COVID-19 Bulletin No. 3: Immediate Protocols To Be Implemented By Condominiums
Updated on March 17, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.
Condominium corporations are the “fourth level of government” and have a statutory obligation to take reasonable steps to protect all persons on condominium property from foreseeable harm and dangerous conditions as per the Occupier’s Liability Act and the Condominium Act. As the window to flatten the COVID-19 curb is narrowing, condominium corporations are urged to take immediate action to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
What should condominium corporations do immediately?
- Common Element Amenity Areas:
- close all common element amenity areas such as guest suites, gyms, pools, saunas, change rooms, libraries, meeting rooms, media rooms, board rooms, games rooms, billiard rooms, party rooms, golf simulator rooms, yoga rooms, roof top terraces and barbecue areas until further notice; and
- cancel all upcoming bookings for all common element amenity areas;
- Public Washrooms: close all public washrooms and reserve same for the sole and exclusive use of contractors and the Corporation’s staff until further notice;
- On-site Property Management Offices: reduce the hours when the on-site property management office is open to owners and residents, and encourage all residents and owners to communicate with property management via phone or email;
- all non-essential visitors (including family and friends) should be discouraged from visiting residents; and
- while schools and licensed childcare facilities are closed, children who do not reside at the condominium corporation should be discouraged from visiting residents (i.e. residents who reside at the condominium corporation should be discouraged from caring for children who do not reside at the condominium corporation while schools and licensed childcare facilities are closed);
- Deliveries: request that all delivered parcels, food, groceries, etc. be left with front desk staff or at the main entrance to the building;
- Increased Cleaning and Sanitation: identify all high-traffic common element areas, and ensure that the surfaces of same are cleaned and sanitized several times a day;
- Request that all residents returning from abroad:
- notify property management upon their return to Canada, so that the condominium corporation can notify other residents that a resident has returned from abroad and encourage other residents to exercise additional precautions; and
- upon returning to Canada, self-isolate in their unit for 14 days as recommended by the Government of Canada;
- Request that any resident who tests positive for COVID-19:
- immediately notify property management that they have tested positive for COVID-19 on a confidential basis; and
- self-isolate in their unit for 14 days as recommend by the Government of Canada;
- If a resident tests positive for COVID-19: immediately notify all residents that a resident has tested positive for COVID-19 and strongly encourage all residents to self-isolate in their units for 14 days;
- hold all Board meetings by way of teleconference until it is safe to hold in-person meetings;
- postpone all unit owner and resident meetings until it is safe to reschedule; and
- hold a teleconference Board meeting as soon as possible to discuss how the condominium corporation will manage its responsibilities and risk exposure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Status Certificates: contemplate whether any modifications may need to be made to any status certificates issued by the condominium corporation during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- “Virtual Buddy System”: implement a “virtual buddy system” to assist vulnerable members of the condominium community and to assist with the dangers of social isolation.
It is advised that all condominium corporations immediately implement the protocols set out above, and send out a notice to residents advising them of the implementation of the foregoing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommended notice to residents should be:
- one page;
- written with large font and use graphics;
- written in English;
- available in other languages that are commonly used within the community, especially if the first language of the majority of residents is not English;
- clear, short and succinct; and
- posted in all common element entrances and exits, mail rooms, recycling rooms, garbage rooms, lobbies and elevators.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, condominium corporations will need to be diligent and flexible as condominium corporations may be faced with operational delays and unprecedented operational issues. As any action taken by a condominium corporation may have unintended risks and consequences, it is recommended that condominium corporations consult with the appropriate professionals prior to taking any action.
All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.
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