We have written in the past about Court judgements reiterating the necessity for Employers to ensure their workplaces are free of harassment and bullying. There is no question that all workplaces must be entirely free of such behaviour. As an Employer, Stratawest has always taken our obligation to prevent abusive behaviour toward our staff very seriously and that includes those staff we work with at properties we manage. We have a zero tolerance policy for it when it occurs. Our field is relatively challenging in this regard- as noted in our previous post on the subject we recognize that emotions will be charged when dealing with people’s homes which are almost always also their primary investment. We try hard to be respectful of individuals who are often coming to us with a challenging issue on what may be one of their worst days, i.e. experiencing a catastrophic loss in their home. We also try hard to ensure that appropriate limits are placed on the tone of communication directed toward us. Unfortunately, this sometimes means taking steps such as outright prohibiting individuals from calling and/or visiting our office and demanding that all communication be in writing.We take whatever action is required to correct the situation and protect our workplace environment and we encourage all employers to do the same.
From time to time, we try to share relevant seminars with our clients so that they can get a more in-depth analysis of major issues facing Strata Corporations. Our friends at CCI BC (of which we are a proud long time seminar) will be hosting a free webinar addressing what they descirbe as “Dealing with an Aging Building”. Topics will include how to identify and manage major deficiencies, discussing real life examples that highlight the challenges of dealing with an aging builidng, and providing an overview of the strata wind up process.
Our 13th Annual Stratawest Christmas Toy Drive & Fundraiser for Harvest Project was a massive success this holiday season. We were able to provide 20 bikes through Obsession Bikes & Bikes for Tykes to Family Services of the North Shore along with carloads of toys delivered to the North Shore Christmas Bureau, and raised over $20,000 AGAIN for our friends at Harvest Project to help continue their amazing work in our community- extending a hand up, not a hand out.
With the explosive growth of Electric Vehicles being sold over the last few years expected to continue well into the future, supported by a government ban on the sale of gasoline powered vehicles by 2035, multi-unit residential buildings including Strata Corporations will face escalating pressures to accommodate the home charging of these cars. Like it or not, EVs are not going anywhere.
Earlier this year, the Civil Resolution Tribunal decided on a case that has notable implications for Strata Corporation operations here in the province of British Columbia. You can read more about the decision here, and the decision itself is available at the CRT website here. The case spins on the use of email as a means of communication and crucially, decision making, for Strata Councils.
In January 2023, the Provincial cabinet produced Order in Council No. 32 which amended portions of the Strata Property Act relating to the minimum contributions to the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF).
A phased approach was taken at the time, allowing Strata Corporations to amend their budgets accordingly. That phased window is now closed, as November 1st brings the Order into effect for all Strata Corporations.
Going forward, every Strata Corporation (regardless of their current CRF Balance) must contribute 10% of their Operating fund (in the Order it notes “contributions”, ie. the Strata Fee portion) to the Contingency Reserve Fund.
In other words, if your Strata anticipates $1,000,000 in Strata Fees to be collected in your budget, then you must allocate at least $100,000 to the CRF. The previous provision, allowing Strata Corporations with a pre-set minimum balance in their CRF to opt out of a contribution has been removed.
Our friends at CHOA have put together a helpful article on this subject which you can find here if you’d like to read more: https://choa.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/700-020-CRF-contributions-increase-Nov-1-2023.pdf
Electronic Bikes (ebikes) are an increasingly popular consumer product, designed to assist cyclists by applying electrical energy to the cadence of pedaling- thus helping people up hills or on longer rides with a motor assist that adds to the power produced by turning the pedals with your feet. These ebikes are increasingly popular- and municipalities all over the Lower Mainland are trying to shift commuters out of vehicles and onto mass transit and bicycles to alleviate some of the worst impacts of climate change (amongst other good reasons, such as the benefits of exercise and fresh air). Various levels of government are incentivizing the purchase of ebikes with rebates to further drive uptake in this burgeoning industry. The goal of this is certainly commendable, especially when it comes to lessening our dependance on commuter vehicles on a day to day basis, something that will reduce our individual carbon emissions and thus our impact on our ecology.
We take this opportunity to share with you the (known) details of an important case recently decided upon at the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).
With thanks to the good folks at Lawson Lundell LLP, we’d like to share this article regarding a City of Vancouver bylaw amendment requiring that accessible parking stalls be held in common, rather than assigned to individual suites.
Note that this bylaw is not retroactive, meaning it only applies to new developments. However, going forward, all buildings within the City of Vancouver will require a proportion of their parking to be held as common property to be assigned to those who need it (rather than assigned by the developer to anyone who wishes to purchase one, which was the previous regime).
Likely, other municipalities will follow suit with similar bylaws in the future- designed to increase the accessibility of Strata Corporations.