News & Articles

The Great Canadian Condo Contest 

Enter your Condominium into the Great Canadian Condo Contest for a chance to win the bragging rights for living in the Best Condominium in your CCI Chapter and/or the Best Condominium in Canada. The CCI Nova Scotia Chapter winner will receive a plaque for their condominium to display AND a $150 Tim Hortons card to hold a casual get together at your condomimium for all owners. The 17 chapter winners across Canada will compete nationally. The condominium with the most votes will be declared the National Winner, and will receive a larger plaque and a Tim Hortons Card in the amount of $250.00. Entering the Contest is simple:

  1. Visit the CCI National websbite here: Great Canadian Condo Contest

  2. Submit a photograph of your condo and brief description explaining why your condo is Canada's best

  3. View the online submissions and vote for your favourite

Deadline for applications is September 30, 2017. 


Welcome to the New Chapter Administrator! 

CCI Nova Scotia welcomes Lana Larder as the new Chapter Administrator, commencing June 2017. Lana is experienced running an offce while managing both the administrative and financial aspects. Over the past two decades, she has worked in a variety of capacities as both a consultant and business owner.  She earned her Bachelor of Public Relations degree in 2000 at Mount Saint Vincent University. She has collaborated and coordinated awareness campaigns, initiatives, social media, and events for both the private and public sectors.
 
Lana has been published in the Nova Scotia Business Journal, Globe & Mail, and The Next Women. She has been recognized with awards including Canadian-Wide Publicity Award, Canadian-Wide Small Business Credit Challenge, Special Merit, Highest Achievement and nominated twice for Royal Bank of Canada, Female Trailblazer. Lana is looking forward to assisting the Canadian Condominium Institute - Nova Scotia Chapter. 
 
Welcome aboard, Lana!

Condo Construction Deficiencies Survey

In 2007, CCI Nova Scotia gathered information from its members with respect to deficiency issues in condominiums. This information was compiled into a position paper, which was provided to the Provincial Government. This year your CCI Nova Scotia board has decided to update the survey and needs your help. We ask that you complete the attached questionnaire in order to provide recent information on any construction deficiencies you have experienced with your Condominium. All information will be kept confidential and used only for gathering a complete picture of the state of construction deficiencies within Condominiums in Nova Scotia.  We encourage you to participate and help create a body of information for CCI Nova Scotia to use going forward.   

Click here to view the Condo Construction Deficiency Survey. 

General By-Law for the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute

With changes to the Federal Not for Profit Legislation, CCI National Bylaws were updated in October of 2015. As such, we at CCI-NS have had to review our bylaws, amend and update them to comply with the federal legislation and the National Bylaws. The major changes are the reorganization of sections of our old Bylaws as well as the removal of Bylaw sections which refer to the chapter's role with ACCI, as this is now administered by CCI National. Please review the new Bylaws in advance of the AGM as we will be voting to adopt them during the AGM. If you have any question in respect of the Bylaws please email us at info@ccinovascotia.ca

Click here to review the revised Bylaw.


Fair Taxation Initiative

HRM Elections - Property Tax Reform Questionnaire - Summary of Reponses
"THE PROPERTY TAX REFORM - WHAT IS YOUR POSITION" questionnaire developed by CCI and CONS was e-mailed to all the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) candidates for Mayor and Council who's e-mail address was listed on the HRM Website. This means that five (5) of the six (6) candidates for Mayor received it and forty-eight (48) of the fifty-nine (59) candidates for Council.


 

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Candidates for Mayor
Fred Connors responded with a written response in support of Fair Tax. Fred Connors, Tom Martin, and Mike Savage spoke at the CCI Annual General Meeting and all supported opening up the discussion on Fair Tax.

Candidates for Council
Sixteen (19) of the forty-eight (48) candidates for council responded to the e-mail. Most of them completed the questionnaire but a few chose to provide an open response directly in the text of their e-mail or verbally via telephone. All of them indicated, to varying degrees, that the issue of tax reform (or review) needed to be placed on the agenda for Council shortly after the election.  There was general support among the respondents for the VISION developed by CCI and CONS and for the need to address the issue of Fair Taxation.  

The objective of the Fair Tax initiative undertaken by CCI and CONS was to raise awareness of the taxation issue and gain a commitment that the matter would be placed on the HRM Council agenda shortly after the election. We asked that a Stakeholder Advisory Committee be appointed for input into the process. Fair Taxation is certainly an issue during the campaign and, while CCI and CONS can't take all the credit, the initiative has had a positive result. It now remains to "keep their feet to the fire", so to speak now that the new Council is in office.

