. The inspector makes a report and the court may act on the finding and recommendations.

Section 131 allows the court to appoint a condominium administrator to take over from the condominium corporation board if that is in the best interests of the owners.

Section 132 is the key ADR section for condominium dispute resolution. It provides for mandatory mediation and arbitration of condominium disputes. This includes disputes between the developer and the condominium corporation and the condominium corporation and a unit owner.  It also includes disputes between the corporation and management person or company and disputes between corporations.  It is a voluntary selection process for mediator and arbitrator with arbitration governed by the Arbitration Act of Ontario. If there is no agreement on mediator or arbitrator selection the court may appoint an arbitrator. Mediators have power to make costs orders at the conclusion of mediation and arbitrators have full power to decide disputes. Under the Arbitration Act there is a limited right to a court appeal or review of the arbitrator’s decision.

Section 133 provides that if a developer makes false or misleading statements a condominium purchaser may seek damages in court.

Section 134 allows a condominium corporation or owner to apply to court for an order seeking compliance with the condominium declaration, bylaws or rules. This sometimes can be used as an alternative to mediation or arbitration where the dispute is an obvious one over compliance.  It is, however, intended by the provisions that the parties go through a mediation and arbitration process first.

Section 135 provides for an oppression remedy in court similar to what minority shareholders in a business corporation can seek if the person believes they have been treated oppressively by the condominium corporation or a person. This is described as unfairly prejudicial or an unfair disregard of the applicant’s interests. It is an alternative to the mediation and arbitration process.

Section 136 provides that other remedies in existence before the act continue to be available for dispute resolution if they do not conflict with the Condominium Act provisions.

Section 137 allows the court to deal with offenses under the Act with large fines for corporations and individuals including condominium corporation directors.


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Ontario’s First Condominium Arbitration Course

Condominium ADR

Colm Brannigan – Arbitration Co-instructor

In Ontario condominium disputes have had mandatory mediation and arbitration since the Condominium Act came into force in 2001 but there has never been a course offered to train condominium arbitrators until now.  Our condo ADR group’s two most experienced practitioners Colm Brannigan and Murray Miskin will be teaching the first condominium arbitration course.    The specialized one day condominium course has been postponed due to uncertainty over the future of condominium dispute resolution changes with the Ontario General Election which was held on June 12. The election and other factors led to a delay in the announcement of major changes to the Condominium Act and dispute resolution processes.  It now appears with a Liberal Majority Government that the changes will go ahead and be announced soon. The Ontario Budget of April 23, 2015 confirmed that changes would be coming including:

“Increasing Protection in the Condominium Market

Building on the announcement in the 2014 Budget, the Province is moving forward with reforms to the Condominium Act, 1998, including the establishment of mandatory qualifications for condominium managers. The Province will also be creating two administrative authorities to license condominium managers and improve education and dispute resolution for condominium corporation boards and owners.”

The Comprehensive course will proceed and be rescheduled once we know what changes are coming to condominium dispute resolution. Once we have full details on the changes in dispute resolution the course will proceed and explain the changes in detail.

The specialized condominium arbitration course is not an introductory course as it assumes knowledge of arbitration from a previous arbitration course or experience, and/or knowledge of current condominium dispute resolution procedures in Ontario.

Arbitrator and Mediator

Arbitration Instructor Murray Miskin

The condominium arbitration course will be in a seminar format including lecture, discussion and small group exercises.  One or more members of our Condo ADR Group will also be acting as coaches with the main instructors for the small group exercises.  We will be applying for Law Society Professional Development credits for this course once the content is finalized.  Our June 2015 Comprehensive Arbitration Course is open for registration.  For the arbitration course information is at

Those who registered for the June 2014 Condominium course have all received refunds of their deposits and we are now collecting names of interested people for when we reschedule.  Information on all of our courses is at

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Conflict Resolution Service for Condominiums

