Alberta Condo Legislation, It’s A-Changin’: A Rundown of the Updated Condominium Property Act

Here in Alberta, we’ve grown accustomed to waiting exceptionally long periods of time for two things: the start of real, honest-to-goodness summer weather, and the arrival of true condo legislation reform. At the time of writing, we’re still waiting for both these things to make their appearance across our province – but the good news is, at least condo legislation reform is now well within sight!

That’s right. After years of consultations, hearings, surveys, back-and-forth proposals, and political machinations, Alberta’s Condominium Property Act is finally about to see real, meaningful change. And not just change for change’s sake, either! In our opinion, much of the new legislation that’s meant to take effect in less than a month’s time is really the sort of thing that seems like it will work in advocacy of condo owners. This new legislation genuinely seems to offer protections that, sure, maybe should have been put into place literally decades ago, but are now at least finally seeing real, legitimate implementation.

Wait. Before we go any further…you do know about the changes that are coming into effect on July 1, don’t you? You don’t???

A Rundown on Incoming CPA Changes

Here’s the quick-and-dirty version of things. Essentially, the province has been rolling out changes to the Condo Property Act here in Alberta over a number of phases. The next phase (Phase II) is arguably the biggest and is set to go into effect in less than a month, on July 1, 2019. If your condo board doesn’t have its collective act together in terms of compliance by now, the following will help you get your ducks in a final row.

The incoming July 1 changes, as we’d mentioned off the top, are sweeping in scope and honestly too numerous to detail in-depth here. If you’re looking for some fun bedtime reading, you can cruise your way through the official 91-page Condominium Property Act to get a comprehensive understanding of what your condo building needs to prepare for. If you’re just after a high-level take on things, though, we’ve got you covered:

  • AGM Notice. In a push for transparency and increased owner involvement, the new CPA rules state that at least 60 days’ notice must be given in advance of the next AGM meeting, and that owners must be allowed to submit proposed agenda items during this time.
  • Meeting Minutes. Condo corporations must provide free-of-charge access to that year’s board meeting minutes prior to the AGM (yes, some condos actually made a habit of charging owners for access to meeting minutes. No, we can’t believe it either).
  • Reserve Fund Studies. Most of these changes actually won’t go into effect until Phase III of the condo property act changes (coming January 2020), but it’s good to have the heads-up that if your reserve fund study is about to be up for review, the standards are set to change. More on that right here on this very blog in the coming months!
  • Insurance. Again, this is more of a Phase III detail, but you can expect to welcome increased clarity and transparency around insurance claims come January 2020, in addition to a variety of other adjustments coming down the pipes.

To re-iterate, the changes coming to the Condominium Property Act on July 1 are sweeping and many, but hopefully this quick rundown gives you an idea of what to expect in a few weeks’ time.

Great, But What Will All This Stuff Do?

It’s all well and good learning about these changes in advance of their implementation on July 1, but it can sometimes be tough to look at individual details like this and imagine what they might mean for the big picture of condo ownership. Here’s our hot take.

These changes are almost entirely, unequivocally positive.

They’re going to bring Alberta’s condo legislation into the 21st century and raise standards of service across the industry. By putting a focus on clarity (and shining a spotlight on some of the shady practices that had started to become commonplace in condos across the province), these amendments are poised to not just increase transparency within the condo industry, but to foster additional communication between boards and condo management companies, too. Finally, this increased transparency and additional dialogue will have the added effect of raising professionalism across the board when it comes to the business of maintaining a successful condo community – for owners, board members, and management companies alike. Increased communication means inherently better-functioning business relationships, which is something we can all surely get behind.

We hope this blog’s been helpful in bringing you up-to-speed regarding the incoming changes to the Condominium Property Act. More than that, we hope it’s armed you with the tools you need to hold your condo board to accountability and compliant once these amendments come into effect. If you’ve still got additional questions about what to expect from these changes (or how to get your building aligned with them in advance), be sure to reach out to us at Catalyst Condo Management Ltd today, and we’ll be happy to do what we can to bring you (and your building!) up-to-speed.