CCI Toronto

CCI Toronto

September 15, 2010 08:00 ET

CCI Toronto to Host Mayoral Forum on Condominium Issues

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 15, 2010) - The Canadian Condominium Institute, Toronto & Area Chapter (CCI-T), will be hosting a forum among Toronto mayoral candidates on issues relevant to condominium owners on September 30th, being held at Novotel North York Hotel at 2 pm.

"This event will give the leading mayoral candidates an opportunity to meet with members of the city's condominium community, learn about their issues and concerns, and identify the ways in which they, as Mayor, would work to address those issues," says Armand Conant, President of CCI-T and Co-Chair of area law firm Heenan Blakie's condominium practice.

"Condominium owners have some major concerns around taxation and waste management, among other things", says CCI-T Operations Manager Lynn Morrovat. "This forum will allow them to express those concerns to the leading candidates and get their input and ideas on how they will be addressed by a new Mayor."

Condominiums account for about 12% of all households in Toronto, and represent a fast-growing segment of the new home market. According to Morrovat, almost half a million Toronto residents call a condominium home. Given the relative affordability of a new condominium compared to other forms of housing, she says this trend is likely to continue, and presents an opportunity for a new Mayor to take a public position on issues important to the sector.

"Condominium owners have been over-taxed at the municipal level", says Conant. "A condo unit is taxed as if it were a single-family home, but its physical and ecological footprint is dramatically smaller. This is especially true of high-rise condos, but also applies to townhouse condo complexes."

Related to the issue of the condominium community's ecological footprint is waste management. While condominium owners are supportive of the City's commitment to reach a 70% diversion rate, the current waste levy fee system for multi unit residential properties creates inequities and challenges for condominium corporations and we are looking to the candidates for commitments and ideas on making the current system into something more workable."

"Condominiums are concerned about the impact of the harmonized sales tax (HST) on their reserve funds", says Gordon Chong, a current Director of CCI-T and former Toronto City Councillor. "We are considering different ways of expanding the range of allowable investments for reserve funds, and will need strong support from the City to take this to the province", he says. Chong explains that candidates should consider their position on this issue as well, and be prepared to make a commitment to support this initiative, if it is found to be economically sound.

Chong also noted that Councillor Adam Vaughan has introduced a motion asking the City to look into condominium issues. "We're glad to see we are on the City's radar" he says, "and we are looking forward to participating in this process." Morrovat adds a caution that City attention may also translate into further regulation, so it is important for condominium owners to participate, both in the process and ahead of it, to make their opinions and concerns known.

"We want to hear from the candidates on how they will address the issues important to our constituents", Chong states. "Owners of condominiums have concerns not shared with other homeowners, and so far have not been heard. Our forum will give them a chance to meet with the candidates, express their concerns, and find out what the candidates plan to do to address them. This is an important event for us, as condo owners, and for the candidates – it's a learning opportunity for both of us" he says.

CCI-T is the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute, a national organization providing the voice of condominium on key issues. Most recently, CCI-T has worked with the Ontario government to obtain an extension in the reserve fund top-up period for condominiums registered prior to May 5, 2001, from the current 10 years to 15 years. This important change is expected to reduce the impact of the HST on reserve funds (the funds condominiums use to pay for major repairs and replacements of assets). CCI-T represents, through its membership, some 110,000 condominium owners as well as many professionals and trades serving the sector.

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