Civil Resolution Tribunal – Latest Update

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Preparations for the launch of the Civil Resolution Tribunal are continuing and the CRT has now officially appointed their Tribunal Members (many of whom are well known legal minds in the strata community).

The CRT Chair, Shannon Salter, has been making presentations to industry groups and stakeholders around the province to raise awareness of what’s to come.  A version of her most recent presentation can be found here.

Another well-known Strata industry mind is Tony Gioventu, Executive Director of Condominium Home Owners Association (CHOA), and he has been deeply involved in bringing the CRT into existence. Tony has been participating in these presentations as well, and his version can be found here.

We thank them both for providing permission to include their presentation materials here for the benefit of our clients and other interested parties. Some highlights from the presentations and recent discussions include the following:

– The CRT is expecting a large number of cases when they open for business.  Many Owners have been making inquiries as to when it will begin operations, and they are expecting a “flood” of cases.

– CHOA recommends that Strata Corporations begin significantly bolstering their “legal” and/or “consulting” budget line items accordingly to plan for the strong likelihood that Owners will begin actions against Strata Corporations that need to be responded to with the assistance of legal counsel.

– Similarly, Strata Councils should consider appointing a “Civil Resolution Tribunal Officer”- similar to Privacy, Emergency Preparedness, and other specialized roles on Council.  That member would be the point person to take the initial complaint, report to Council, and liaise with legal counsel and the management company.

– The CRT will become *mandatory* for Owners to participate in “about a year” after it launches.  At launch, however, it is only mandatory for Strata Corporations to participate when named by an Owner (the Owner cannot yet be compelled to participate). The legislation was amended specifically due to feedback from industry stakeholders (such as ourselves) that this would represent an uneven playing field, but it will be year or so until this amendment takes effect.

– The CRT will have jurisdiction over essentially all Strata disputes, regardless of dollar value.

– The Law Society is looking at the work related to the handling of CRT claims as being potentially outside of a strata management company’s area of expertise and responsibility (much as the Law Society has advised that strata management companies should not be writing resolutions as this is seen as providing legal advice/services).  While the industry awaits a ruling on this, it is apparent that the involvement of the management company will be limited in some manner and, as noted above, strata corporations will need to bolster operating budgets in order to address the costs of engaging the assistance of legal counsel.

We will continue to post more information about the CRT as it becomes available.  It has become very clear that this will be a massive change in our industry and for Strata Owners.  We encourage all Strata Council members to read these presentations and to check out the CRT website to learn more.