While most of the country is entering various phases or reopening, Ontario is heading into phase 2 of its 3-step reopening. More businesses will now be allowed to operate, public and social gathering restrictions will be loosened, and religious gatherings will now be permitted.
The government of Ontario has implemented workplace health and safety measures to guide businesses, organizations, and public spaces safely reopen. Officials have advised to continue following physical distancing measures to prevent the spread. Below are highlights from the Property Managers’ reopening guide.
What Does Phase 2 Mean For Property Managers?
As essential service providers, condominium managers have a fiduciary duty in keeping their Corporations safe amidst COVID-19. The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) conducted a survey in May on how the Ontario state of emergency had impacted property managers and identified the top three areas of concern at this time: holding meetings, entering owners’ units, and the use of common elements. According to the survey, 85% of respondents have developed plans to help their clients adapt as the government loosens restrictions and 83% of respondents have discussed these plans with their boards.
The holding of board meetings and owners’ meetings including AGMs have been temporarily amended in accordance to the changes in the Condominium Act, 1998. Condos now have an additional 90 days after the state of emergency ends to hold their AGMs. For those who had their AGMs scheduled within 30 days after the state of emergency, now have an additional 120 days. This amendment has been put in place only for those Corporations that have been affected by the pandemic, for example, if your year end fell after September 17.
The Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) has suggested to hold board and owners’ meetings virtually when possible. If physical meetings are necessary, it is advised to maintain safe physical distancing measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Entering Owners' Units
At this time, property managers are put in a difficult situation where they must respect the space of individual unit owners, while at the same time look out for the best interest of the Corporation. As unit owners may be hesitant to allow contractors into their units, there are precautionary measures that should be taken to ensure any health risk is mitigated as best as possible.
The CMRAO suggests that:
- The unit owner be provided with reasonable notice and given a fair opportunity to prepare themselves for when their unit will be entered.
- You or any service providers and the owner maintain a safe distance from one another.
- Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) be used at all times.
- Any and all other rules and guidelines are being followed as recommended by the government and Chief Medical Officer of Health.
It is important that managers communicate with contractors to ensure they are adhering to the safety measures put in place to protect owners. If the owner is hesitant to allow any work done inside their unit, carefully consider their concerns and accommodate them as best as possible. If the work is not time-sensitive, a reasonable effort can be made to postpone work to a later date.
Use of Amenities And Common Space
- Normal capacity of amenities
- Cleaning/disinfectant schedules
- Ventilation systems within specific amenities
- Reservation systems/processes
- Hours of operations
- Mandatory booking required to use amenities
- Requiring residents to disinfect equipment before usage
- Staggering operating hours to allow for more frequent disinfection
- Lowering capacity to ensure appropriate physical distancing is possible
- Changing the configuration or allowed usage of specific equipment, such as blocking specific gym equipment or barbecues on specific days so that residents maintain appropriate distancing
As condos differ in size, number of residents, and geographical location – All property managers are advised to take an approach that considers the unique needs of their condominiums. What works for one may not work for yours. In keeping with the evolving nature of Covid-19, it is important to stay up to date with public health recommendations and adjust protocols, when necessary.
Changes in British Columbia
Other recommendations can be found on the BC’s Government website, here.
Changes in Alberta
A similar relaunch strategy is also happening in Alberta, with some variances to how much is reopening. While the Alberta Condo Act has also been amended to allow for delayed meetings, currently a Corporation’s right to enter an owner’s unit is suspended until further notice.
A complete list of amendments and recommendations can be found on the Alberta Government site here. They also have prepared a useful PDF for download, here.
Normac has also entered the second phase of our COVID-19 protocols. With staff returning to the office and some site visits resuming, you can read more about our response, here.
We continue to deliver the same high standards and exceptional customer service that our clients have come to know and rely on. We have the technology and systems in place to continue delivering replacement cost valuations accurately and on time. If you are in need of an up-to-date valuation or are considering switching providers, we make the process easy.