Field Law has just learned that the long-awaited creation of an Alberta Condominium Dispute Resolution Tribunal will not proceed this year as anticipated following the enactment of amendments to the Condominium Property Act and Regulations in January 2020. The Minister of Service Alberta recently delivered this new to industry stakeholders, including the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI). You can read CCI’s news item here.
By way of background, Service Alberta had been conducting engagement surveys and meetings with stakeholders in the condominium industry on the creation of a Tribunal to provide an alternate means for condominium unit owners and boards to resolve disputes. Both Ontario and British Columbia already have a form of tribunal in place to address certain types of condominium disputes.
In Alberta, however, where the parties are unable to negotiate a resolution of issues on their own, currently the only option is through the courts. Unfortunately, the expense and complexity of court processes and backlogs within the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench itself often inhibit access for many individuals. The Court of Queen’s Bench also has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide most condominium-related disputes, and legal counsel is typically required to help people navigate within its rules of procedure.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Service Alberta advised that the Government of Alberta is focused on education, improving our health care system’s capacity, and the recovery of our economy. The creation of a Condominium Dispute Resolution Tribunal is simply not in this year’s provincial budget. Albertans will therefore have to wait at least another year for the Government to take action in creating an alternative to the courts that will be accessible and affordable for most condominium owners.
More than half a million Albertans, or roughly twelve (12%) of the total provincial population, live in condominium units spread over about 250,000 households. Today there are also more than 8,000 active condominium corporations across Alberta. We understand the Government wants to “get it right the first time”, but the delay is going to be very disappointing for a large segment of the population.
We will continue to keep you informed on Service Alberta’s plans for the creation of a Tribunal model that will be effective in meeting the needs of the condominium community in the province.
Please stay tuned for updates…