Recent Action by Council

In April, 2013, a motion introduced by Councillor Bill Karsten did get taxation reform on the HRM agenda and staff are currently preparing a report for Council to be presented with in the next six months. CCI and CONS have indicated on several occasions a willingness to assist HRM staff in any way staff would deem appropriate. We are waiting for the response from staff but in the meantime gathering information from across Canada on the current approach to taxation of condos in each Province.

It is important to note that HRM is not revolutionary in its attempts to study tax reform. Markham, Hamilton and Halton in Ontario have done extensive work in this area. These Councils have approved many areas of taxation reform. Calgary also has been extensively involved in taxation reform. The Saskatchewan Chapter is also aggressively pursuing taxation reform.

We recognize that this is also an issue in other Nova Scotia Municipalities. However, changes in HRM will either directly impact on other municipalities, if access to additional sources of revenue is realized, and provide data to be used in bringing about changes in other parts of the Province.


Summary Strategic Plan Posted

Please note that the complete Strategic Plan can be obtained by e-mailing us at info@ccinovascotia.ca. You can also download the information posted here in the Summary Strategic Plan [PDF].


 

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The process used is a standard Strategic Planning methodology. Participants were asked to first describe the current situation with respect to the Chapter. This was then set aside and participants were asked to state how they prefer to see the Chapter described in the future - a VISION for the years 2020-2025. The participants then looked at the differences between the current situation and the preferred future state - the gaps that needed to be closed if the VISION was to be achieved. Finally, the group prepared action plans designed to eliminate the gaps over the next few years.

THE CURRENT SITUATION
Participants were asked to state their perception of the strengths and weaknesses of the Chapter, the threats it is facing, and the opportunities that might be exploited. This is commonly referred to as a SWOT analysis. The results of this exercise available in the complete report.  

The strength of the Chapter lies in its history and the processes that have been developed over time. The fact that CCI represents the entire condominium industry is a strength compared to single purpose groups that develop around issues and are selective in their membership. Being part of a National organization adds depth to the Chapter and provides access to a broader knowledge base. The CCI brand is known but perhaps not as well  known as we would like.

Having said that, perhaps the Nova Scotia Chapter is falling behind the times. The condominium industry has matured, technology has developed at a rapid pace, but the Chapter is still using many old methods and procedures. Poor communications and lack of contact with our members is a constant theme throughout the weaknesses discussed at the session. However, new methods of communication are available and this was seen as an opportunity. It's time to reassess and a "road map" is needed.Thus this strategic plan. 

CCI must find the way to reach out to our older members and, at the same time, be relevant to new condo buyers where the average age cohort may be younger with different needs and demands.

VISION

The membership of the CCI Nova Scotia Chapter is Province-wide. The Chapter serves all aspects of the  Condominium Industry and is recognized as a respected source of information.  Its education programs are relevant and informative. The Chapter is an advocate for change.  Governments turn to the Chapter for advice and support in developing programs and improving legislation. The Chapter is recognized  as a model by other CCI Chapters across Canada.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

The group then examined the differences between the current state and discussed what needed to be done to achieve the VISION.

It was agreed that the following four area needed to be addressed:

  1. There was a need to improve communications with the Chapter members. While the Chapter has an excellent Newsletter it was not reaching as many members as desirable. Also, available technology was not being effectively used as part of the communications program.
  2. Membership needed to be increased. The Chapter membership is remaining stable at a time when the number of condominium corporations was increasing within the Province. An increase in membership is necessary if the Chapter is to be viable.
  3. There was a need to examine the Chapter's educational programs to ensure that they were relevant to the needs of the members. The needs of the members may be changing and the Chapter educational program should be relevant and informative, as stated in the vision.
  4. Board operations need to be streamlined and more members must be involved in Chapter operations. Over the past years the Board has assumed more and more responsibility for functions that were, in the past, undertaken by committees. Developing a committee structure would be more effective and insure that more members were involved in Chapter operations.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
                
There are detailed action plans with specific steps to be followed in the overall plan. One of the key recommendations is as follows:
"Develop a committee structure with at least one Board member on each committee and the remaining members drawn from outside the Board. The suggested committees are:

    • Membership
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Information Technology
    • Newsletter"

CCI NEEDS VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE ON THESE COMMITTEES. PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS AND BEFORE YOU LEAVE THIS EVENING DECIDE WHICH COMMITTEE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SERVE ON AND LEAVE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION WITH OUR ADMINISTRATOR OR ANY BOARD MEMBER. 


