In our last column, we announced that, over the coming months, we would share the results of the research conducted by members of the Towards Cyberjustice project. Although this is still planned for future entries, we chose to postpone these posts to take the time to underline an important moment in the field of online dispute resolution (ODR): the launch of Ontario’s first online tribunal, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (or CAT).
According to the 2016 Census, “[t]rends in building permits [in Ontario] indicate that the construction pace of apartments, and especially condominium units, has accelerated since the early 2000s, and that this has surpassed the number of single-detached houses constructed since 2012”. In fact, it is expected that half of all Ontario citizens will be living in condos in the near future, which would more than double the number of “households in condominiums” established in the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).
In 2015, faced with the rapidly rising number of condominium dwellers (and therefore a growing number of disputes), the Ontario government decided to amend the Condominium Act of 1998 through the passing of the Protecting Condominium Owners Act (PCOA).
It is those amendments to the Condominium Act of 1998 that have been proclaimed to date (through the PCOA) that created the Condominium Authority Tribunal, and that established its powers and jurisdiction. Of all the powers granted to the CAT, one of the most interesting – for the purpose of our topic of interest – is the one stated in section 1.40 of the Condominium Act of 1998, i.e. the CAT may encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms:
1.40 (1) Despite section 4.8 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, the Tribunal may direct the parties to a proceeding to participate in an alternative dispute resolution mechanism for the purposes of resolving the proceeding or an issue arising in the proceeding. 2015, c. 28, Sched. 1, s. 6.
(2) In this section, “alternative dispute resolution mechanism” includes mediation, conciliation, negotiation or any other means of facilitating the resolution of issues in dispute. 2015, c. 28, Sched. 1, s. 6.
Of course, the idea of allowing for ADR is nothing new under Canadian law. The Quebec Code of Civil Procedure favours that route, and certain courts and tribunals across the country have done the same. However, where most view ADR as a parallel system that is prior to – and outside – the normal judicial process (hence the term “alternative”), the CAT innovated by bringing ADR to every stage of its process, from party-to-party negotiation through to decision by a tribunal member.
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Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 19 décembre 2017 à 19 h 06 min.