People Working Together

We are working together for your benefit

Welcome to the Ontario Condominium conflict resolution service website.  We are happy you found us and we look forward to serving you.  This is the website of a unique co-operative group of Ontario condominium conflict resolution service providers. The group is co-ordinated and administered by Miskin Law Offices who have operated the ADR Works websites, the ADR Works Centre and provided training in arbitration and mediation for many years.  The ADR Works organizational experience is unrivaled in Canada. Murray Miskin, the founder of ADR Works, has been involved as a lawyer in condominium litigation since the early 1980s.  He has taught arbitration since 1985. He has provided arbitration training to the leading Ontario lawyers and authors in the condominium law sector before the Condominium Act was proclaimed in 2001. He has acted as an ADR service provider for condominium dispute situations since the act was first proclaimed and served as first President for three years on the Board of a large condominium building where he lived in Toronto.  As an arbitrator he has been upheld on appeal for arbitration decisions, including once by the Ontario Court of Appeal.   All of our arbitrators were trained by Murray Miskin.  Our mediators are also well trained and highly qualified. Most are also capable arbitrators.  Some of them will also provide Med/Arb services where they mediate and also decide issues that the parties do not settle.  When Med/Arb is used we are extremely careful to safeguard the process including use of a team approach to ensure fairness in the process and maintain arbitrator independence.  By selecting one or more of our arbitrators or mediators you are getting a highly skilled problem solver and also putting the Miskin and ADR Works experience to work for you for conflict resolution. Learn more by visiting the ADR Works Canada website.

Our condominium conflict resolution service providers come from across Ontario and most are also willing to travel to assist with disputes that are away from their home areas. All are well trained members of the ADR Institute of Ontario. Here you are able to get the information you need to choose an arbitrator or mediator when you need one. We provide full resumes and a wide range of hourly rates for our highly qualified condominium conflict resolution service providers.  You may then through our service obtain further information and make retainer and other arrangements. By using our administrative intermediary to answer questions and provide information you avoid creating potential conflicts or biases that could right from the start disqualify a dispute resolution service provider from acting in a condominium dispute especially when you are trying to select an arbitrator.  Our administrator is Angela Stanfield. Email:

Our service is unique in also providing on request the consulting services of our group members at a reduced hourly rate of $100 to those who select our mediators or arbitrators. The consultants are available to assist the parties to a condominium dispute with ADR procedures, preparation of an arbitration agreement, organizing  evidence and documents, and in designing the process for handling the dispute.  Your arbitrator or mediator does not act as consultant in your condominium dispute and does not communicate with your consultant about the case except when agreed to by all parties to the dispute.

You will see that ADR works for dispute resolution, and the unpleasantness and expense of a condominium dispute can be alleviated by using our dispute resolution services.

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ADR for Condominium Conflict Resolution

Mediators and Arbitrators

Choosing an ADR Service Provider requires careful investigation

Conflict and conflict resolution through ADR are a major component of the condominium lifestyle in Ontario. Living in a condominium is a difficult adjustment for many people and disputes are common.  Condominium residents come from different backgrounds and cultures with different expectations of what condominium life will be like.  The cultural differences are greater in the Toronto area than most places.  People who do not know each other are put together in a situation where consideration for others and co-operation is a necessity.  It is a more close living arrangement than when you live near others in a neighbourhood with less common issues.  Many condominiums contain in one building or group of buildings, greater cultural and ethnic diversity than exists in most neighbourhoods.

Condo life is not for everyone and for most people it is a big adjustment from earlier living arrangements.  Having a condominium dispute is like a disagreement within a family or a workplace, where the shared interests and close quarters make the dispute more serious and upsetting.  Sometimes small issues (pets, parking, noise) which may seem petty to people who do not understand, are actually more of a problem than major financial or building structural issues.  It is best to resolve any condominium dispute early by agreement and avoid escalating the conflict. That can not always be done.  The law requires Mediation and Arbitration as a process for resolving most disputes instead of court.

For conflict resolution in your condominium you may require an arbitrator or mediator. Alternative Dispute Resolution, known as ADR is the prescribed method of resolving condominium disputes instead of court.  In Ontario which has become Condoland, with more condos than anywhere else, there are many qualified arbitrators and mediators who are able to handle condominium disputes.

