Changes to Strata Legislation

Strata legislation is regularly updated. This page conveniently summarizes changes to strata legislation and related legislation since 2011, including strata-related legislative changes in progress.

Learn more on this page about:
Changes to Strata Legislation Since 2011
Related Legislative Changes
Legislative Changes In Progress
Ongoing Review of Strata Legislation
Strata Policy Decisions

Changes to Strata Legislation Since 2011
(listed from newest to oldest)

Please note it can take several weeks for legislative changes to be incorporated into the free online version of the Strata Property Act .

Bill 14 – 2020: Municipal Affairs and Housing Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2020 enacts various insurance-related amendments to the Strata Property Act and the Financial Institutions Act. Some of these changes came into effect at Royal Assent, while others will come into force at a later date by regulation.

Effective as of Royal Assent on August 14, 2020 strata corporations must inform owners as soon as feasible of any material change in the strata corporation’s insurance coverage, including increasing deductibles.

Other changes will be brought into force by regulation. More information is available on the strata housing website in the section on the Cost of Strata Corporation Insurance.

An Order-in-Council (OIC 270 2020) has amended the Strata Property Regulation in two ways:

  1. Helps strata corporations cope with the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing them to postpone a general meeting or take additional time to develop and implement a new meeting format (e.g., an electronic or restricted proxy meeting). This change will apply to future states of emergency as well. More details in the strata housing COVID-19 webpage in the section on Meetings and Decision-making.
  2. Clarifies that strata corporations can pay for rising insurance costs from their contingency reserve fund, without approval from owners, if payment is required before there is time to convene a general meeting. More details in the strata housing COVID-19 webpage in the section on Finances and Strata Fees.
 

Electronic AGMs (Annual General Meetings) during the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 15, 2020)

During the COVID-19 pandemic all strata corporations can hold electronic general meetings whether or not they have strata bylaws explicitly enabling this. Strata councils already have the ability to hold electronic meetings. More details on electronic general meetings and other options including restricted proxy meetings can be found in the strata housing COVID-19 webpages.

Strata Property Regulation 6.11 has been amended (OIC 101-2019 pdf) to clarify deposit insurance requirements for monies invested by strata corporations.

In 2014, this part of the Strata Property Regulation was amended to modernize and simplify the requirements for permitted investments for funds collected through special levy or held in a contingency reserve fund. The Regulation specified that certain investments (savings and chequing accounts, term deposits, and guaranteed investment certificates (GICs)) must be in accounts at financial institutions that are a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) or the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (CUDIC), and the deposit must be eligible for deposit insurance.

Accounts at financial institutions that are members of CUDIC have unlimited deposit insurance protection. However, as CDIC limits deposit insurance to the first $100,000 of the total amount on deposit, some strata corporations interpreted Regulation 6.11 to mean that the entire amount on deposit must be insured and believed they are required to divide their investments across many accounts to ensure no account exceeds the $100,000 limit. Many strata corporations have account balances well in excess of $100,000, and it was never intended that strata corporations administer a multitude of accounts to keep balances under the deposit insurance limit.

To reduce confusion and the perceived administrative burden on strata corporations, the language in Regulation 6.11 has been amended to clarify that that a strata corporation is compliant with the Regulation in situations where only a portion of an account is eligible for deposit insurance. The amendment takes effect immediately.

These amendments are part of ongoing efforts to reduce regulatory barriers and are expected to reduce the administrative burden on strata corporations.

Effective January 1, 2019 the Strata Property Act, requires strata corporations to also retain Civil Resolution Tribunal decisions under Section 35 which governs strata corporation records. 

Section 35 (2) (h) now reads "The strata corporation must retain copies of all of the following" . . . "any decision of an arbitrator or judge, or of the civil resolution tribunal, in a proceeding in which the strata corporation was a party, and any legal opinions obtained by the strata corporation;"

On July 18, 2018, strata regulation 7.1 (OIC 418-2018 pdf) was amended to allow strata corporations to impose a fine of up to $1,000 a day for owners or residents not complying with a strata bylaw limiting or banning short-term rentals. The previous allowable fine of $200 a week was not a sufficient deterrent. This new level of fine only applies to short-term rental bylaws.

This is one of the commitments in the Province's 30-point affordable housing plan announced February 20, 2018.

This new fine level is effective November 30, 2018, allowing short-term rental hosts time to comply with strata bylaws limiting or banning short-term rentals.