New Unfair Taxation Documents to Download

The current municipal taxation system is a mess, totally unfair, and getting worse! Something must be done!


 

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Please download and read the following information:

  • the Unfair Taxation Flyer [Word | PDF]
  • the Unfair Taxation Paper [Word | PDF]

Condominium Act Amendments

Read the information regarding Bill 38.


 

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Bill 38 was passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature in October 2009 and proclaimed, along with the necessary regulations, on September 1st, 2011.

Bill 38 can be accessed at the following address:
http://nslegislature.ca/legc/b09n.htm


The CCI Nova Scotia Advocacy Committee Proposal to Government

INTRODUCTION

The Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute has, for some time, been concerned that many purchasers of residential properties, particularly condominium developments, are faced with a multitude of varying latent defects and construction deficiencies soon after the Condominium Corporation assumes control of the property.


 

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Concerns were first mentioned at CCI-Nova Scotia's annual general meeting in 2006. In an effort to be constructive we formed an Advocacy Committee in early 2007 to document the problem, examine the options for dealing with the problem, and recommending a course of remedial action to the Nova Scotia Government. The recommendations were formally adopted as policy at our 2007 annual general meeting and they were presented to the Nova Scotia government during the fall sitting of the legislature in November, 2007.

PROPOSAL

The proposal is shown below. You can also download the Proposal to Government [PDF]. 

CCI Canadian Condominium Institute
Nova Scotia Chapter
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE
PROPOSAL to GOVERNMENT November 2007

The Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. It prides itself as being the voice of condominium in Canada. The Nova Scotia Chapter began 24 years ago as a Provincial Association and later joined CCI Canada as the Nova Scotia Chapter. There are approximately 20,000 condominiums units in Nova Scotia and 4,000 of these are members of the Nova Scotia Chapter through their condominium corporations. Member corporations are located in Sydney, Truro, Pictou County, Annapolis County, Lunenburg County and Halifax County. The number of members is growing each year and membership is spreading across Nova Scotia as new condominium projects are being developed.

CCI provides a forum for condominium owners to get together for:

  • Educational Courses and Seminars
  • Networking
  • Professional Referrals and Advice
  • A Voice to Government Legislation

CCI services include an ACCI designation for Professionals involved in the industry, Chapter and National Newsletters, publications related to Condominium ownership and management and advice on development standards.

At a recent Annual General Meeting of the Nova Scotia Chapter the audience expressed the feeling that CCI Nova Scotia Chapter was performing well with respect to its mandate to educate those involved in condominium, in offering professional advice to its members, and developing best standards and practices for condominium directors and professionals. There was a feeling, however, that CCI Nova Scotia Chapter should assume more of an advocacy role with respect to developing methods to protect condominium buyers and owners from a serious problem that has long existed and is growing exponentially with the explosion of Condominium Developments in Nova Scotia.

The Problem

The root problem is that many purchasers of residential properties, particularly condominium developments of all types, are faced with a multitude of varying latent defects and construction deficiencies soon after the Condominium Corporation is registered and assumes control of the property.

These deficiencies are sometimes apparent shortly after management of the property is transferred from Developer to Condominium Corporation, but often, they do not manifest themselves until the Warranty Period has expired.

When these problems are detected, Condominium Corporations seek remediation from the Developer. All to often, they are met with either complete denial of any responsibility or with insincere assurances of action that only serve to delay and compound the problem.

In some instances, the company that developed and sold the property turns out to be a stand-alone shell corporation that no longer has any assets. This leaves the Condominium Corporation owners with only one option, fix and pay for the problem themselves with successful legal action to recover their costs extremely doubtful; even if the law rules in their favor with a positive judgment.

Who is left holding the bag for the unexpected costs of fixing construction deficiencies for what is probably the largest purchase of their life? The Condominium buyer !

It is not a coincidence that many developers build sub-standard, deficiency riddled buildings. There are many good developers and builders but there are also many developers that take full advantage of the lenient permit requirements, loopholes in the inspection process and lack of knowledge or license requirements. Many provinces have regulations in place that require all Developers and contractors, not only plumbers and electricians, to pass stringent testing prior to obtaining a license. Nova Scotia does not.

CCI Action

CCI Nova Scotia formed the Advocacy Committee. Its members include condominium owners, lawyers with vast Nova Scotia condominium experience, Property Managers, Real Estate specialists and a former Developer. Their combined experience means they were very familiar with all aspects of Condominium purchasing, living, construction and management.