Finding an ADR service provider is fairly easy for lawyers, who are used to dealing with disputes and using Alternative Dispute Resolution. Lawyers also speak with lawyers they know who are more specialized in condominium issues and get advice. Most condominium corporations have a lawyer who is called on regularly for advice and to handle disputes that may get to the stage where mediation is requested. Condominium property managers as well, are familiar with the conflict resolution process, and often have experience with mediators and arbitrators who can handle a condominium dispute.

If you are a condominium unit owner and find yourself in a condominium dispute, that requires an ADR service provider, the whole process is somewhat of a mystery. These days most people start with Google where anything may come up in a search. Luckily, you have found this website as a resource which gives you information about the process and also makes available to you a choice of skilled arbitrators and mediators from whom to select one for your needs.  Most likely you will be required to pay half the fee of the ADR service provider.  With costs a serious factor, the range of hourly rates offered by our condo ADR group should be helpful to you in narrowing your choice. Check elsewhere and see what else you can learn about conflict resolution as you educate yourself about the process of finding an ADR service provider. If your condominium has a dispute resolution bylaw you should read it carefully. We hope you will come back here and select an ADR service provider from our carefully chosen group.

Typically a condominium corporation will suggest the names of two or three mediators or arbitrators and ask the unit owner involved in the condominium dispute to pick one or name an alternative. It is usually not difficult to get a resume to see the qualifications and background of the persons suggested.  You may have to call directly to obtain a full resume and learn hourly or daily rates. Mistrust is normal in a dispute and it is quite proper to do some checking and considering alternatives before accepting a person recommended for ADR by the other side.  There is nothing wrong with rejecting a choice of arbitrator or mediator because the cost is too high.  With a mediator it is acceptable to speak with the proposed mediator first and get a sense of what they are like.  Mediators are allowed to speak individually with parties, and that is part of the mediation process.  That is acceptable because mediators are people who help you settle a dispute by participating in negotiation. It is important that they understand each party, their interests and how they feel about the dispute. Part of the process is speaking alone to each side during the mediation process and sometimes keeping information confidential. Most mediators in Ontario have excellent training in conflict resolution.

In arbitration, individual communication with the arbitrator is not proper, and parties to a dispute are not to discuss the dispute with the potential arbitrator ahead of selection.  This is to prevent possible concerns about bias. Arbitrator bias or “reasonable apprehension of bias” is a serious issue.  An arbitrator is not to act where there is a reasonable apprehension of bias.  An arbitrator is essentially a judge who will decide the issues in dispute and must do that based on evidence heard with all parties present and having an equal opportunity to put forward their position. An arbitrator must not be made aware of settlement positions of the parties as it may affect how they decide the case.

If you try to find an arbitrator by calling the arbitrator directly about your condominium dispute you have a good chance of creating a situation where the arbitrator, after hearing from you, will become disqualified from acting as arbitrator because of their communication with you. The other party may be concerned about what was said and possible bias created by the first presentation of the problem.  It is best to contact the arbitrator through an intermediary who may be their assistant or your legal representative.  They can provide retainer information and get you answers to specific questions. Arbitrators need to avoid discussing the issues while trying to get a sense of the nature of the dispute and who is involved to see if there may be any pre-existing conflict of interest or reasonable apprehension of bias. It is safe to send an arbitrator you are considering an email that does not go into the facts in issue or merits of the dispute so long as a copy of the email is also sent to the other party to the dispute. Conference calls can be arranged with all parties participating. Even having your lawyer make an initial phone call to the potential arbitrator can raise apprehension of bias.

In choosing an arbitrator or mediator you should first consider the nature and complexity of the dispute.  Sometimes technical or legal issues make it important to have an ADR service provider with specific skills or from a specific profession.  Some disputes are best decided by lawyers, but usually having a lawyer as arbitrator will cost more. The ADR Institute of  Ontario has both arbitrator and mediator members who must meet a standard of training to be accepted.  The ADR Institute’s website includes information about their members and can help with the selection process.  Experience is not always as important as the personal skills of the person selected.  A good mediator or arbitrator is one with sufficient training in mediation or arbitration and the personal skills and knowledge that enable them to effectively deal with condominium disputes. Take a few moments to review the qualifications of our group members.

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