Effective March 7, 2018, amendments to Strata Property Regulation 6.9 (OIC 36/208 pdf) clarify that variable user fees are permitted for the use of strata common property.

A consumption-based rate may be charged to users to recover expenses as long as it is reasonable and in a strata bylaw or rule. For example:

  • water use in bare land strata corporations or
  • electricity usage for strata residents charging their electric vehicles.

These amendments are part of ongoing efforts to reduce regulatory barriers and are expected to promote the approval of and access to electric vehicle charging stations in strata properties.

Effective July 28, 2016, strata owners are now able to terminate the strata corporation by an 80% vote of all eligible voters instead of the previous unanimous voting requirement. The changes include court oversight to protect any minority dissenting owners and registered chargeholders (e.g. mortgage providers).

The Form B: Information Certificate was also updated to include any disclosure of a pending winding up (termination) resolution.

The Strata Property Regulation and Bare Land Strata Plan Cancellation Regulation are also amended to refer to the new 80 percent vote resolution and reflect the procedural rules that apply to the termination of a bare land strata corporation.

Learn more about termination (winding up) of a strata corporation.

View the Order In Council for the section references.

The new Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) enables strata residents to resolve many common disputes outside of court. Learn more on resolving strata disputes and the CRT.

Supporting changes have been made to the Strata Property Act: 

The Civil Resolution Tribunal does not have jurisdiction over some strata disputes, including those related to the termination of strata corporations.

View the Order In Council for specific sections.

As of January 18, 2016, British Columbia’s new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act and corresponding supporting changes to the Strata Property Act are now in effect:

  • Strata owners, occupants, tenants and visitors are able to have their certified guide dog or service dog on strata premises, regardless of strata bylaws banning or limiting pets or tenancy agreements.
  • Certified retired guide dog or service dog can remain living with handlers in rental or strata properties, even if a new dog has been certified to take over its duties.
  • Certified guide dogs and service dogs are not a specific breed or size – the focus of certification is on the dog’s training to support public safety.
  • Protections under the Human Rights Code may still apply to uncertified dog and handler teams –  strata corporations may wish to seek legal advice specific to their situations.

Learn more about what this means for strata corporations in pet bylaws.

Also check out the Ministry of Justice's webpages on guide and service dogs with detailed information on:

  • certification for guide and service dogs, retired service dogs, and dogs-in-training
  • legislation and policy
  • fees, forms and process
  • questions and answers

As of November 17, 2015 the Strata Property Act has been amended for greater clarity. Three minor strata "housekeeping" amendments in Bill 40 -2015- the Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 are in effect. These three amendments:

  • clarify the voting requirement for an application to court for a special levy, SPA Section 173,
  • remove confusion as to what the term “all the eligible voters” means, SPA Section 193 (3); and
  • clarify that regulation 6.11 for permitted investments applies to both contingency reserve funds and funds collected by special levy, SPA Section 292 (2) (l1).

Effective July 16, 2014, a strata corporation’s investment options have changed. In order to simplify and modernize what strata corporations may invest their contingency reserve funds and special levies in, the Province made changes to the Strata Property Regulation. The amendment clarifies the current regulation while enabling a wide range of high quality investment opportunities. Most existing accounts or investments actually used by strata corporations would qualify under this regulation. Any existing investments that do not comply with the amended regulation are "grandfathered" until they mature or are sold. View the Order In Council for the detailed information.

On April 9, 2014 the adoption of Bill 12 (the Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act) made some amendments to the Strata Property Act. In general, the amendments make it easier for strata corporations to carry out their repair and maintenance responsibilities, clarifying requirements and refining problematic definitions. A strata corporation may now pay for repairs from the contingency reserve fund (CRF) by majority vote (instead of a 3/4 vote) if they are specifically recommended by their depreciation report. The strata corporation may also may pay for a depreciation report from the CRF by majority vote. Or the strata corporation can pay for a depreciation report from the operating fund, also by majority vote. Other minor changes clarified the definition of purchaser and that storage locker allocations are required records. 

Effective January 1, 2014 strata corporations must identify how parking spaces and storage lockers are allocated to strata lots on the updated “Form B: Information Certificate. This was passed by regulation on December 14, 2011.

