Canada's Condominium Magazine
New legislation in Ontario could address elevator availability and reliability. The Reliable Elevators Act is part of the province’s commitment to tackle the growing vertical mobility issue that has spread throughout the country. The move is largely due to a recent report that aimed to define and enhance elevator reliability while ensuring that building owners and property managers keep elevators up to code through routine maintenance.
“There are currently no minimum preventive maintenance standards in Ontario to minimize future availability issues.” said retired justice Douglas Cunningham in the report. “Compliance with minimum maintenance standards for safety, shown to signal more effective preventive maintenance practices, is at an all-time low.”
New legislation and building code amendments would ensure reliability as well as a suitable number of elevators. Data on elevator uptimes will also be made readily available to the public, providing tenants with information about specific buildings while also allowing authorities to determine problem areas. Part of the legislation also includes education and awareness materials for building owners and residence, providing information on requirements for service and compliance in delivering adequate notice of disruptions.
Recommendations also include forcing contractors to report outages over 48 hours in duration or those exceeding half the number of available elevators within a building. When problems do arise, they need to be addressed quickly. The following are a list of requirements and changes imposed under the new legislation, set to be enforced beginning this spring:
- Elevators in residential buildings must fixed within 14 days.
- Elevators in seniors’ homes and long-term care facilities must be fixed within 7 days.
- Applications for new building permits would require the inclusion of elevator traffic analysis.
While buildings over seven storeys are currently only required to have one elevator, no regulations exist for the maintenance and repair of the elevator should problems arise. Prior to the development of the legislation, Dong conducted months of research with residents within his riding. “One resident told me that when the elevator goes out of service, seniors in his building, who cannot use the stairs, become trapped in their apartment,” said Dong. “They cannot go out for groceries, and they sometimes have to give up their medical appointments.”
The Reliable Elevators Act also seeks to amend the definition of a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act, making the building owner a consumer and the contractor a service provider, thus subjecting neglectful contractors to a range of punitive measures including black-listing, public shaming, and prosecution. Furthermore, these contractors could face fines of up to $250,000.