As the only Association dedicated to the profession of Condominium Management in Ontario, ACMO has a well-defined complaints process. High standards and ethical practices are very important to us. Managers, Directors and Homeowners are encouraged to bring concerns to ACMO’s attention. Please see below our Guidelines for Complaints and Discipline.
Guidelines for Complaints and Discipline
Investigating and Screening
- The Ethics Committee is not obliged to investigate every complaint. If it is plain and obvious that a complaint will not lead to any significant action or if it appears that a complaint is frivolous or vexatious, the Ethics Committee can decline to investigate it.
- Generally, the Ethics Committee will not investigate a complaint unless the complainant has provided to the Ethics Committee all of the information he or she has in support of the complaint.
- Generally, the Ethics Committee will require a complainant to complete the attached form before it will investigate a complaint.
- While the complainant is asked to identify the provisions of the Codes of Ethics or by-laws that were infringed, the final determination of what might have been infringed remains up to the Ethics Committee.
- The Ethics Committee can initiate its own investigation, without a complaint, if it learns of concerns or allegations warranting further inquiry.
- An investigation can consist of corresponding with likely witnesses.
- Suggested timelines for conducting an investigation are as follows:
- Notice to the member of the complaint or concern: within one month after receipt;
- Response by member: within 21 days after notification;
- Approach of other possible witnesses or holders of relevant documents: two weeks after response by member or as deemed necessary by consensus of the Ethics Committee;
- Decision of Ethics Committee: three months after member’s response;
- Reasons for decision, notification to the member and any complainant: within 21 days after decision of Ethics Committee.
- Advice, caution or a warning by the Ethics Committee is a non-punitive, educational action designed to assist members to enhance their practices and to prevent further difficulties of a similar nature arising in the future.
- The Ethics Committee and the member, either of which can be represented by an agent or lawyer, are parties to the hearing.
- The Ethics Committee should prepare a notice of hearing setting out the allegations against the member and, if known, the time, date and place of the hearing and should formally serve it on the member.
- The Discipline Committee should set a date, time and place for the hearing.
- A hearing can be held electronically, if all parties agree, or in person or partly electronically, if all parties agree, and partly in person, at the discretion of the Discipline Committee. For an electronic hearing, rather than setting a place, the Discipline Committee should set out a means for participating in the hearing.
- All parties should disclose their cases to the other at least ten days prior to the hearing.
- A recording device or court reporter should record all of the evidence.
- The procedure before the Discipline Committee is informal. No formal rules of procedure or evidence apply. At any time, the Discipline Committee can give procedural directions to the parties.
- A hearing will usually begin with the Ethics Committee presenting its case through documents and witnesses. The member should then have its opportunity to present its documents and witnesses. The Ethics Committee may be given an opportunity to present reply documents and witnesses. All parties should be given an opportunity to make submissions to the Discipline Committee as to whether the allegations have been proven.
- If a finding is made against a member, all parties should be given an opportunity to introduce additional documents and witnesses and make additional submissions as to what order ought to be made.
- A reprimand is a private conversation or written communication between the members of the Discipline Committee and the member in which the members of the Discipline Committee have an opportunity to express their views of the member’s conduct and provide instruction as how the member might avoid similar improper conduct in the future. A reprimand has a punitive element to it. The content of an oral reprimand need not be recorded; only the fact of the reprimand and the finding to which it relates needs to be recorded.
- Hearings are not open to the membership or to the public.
- The Discipline Committee should issue written decisions and reasons.
- Suggested timelines for conducting a discipline hearing are as follows:
- Notice of the referral to the Board of Directors by the Ethics Committee: one week after the decision.
- Appointment of the members of the Discipline Committee: next Board meeting.
- Setting of discipline hearing date by Discipline Committee: two weeks after appointment.
- Hearing date: one to three months after hearing date set.
- Length of adjournments: no longer than one month.
- Release of decision and reasons: one month after the hearing and submissions are completed.
- Hearing date for evidence on submissions and order (if not on the same date as the hearing on finding): one month after release of the decision and reasons on finding.
- The guidelines for appeals are similar to those for hearings, with necessary modifications. The main difference is that no new evidence is introduced. Rather, submissions are made on the record of the discipline hearing.
- If the Appeal Committee refers a matter back to the Discipline Committee for a new hearing, it may direct that a differently composed Discipline Committee hear the matter. If the Appeal Committee is silent on the matter, the same Discipline Committee that heard the original matter can hold the new hearing.
- The members of a Committee or the Board of Directors should not have a direct interest in the outcome. However, it is recognized that the Association is relatively small and that any member will often have previous casual contact with the participants in an investigation, hearing or appeal. Such prior contact should not be deemed to constitute an appearance of bias.
- The members of a Committee or the Board of Directors should not have any private contact with any person in respect of a complaint and discipline matter. If another person initiates the contact, the member of the Committee or the Board of Directors should immediately terminate the contact and report it to the Chair of his or her Committee or Board. All contact should be through official channels as outlined in the by-laws and as further detailed in the correspondence with the participant. Where feasible, correspondence should have two or more names and signatures so that the recipient has some choice with whom to respond.
- A Committee may receive its own legal advice at the cost of the Association.
- Staff and Agents of the Association should provide administrative support to the Committees and the Board of Directors and maintain the official records of their activities. Staff and Agents should remain neutral throughout the process.
- A complainant may be advised as to the status of any investigation, hearing or appeal and provided a summary of the final decision. However, the complainant is not entitled to be present at a meeting or hearing of a Committee or to review the evidence gathered or heard unless a response is desired from the complainant. The complainant may also be provided with a summary of the reasons for the decision of a Committee at the discretion of the Committee.
- This guideline is to assist those involved in the investigation and enforcement of the Codes of Ethics and the by-laws. There is no obligation on a Committee or the Board of Directors to comply with the guideline. Non-compliance with any provision of this guideline by a Committee or the Board of Directors or its representative does not affect the validity of the actions taken.