On December 12, 2013 the Province brought into force legislative amendments to allow strata corporations with majority support to apply to the BC Supreme Court to require strata owners to pay for certain repairs. Under the amendment the court can issue an order to proceed with certain critical repairs necessary to ensure safety and prevent significant loss or damage as if the strata owners have passed a resolution endorsing a special levy. Prior to this amendment the Strata Property Act had required a 3/4 vote to impose a special levy to raise money for needed repairs to common property. Without this amendment, a number of strata corporations would have remained deadlocked and deteriorating. View the revised Section 173 of the Strata Property Act for the above changes.

On February 28, 2013, the Province passed Order-in-Council Number 090, containing amendments to the Strata Property Regulation on the retention of depreciation and repair/maintenance reports as well as when a new strata corporation must obtain its first depreciation report. Any strata corporation formed after December 14, 2011, must obtain its first depreciation report within six months of the date of the strata corporation's second annual general meeting (or, if holding the second AGM was waived, the last date by which the strata corporation would otherwise have held this meeting). A strata corporation must permanently retain any depreciation report that it obtains. In addition, any reports obtained by a strata corporation respecting repair or maintenance of major items, including those commissioned for completing a depreciation report, must be retained until the items are disposed of or replaced.

Effective March 1, 2012 (passed by regulation on December 14, 2011) the "Form B: Information Certificate" was revised to disclose the following information for prospective purchasers: any rules for the strata corporation; the "Form J: Rental Disclosure Statement" for the strata lot; the current budget and the most recent depreciation report, if any.

On December 14, 2011 the provincial government brought into effect regulations requiring most strata corporations to obtain depreciation reports by December 12, 2013 and update the reports every three years. Strata corporations can waive the requirement for depreciation reports by an annual 3/4 vote. Strata corporations with four, or fewer, strata lots are not required to obtain depreciation reports.

On December 14, 2011 the provincial government brought into effect regulations allowing strata corporations to make contributions to the contingency reserve fund (CRF), above the 25% minimum, by majority vote as part of the budgeting process at the annual general meeting (AGM). Previously an annual 3/4 vote had been required to make contributions to the CRF if the CRF was more than 100% of annual operating expenses. 

 

Related Legislative Changes

Limitation Period: On June 1, 2013, the basic limitation period under the BC Limitation Act for debt collection changed to two years. For strata corporations this means that some debts - such as special levies and strata fees - that become due and owing are generally not collectable after a two-year period.

Since the Limitation Act was changed in 2013, subsequent court cases and Civil Resolution Tribunal decisions have indicated that the two-year limitation period does not apply to the collection of strata fines.

Non-Medical Use of Cannabis: effective October 17, 2018 Canadians now have legal access for non-medical use of cannabis subject to provincial regulations; medical use of cannabis has been legal since 2001, subject to federal requirements. For more information please read the strata housing webpage "Non-Smoking Bylaws in Stratas" with links to other resources.

BC Electrical Code changes for Electric Vehicle Energy Management Systems: Amendments to the BC Electrical Safety Regulation came into effect on January 1, 2020. The amendments mean that building owners and managers using an Electric Vehicle Energy Management System, including strata corporations, may not be required to calculate electrical load based on 100% of the demand of the electric vehicle supply equipment installed. Please consult a qualified field safety representative electrician, technologist, or engineer for questions or information about this change.

Legislative Changes In Progress

August 14, 2020: The Province has brought in some legislative changes with respect to strata insurance; other changes will happen after further consultation. More information is available on the strata housing website in the section on the Cost of Strata Corporation Insurance.

Review of Strata Legislation

To ensure the legislation meets the needs of the strata community and stakeholders and is working as intended, the Province regularly reviews the Strata Property Act and regulations.

With support from the Province of British Columbia, the BC Law Institute (BCLI) has concluded a five year review of the Strata Property Act and regulations which had many opportunities for public review and comment.

Suggestions and concerns with respect to strata legislation can also be made at any time to Housing Policy Branch, Office of Housing and Construction Standards in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Strata Policy Decisions

Audited Financial Statements are not legally required. After consultation with strata owners and the strata community in 2011, the provincial government decided not to require strata corporations to obtain audited financial statements. Strata corporations may still choose to have their financial statements audited.


Find it Fast: a convenient site map listing all the topics on the Province's Strata Housing website.

Disclaimer: The information on this strata housing website is provided for the user’s convenience as a basic starting point; it is not a substitute for getting legal advice. Please learn more about the site’s purpose and limits.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: August 18, 2020.