Update on CMHC’s reno/retro program

September 6th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

In its 2016 budget, the federal government announced a renovate and retrofit (reno/retro) program of forgivable loans administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).  CMHC issued a one‑time call for applications in June 2016 and made its final decisions on applications in June 2017.   Not surprisingly, the demand for funding greatly outstripped the available funds; we’re told that highest priority was given to projects in greatest financial need for work that addresses the risk of losing units (due to health and safety issues, regulatory or legislated requirements). By now, those who were lucky enough to be given the nod are busy working towards starting their projects quickly – all funds are to be spent by Nov 30, 2017.

We’re busy helping many with the paperwork to register these forgivable loans as mortgages on the title to their property.  If you’re a housing provider looking for legal support on these, please give us a call.

Applications now open for Toronto’s first new housing co-op in 7 years

August 24th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

Naismith Co‑op, Toronto’s first new housing co-op in seven years, is now accepting membership applications.  Located at 10 York Street in downtown Toronto, the new co‑op is comprised of 7 two bedroom units in a 65‑storey condominium.

Naismith came about thanks to a deal negotiated by former city councillor Adam Vaughan with the condo’s developer, Tridel, under section 37 of the provincial Planning Act. Section 37 allows for a community benefits agreement to be negotiated in exchange for the approval of a development that does not meet regular zoning regulations.

Naismith joins over 165 co‑ops in the Greater Toronto Area that are part of the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT).

Tom Clement, Executive Director of CHFT, says that since the co‑op will be choosing applicants by lottery, this is a great opportunity for interested and qualifying applicants to have an equal chance of being selected.  In the past, co‑ops have selected applicants on a first‑come first‑serve basis.

All qualifying applicants who submit an application form by midnight on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 will be included in the draw.  The co‑op will fill seven two‑bedroom affordable units with a monthly housing charge of $1,075.00 plus utilities.

To qualify for a two‑bedroom unit at this rate, the applicant’s annual household income must be below $51,500 (before taxes) when they sign the housing agreement. No additional rent subsidies are available.

New affordable housing stock is wonderful news. We believe in the potential of co‑ops as much as we ever have – and we hope to see many more in the future!

You can learn more about Naismith Co‑op and apply to be a member here.

Articling position filled for 2018-2019

August 18th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

Thank you to all those who applied to Iler Campbell for a position for the 2018‑2019 articling period.   We were pleased to receive applications from 150 well‑qualified candidates.  We interviewed the top 12 this week following the process set out by the Law Society of Upper Canada; our offer to our top candidate was accepted.   We are confident she will make a great contribution when she joins us in a year’s time, joining the ranks of some terrific students we’ve had over the years.

We wish all those seeking articling positions the best of luck in their search.   We will advertise again next May for the 2019‑2020 articling period.

Will Ontario let landlords and condominiums ban smoking recreational marijuana?

July 31st, 2017 by Elliot Fonarev

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The federal government’s proposed Cannabis Act, if passed, will legalize and regulate the production, sale and possession of recreational marijuana across Canada by July 2018. However, each of the provinces have decisions to make about how cannabis will be used, sold and regulated in their province. Until July 31, 2017, Ontarians can share feedback through a survey asking how the government should approach legalizing marijuana in Ontario.

The survey asks for input in five areas: (1) the minimum age someone can use, keep and buy cannabis, (2) where cannabis can be used, (3) road safety, (4) regulating sales of cannabis, and (5) planning public education.

One important question is where cannabis can be used: where will individuals be allowed to smoke marijuana and who gets to decide that? As marijuana is legalized by the federal government, it will be up to the Province to regulate how it can be used in some spheres. For instance, the Province could restrict the ability of landlords and condominium boards to prohibit vaping and/or smoking within units. Provincial regulations could also determine whether condo boards will be able to restrict vaping and smoking marijuana recreationally in common spaces like rooftops and courtyards.

Read the rest of this post

Lessons learned from a 10 year long city planning fight

July 12th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

Charlie Campbell, one of our founding partners,  has just published his history of the planning fight over the development of Toronto’s West Queen West Triangle lands from 2005 to 2016. These are the lands south of Queen St from Dovercourt to Gladstone, bordered on the south by the rail line, that have seen massive transformation into a veritable ‘condo forest’ in recent years.

But it’s a lot more than a history – it  includes a host of his trenchant observations and conclusions on what’s good and what’s bad with the planning process for new developments in Toronto. It’s also a valuable guide for how other communities facing development pressure can influence the process, which often feels rigged in favour  of developers.

Charlie is a key volunteer member of Active 18, the community group that took the lead in advocating for good design, parks, arts and artists’ workspace, heritage preservation and other community focused goals in the new developments in the West Queen West Triangle. It makes for fascinating reading from anyone interested in planning issues and the intricacies of dealing with developers, city hall, the OMB and various other interested parties. It’s also not without some of Charlie’s infamous absurdist humor. Look for the almost entirely redacted section in the middle of the “WQW at the OMB” chapter that insinuates that Putin was somehow involved in the ordeal. Charlie’s hope is that community groups dealing with similar issues will find it useful.

Read the history here.

Property Managers: How will changes to the Condominium Act affect you? Sign up for a free legal workshop

July 10th, 2017 by Iler Campbell

Do you have unanswered questions about Bill 106, Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015?

As you are no doubt aware, the Bill is expected to come into force in the fall of 2018. It will introduce a number of changes to the Condominium Act 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 19.

The Bill will create a Condominium Authority Tribunal to hear disputes between condominium owners and Boards. Parties will no longer need to go to court to litigate disputes with unit owners and/or the Board of Directors, unless they wish to appeal a decision of the Tribunal.

The Bill will also introduce the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (the CMSA), which creates a separate administrative body to oversee the licensing of property managers working in condominiums throughout Ontario. Under the CMSA:

  • All property managers (both individual managers and property management companies) will need to be licensed as condominium management providers in order to supply services to condominiums;
  • Condominium managers, as part of the licensing process, will be required to take specific courses and exams administered by the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO); and
  • There will be two categories of condominium management licenses: general licenses, which allow for management of all aspects of a condominium; and limited licenses, which impose certain restrictions with respect to entering into contracts and managing funds on behalf of the condominium corporation.

Individual and property management companies will have 150 days from the date on which the Bill is proclaimed to apply for the license.

If you’d like to know more about the changes to condo law, join us for a free breakfast workshop on Friday September 15th.  Sign up at condo-act.eventbrite.com and be sure you are subscribed to our blog for further updates.  We welcome your input on questions you’d like to see addressed.