Their mandate was to explore and recommend methods of ensuring that the purchasers of residential properties, particularly multi-unit Condominium buildings could purchase their home with adequate regulations and safeguards in place to protect them from problems of this nature.

CCI Nova Scotia Chapter sent out a questionnaire to all members requesting more information on their experiences in purchasing their condominium. The responses were overwhelmingly filled with experiences of having to fund repairs for construction deficiencies. Respondents reported costs ranging from hundreds of thousands to over a million and a half dollars. This was a cost to individual owners in the building,$37,000.

Many condominium owners are reluctant to publicly state the problems they are facing because taking this action may impact negatively on the value of their home. For many it is their major asset. In circulating the questionnaire the Advocacy Committee stated that the responses would not be released in any manner that would identify the problem with a particular condominium development. The following quotes from returned questionnaires will serve to illustrate the problem while still maintaining the confidentiality of the respondent:

  • "After five years from new (the building), moisture and rot. Outer cladding and balconies removed and replaced. Cost $400,000".
  • "Leaks; Drainage Problem; Roof Shingle Replacements; Building Settling Problems; General Repairs. In many cases work started but not completed. Promises, Promises, Promises - Never kept."
  • "Chimney needed replacement. Furnace changed from specs resulting in extreme heat (in original chimney) and in units above the furnace room."
  • "Poor construction......Inferior wooden windows and patio doors were installed without proper insulation, resulting in leaks and eventual rot...........To date the cost to the owners has totaled approximately 0.5 million dollars"
  • "A professional engineer was employed by the Board to assess the building for leaks and their causes.......It was recommended that the siding (brick) be removed and flashing installed correctly around decks and windows. The cost was borne by a special assessment for the owners and re-mortgaging the superintendents unit. Condo fees will be substantially increased this year since the reserve fund must be replaced."
  • "Brickwork was removed from entire damaged area. Extensive structural rotting resulted in replacement of beams, studs etc. Steps were taken to remove mold. Corporation (Condo) assumed responsibility because repairs had to be done and warranty claim was denied."

These quotes taken from responses made by different condominium corporations serve to illustrate the problem. Recent press coverage identified problems in one condominium that will result in special assessments to the owners of $20,000 - $35,000.

The CCI Advocacy Committee gathered information on the programs in place in other Provinces with particular emphasis on Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia where similar problems have been encountered in the past. The Committee was particularly impressed with the process used in Quebec.

The Recommended Solution

Based on the information gathered, the CCI Advocacy Committee has developed a list of recommendations with the goal to have Government enact Legislation to provide increased protection to the residential purchaser.

These recommendations when enacted would provide more stringent requirements for obtaining developer/contractor licenses, building permits and more complete consumer protection for the residential property purchaser.

Our recommendations are:

1. Improve the quality of construction by:
(a) Mandatory annual licensing of all developers/contractors, through a Province regulated program of education and testing.

(b) More stringent requirements to obtain new Residential Development Permits such as, the obligation to register with a Provincially regulated Construction Association.

The developer would be required to deposit in a Fund controlled by this Association, a Performance Bond based on a percentage of the value of the development for which the permit is requested. This bond would be held for a pre-determined period of time after the completion of the project to cover any latent construction defects.

(c) Mandatory third party (arm's length) Project Management of the development by a certified engineering firm. The engineers would supervise the complete construction project on behalf of the Condominium Corporation to be registered. Their job would be to insure that all is in compliance with the approved plans and all building codes.

2. Amend the Provincial legislation to include developers, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers in the arbitration provisions of the Condominium Act.

These recommendations were discussed at the CCI Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting held in September 2007 and unanimously endorsed by the members in attendance.

Further Recommendations

In addition, the members present at the annual meeting unanimously recommended that the following issues be addressed and added to the report:

  • The Residential Construction Regulations Committee recently announced and established by the Minister responsible for the Condominium Act should include representatives of the industry and not just government employees.
  • The same process re inspections during construction should apply to remedial projects
  • Architects & Contractors should be at arm's length from the Developer or company
  • Realtors should be acting at arms length from the Developer
  • Developers and Contractors should be held responsible - not sub-contractors

CCI Nova Scotia Chapter respectfully submits all these recommendations to the Government of Nova Scotia for action. CCI Nova Scotia will make its resources available to work with the Government to bring about the necessary changes to the Condominium Act and such other Acts of the Legislature that may be affected.

Sincerely
Norma Cameron, President Dan Galletti, RPM, Chaiman
CCI Nova Scotia Chapter CCI Advocacy Committee

 


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