Condo Owners Association COA

Displaying items by tag: Competition Bureau of Canada

Condominium Corporations are not the target of a criminal investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada
Link to Article by Tess Kalinowski - Real Estate Report of the Toronto Star

Condominium corporations are not the target of a criminal investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada.
The bureau has asked an Ontario Superior Court to order more than 100 Toronto area condo companies to produce records and other written information in connection with an investigation by its Cartels Directorate.  The investigation appears to be centred on contractors who do renovations on common areas such as lobbies, shared washrooms and parking garages in residential highrises, although the Competition Bureau declined to give details.  "The decision to seek the orders was based on the fact that the condominium corporations have, or are likely to have, information that is relevant to the investigation," said Competition Bureau spokeswoman Marie-France Faucher in an email.

It's possible the competition bureau asked for a court order because the victims in the alleged scheme are afraid of repercussions, said one expert in competition law. The bureau may be looking for corroboration of other information, said the expert.  Robert Weinberg, who was elected president of the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario last Friday, headed the ethics committee for two years. He says there's room for more professionalism in the management of condos and the bidding process.  Typically a condo corporation hires a designer for interior work or an engineer for exterior jobs. Once the condo board has approved a design and scope of work, the designer or engineer will recommend contractors they have worked with in the past.  Weinberg said a property management should never get involved with design or specification. They can help designate potential bidders and collect sealed bids but they should never open them, he said.

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A savvy board will do its own research and add other companies to the list of contractors invited to bid, he said.

"Some places don't want to go to so many companies. They trust the designers. I'm not saying they shouldn't trust the designers. But best practices, you go out to a half a dozen or more companies," said Weinberg, whose company Percel Property Management manages 80 condo corporations including two buildings that were ordered to produce records.

But he said he has no concerns.

"We have very set ways of doing things. It's dot the 'i's and cross the 't's. My managers know there's zero tolerance for unethical behaviour," said Weinberg.

The association's ethics committee sees about 40 cases a year. Only two or three would go on to an advanced investigation for violations such as theft or engaging contractors without condo board approval.

The province is modernizing the Condomium Act, including the Condominium Management Services Act. The Act sets out licensing rules for condo managers.

Only about a third of Ontario's approximately 3,000 condo managers in the province are members of the association.

"About 2,000 are just floating around out there with no designations, no code of ethics, no one to answer to and no one is going to stop them doing what they're doing if they're bad actors," said Weinberg.

"By having the law say you can't manage unless you're licensed and having a reporting mechanism that should clean up a lot of stuff that is going on," he said.

The first licenses will likely be issued early next year. 
There are about 9,300 condo corporations in Ontario. There are about 6,000 in the Toronto area. That includes townhouses, industrial and commercial condominiums as well as residential high rises.
Published in News Articles

TRI-CAN - JCO & Associates -  LAR and Owners

with conspiracy to commit fraud


The Competition Bureau announced that they have laid multiple criminal charges against four companies and three individuals.  The charges related to an alleged conspiracy to commit fraud and rig bids for condominium refurbishment services in the GTA Greater Toronto Area issued by private condominium corporations between 2009 a nd 2014.

Click for:  Full News Release Article     

"The companies and individuals are charged under the Criminal Code with conspiracy to rig bids, conspiracy to commit fraud, and fraud over $5,000"

1.  TRI-CAN Contract Incorporated and Owner Bob Vlahopoulos
2.  JCO & Associates (912547 Ontario Inc) and Owner Jose De Oliveira
3.  LAR Condominium Refurbishment Specialist 
4.  CPL Interiors Ltd. is also charged under conspiracy provision of Competition Act


Interesting Quick Facts


Bid Rigging Video

Published in Hot News Bulletin