What the Ontario COVID-19 vaccine passport means for condo amenities

Sep 3 2021, 7:51 pm

The Ford Government announced on Wednesday that Ontario is getting its very own vaccine passport, bringing with it questions of access to commonly used amenities and facilities, including those inside condo and apartment buildings.

Starting September 22, proof of vaccination will be required for a long list of public settings, with an “enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate” taking effect one month later, on October 22. The list of venues with restricted access includes facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training such as gyms. Meeting and event spaces will also require proof of vaccination.

The requirements, however, do not apply to amenities inside condo and apartment buildings, a spokesperson for the provincial government confirmed to Daily Hive.

“Condo buildings are not considered public settings or facilities,” the Province said in a statement. “However the condo board may implement their own rules respecting use of condo gyms or media rooms. These condos may wish to consult their legal counsel if they are considering such a measure.”

Condo attorney Josh Milgrom of Lash Condo Law, a boutique law firm in Toronto, agreed that condo buildings have the option to implement a vaccine requirement for amenities if they wish to do so.

“Condo buildings have an obligation to ensure the property is reasonably safe, manage the common elements — including the amenities– prevent dangerous conditions on the property, and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for those working on the property,” Milgrom said. “In order to satisfy its obligations to keep the property safe, condo buildings can implement proof of vaccination for certain shared amenities, such as gyms, pools, etc.,”

It’s possible, Milgrom says, that the requirements may vary from amenity to amenity, and notes that all requirements would be subject to legitimate human rights-related exceptions.

“The decision about implementing a proof of vaccination requirement may depend on the type of amenity and the risk of transmission in that particular amenity, for example, an outdoor terrace vs. an indoor gym,” Milgrom said.

If mandatory vaccine restrictions are, in fact, put in place for a condo building, unvaccinated residents who can’t utilize all of the amenities would not receive any sort of discount on their condo fees.

“They would still be required to pay their full condo fees,” Milgrom said.

Condo buildings are also allowed to require that all workers and contractors in the building be fully vaccinated, which could include real estate agents.

Although it’s not required under the provincial law, Strata.ca realtor Sam Massoudi says he wouldn’t be surprised to see proof of vaccination required for open houses or showings.

“Assuming it is not set out in the rules, I think it is not unlikely for individual agents or brokerages to ask for vaccination status, especially if the property is occupied, whether tenanted or owner occupied,” Massoudi told Daily Hive.

But with the real estate world having adapted fairly easily without in-person showings and open houses, fellow realtor Cyrus Ghazvini says it shouldn’t cause too many issues.

“As seen during the pandemic, the real estate industry wasn’t as affected by lockdowns like the restaurant or entertainment industry,” Ghazvini said. “With that said, I think there will be a more relaxed approach if certification is required for realtors as part of their work. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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