Posted on May 31, 2023
MEDIA STATEMENT -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Download a printable pdf of this release here.
Mississauga, ON, May 29, 2023:
To address a critical housing shortage, the Ontario Government recently announced an ambitious plan to build 1.5 million homes in 10 years, including a significant number of new condominiums. In fact, according to the research firm Urbanation, a record 25,000 new condominium unit completions are planned for 2023, with an additional 100,000 units planned to be completed between 2024 and 2028. All of this raises concerns within the condo management industry about how these new buildings will be managed, considering there is already a severe shortage of licensed condominium managers.
Condominium managers are responsible for managing and overseeing the day-to-day operations of a condominium corporation, including maintenance, financial management, and resident relations. They play a critical role in ensuring that condominiums are well-maintained, financially sound, and compliant with relevant laws and regulations. Without adequate management, condominium buildings can quickly fall into disrepair, leading to a host of problems for residents, including escalating long-term repair and replacement costs and potential owner assessments, safety hazards, financial instability, and legal issues. Ultimately this leads to a decrease in residents' satisfaction and a decline in the value of the condominium units.
Since 2017, as required by the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015, condominium corporations in Ontario must be managed by someone holding a valid General Licence issued by the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO), except when the condo corporation is self-managed by a volunteer board. To achieve a General Licence, the manager must have completed six educational courses through the CMRAO and provided condominium management services for two or more years. At that point, they can act as the principal condominium manager for a licensed condominium management company or work directly for a condominium corporation. In order to maintain their licence, as of July 2023, managers are also required to complete 10 hours of continuing education each year.
Currently, 2,543 General Licence holders manage over 12,400 condominium corporations, representing 900,000+ units throughout Ontario. The CMRAO reports that there are 5.3 condo corporations for every General Licensee. This assumes that every General Licensee in Ontario oversees multiple condominiums in each of their portfolios, which is simply not the case.
Catherine Murdock, Registered Condominium Manager (RCM®) and District Manager for Del Property Management Inc. with 31 years of condominium management experience, notes, "In my experience, a solitary manager of a stand-alone building can comfortably manage about 270 high-rise units. This means preparing monthly meetings with one board of directors, one annual budget meeting and one AGM. Managers have an extremely robust job description ensuring the safety and comfort of the residents, monitoring contractors, and the additional administrative tasks implemented by the new condominium authorities."
Based on this assumption, 3,333 General Licence holders are required to manage the inventory of 900,000 units in Ontario. There are only 2,543 at present, a sizable shortage. Some of the management burden created by this shortfall is carried by the province’s 1,638 Limited Licence holders, who assist with the day-to-day administration of a condominium. However, there are many tasks that they are not legally able to do, such as entering contract agreements, signing status certificates, and investing or making expenditures from a corporation's reserve fund.
It must be remembered that the Limited Licence is an entry-level licence that does not require any condominium management experience or training and is intended for a condo administrator or assistant manager. They are only required to take an introductory course by the CMRAO. Limited Licence holders can only work under the supervision of a General Licensed manager, and not all Limited Licensees will succeed in becoming a General Licensee or aspire to do so.
Further compounding the shortfall is the recent trend experienced in all business sectors, where baby boomers are retiring in record numbers leaving a huge management gap. A recent membership survey by the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) found that 57% of the managers who responded were aged 55 or more, with 13% over the age of 65 and approaching retirement. Only 5% of respondents were under the age of 34, echoing the industry trend of insufficient people entering the professions to replace those retiring.
So who is going to manage all of the new condominium corporations planned for the future? It is incumbent on all industry stakeholders to address this issue to ensure the long-term success of condo living in Ontario.
First, the government, specifically the CMRAO, should work cooperatively with industry stakeholders to develop a plan to recruit, educate and licence more condominium managers. This could include promoting the career path through Ontario colleges and government retraining programs such as the Ontario Bridge Training Program and offering incentives to enter the field. Another possibility is to keep licensing education and licensing fees as low as possible to help reduce a formidable barrier to entry into the condo management field and improve manager retention.
Similarly, the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO), the provider of resources and mandatory training for condo directors, must educate condo boards and, in turn, owners about the importance of getting quality management, which comes with a higher fee.
Second, industry associations such as the Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO), the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) must continue their efforts to bring awareness of the manager shortage to the public, support those working within the condominium management industry with resources and continuing education, and promote the profession as a viable career path.
And last but not least, condominium corporations and their management firms must work together to keep salaries competitive to attract those considering condominium management as a career. Traditionally, low salaries in the condominium management industry are often cited as a key factor contributing to the shortage of qualified professionals in the field. Most condominium corporations are pressured by their owners to keep condo fees low. As a result, when selecting management firms, they often prioritize cost-cutting measures over quality management, forcing management firms to limit what they pay managers and/or increase the workload of their managers. As such, managers are often required to manage multiple condo corporations within a portfolio to earn more, reducing their dedicated time to each, impacting the quality of service provided.
Robert Weinberg, RCM, President and CEO of Percel Inc., reminds us that "Property managers don't manage a desk. They manage multi-million dollar corporations and protect what is likely the largest financial investment made by its owners. They should be shown the respect they have earned and be paid commensurate to their expertise, experience and importance of this role."
Although salaries have improved in the past few years, it is attributed to an abnormally high turnover among condominium managers as they switch employers in an effort to find better-paying opportunities elsewhere. This forces condo management firms to increase their compensation to retain existing managers or hire managers away from other firms at a higher rate.
Dean McCabe, RCM, President of The Meritus Group Management Inc., says, "With a limited number of existing General Licensees and the recent delay in providing education to management candidates due to the change in educational requirements, many management firms are continuously searching for qualified managers or trying to develop new talent from the pool of Limited Licensees." He continues, "Boards must also be willing to hire Limited Licensees who are gaining the required experience to advance their careers while they work."
The good news is that the unprecedented demand for managers presents an excellent opportunity for individuals looking for a fulfilling career path that offers recession-proof job security and massive growth potential. But more needs to be done to promote the condominium management profession and reduce the barriers to entry.
The shortage of condominium managers in Ontario is a significant issue that needs to be addressed urgently. By implementing the strategies mentioned above, the industry can attract more qualified professionals and ensure that condominiums are appropriately managed and maintained, providing a safe and comfortable living environment for residents.
# # #
About The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO)The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) is the voice of condominium management in Ontario and the only professional association solely dedicated to supporting, educating, and promoting condominium managers and management firms. Since 1977, we have cultivated an engaged learning community of more than 1,700 members pursuing excellence in the field of condominium management. ACMO offers a connection to a community where members have opportunities to develop professionally, advance their collective interests, and increase their value to employers and clients. We provide professional designations, continuing education, resources, expertise, networking, and advocacy while adhering to higher standards that go beyond the minimum licensing requirements. We are ACMO – Elevating Condominium Management.
Tracey Doherty, Manager, Marketing & Communications
(905) 826-6890, x203