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Feb. 8, 2021

Maureen Hancharyk on the Canadian Condominium Institute

Maureen Hancharyk on the Canadian Condominium Institute

Maureen Hancharyk is Manitoba Chapter President of the Canadian Condominium Institute, commonly known as CCI. She is also actively involved in her own community, Stonecrest Condominiums in Winnipeg. In this episode we talk about CCI, membership benefits,...


Maureen Hancharyk is Manitoba Chapter President of the Canadian Condominium Institute, commonly known as CCI. She is also actively involved in her own community, Stonecrest Condominiums in Winnipeg. In this episode we talk about CCI, membership benefits, and the importance of being involved in your own condominium corporation.

Transcript

Adrian:

I'm joined today by Maureen Hancharyk. Maureen is really the long time president of the Canadian Condominium Institute, Manitoba Chapter. Welcome Maureen.

Maureen:

Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Adrian:

Maureen, perhaps a little bit about yourself, how did you get involved with CCI? And what does your role entail?

Maureen:

Okay, well, first of all, I've been a condo owner for about 14 years, and I got involved with CCI when my condo corporation first became involved, I was on the board of my condo corporation. So, we started receiving the newsletter and I was concerned, I felt that there weren't enough condo owners on the board. There were many people that were working in the industry, but not enough condo owners, and so I did get involved and I'm happy to have done so. I served on the board for a few years and then became president.

Adrian:

Now, what exactly is CCI? And what type of members does it have?

Maureen:

Well, we like to call ourselves the condo connection, CCI, Manitoba Chapter. It is a national organization. We are currently the only national organization that represents chapters across the country. There are 17 chapters and we, in our little byline, we like to say that we do lead the condominium industry because we provide education awareness access, networking resources, and most of our expertise is by and for our members. So, in other words, our board of directors is made up of people who are members are of CCI, Manitoba Chapter.

Adrian:

Now, are there any professional standards or designations offered by CCI?

Maureen:

There used to be. And then over about the past five years, legislation changed almost in every province across the country. So, the exams that were taken were thought to be not the proper vehicle because legislation had changed so much and... So, they now have gone to a new committee who is looking at what they can do to move to a different model, because they want to recognize all professionals across the industry, and they feel that the process to achieve that really does need to be adjusted. So we're hopeful that, that will happen in very near future.

Adrian:

What benefits have you personally experienced being a member of CCI?

Maureen:

Oh my goodness. I just feel so enriched having been a member of CCI. I'm actively involved, I network with people that have the same common interests. I'm able to use my skills and talents that I used all throughout my working career, at facilitating, presenting, chairing meetings. I enjoy networking nationally as well, we meet twice a year. Certainly this past year we've had to do it virtually, but it's just been a super opportunity to become so much more knowledgeable about every aspect of the condo industry and the condo community. I'm more knowledgeable about the condominium act, more knowledgeable about working together as a team and in fact how my own personal bylaws and declaration affect me as a condo owner.

Adrian:

Why should unit owners get involved with their own condominium board?

Maureen:

Well, condominiums are owned just like when you owned a single family dwelling, and certainly you want to protect your investment, you want to have input into the decisions that are made by the board. An owner should be knowledgeable about what's happening, not only in your own condo corporation and in your own community, but other issues that might affect you. Civic issues or municipal issues, for example, last year, there was some talk about the city of Winnipeg discontinuing garbage collection at condominiums, and so condos got involved and I think owners need to be involved in those issues because it's going to protect their investment, it's going to cost them money. In some cases, for example, the garbage collection issue hadn't been resolved, they should join because they should know what condo fees are being used for.

Adrian:

What do you think boards can do to avoid unit owner apathy?

Maureen:

Well, that's an interesting question and we do get concerns from other condo corporations at times about apathy. I think communicate, communicate, communicate by any means, newsletters, open forums, emails to unit owners, posters being put up, be very transparent, let people know what's going on, and I think approaching owners as individuals to get them involved. There's many aspects of getting involved in a condominium corporation. You can become a member of the board, you might want to become a member of the gardening committee. Just get involved, it's tremendously beneficial.

Adrian:

And just generally speaking, if you're a board member of your condominium corporation, are there some high level benefits that one may enjoy getting involved with CCI?

Maureen:

Oh, most definitely. And I would say that the most positive feedback we get is about the networking, the networking with other condominium directors, boards of directors, and with owners. Condo owners if your corporation belongs to CCI, Manitoba Chapter, then you belong, you are a member. You're entitled to come to our educational events, which currently are being held virtually, but, often times in the past were held at a regular monthly meeting, and owners were just... They loved the idea of networking with other condominium owners and getting feedback on issues, how do you resolve this? What do you do about this?

Maureen:

We provide other opportunities to do that as well. We have a president's forum and we do everything in our power to get our condominium corporations, our owners, and our boards to interact and network with each other.

Adrian:

Obviously being an Institute or perhaps an association, there may be a sense that it is just a professional environment, but do you also feel a sense of community that CCI provides?

Maureen:

Oh, no question. All of the people on our board of directors at CCI are either living or working in the community. They're very knowledgeable, and I think they all bring all of their skills and talents to the board. I think the condo owners do as well because they have the perspective of living there, and certainly the lawyers know about the legal aspects and realtors, and we have property managers and insurance brokers, trades and contractors, appraisers and auditor's, accountants. We all bring something special to our board of directors, and we are all equally interested in the condo community as a whole.

Adrian:

What do you love about condominium living?

Maureen:

I think the community... I was a homeowner my entire life, lived in a home not far from here and I loved living in my home, but there wasn't the sense of community for me, where I lived, that I feel in this condo community. There's so much going on and there's so much you can get involved with, or you don't have to, if you're that kind of person. There's social events, I know my neighbors, unlike when I was living in a single family dwelling and I walked into my garage, got in my car and drove away.

Maureen:

There is a certain amount of freedom of living in a condominium, not as much as I once anticipated. You still have to have someone check your place the odd time when you're on vacation, but the freedom of... When I first purchased my condo I was working. The freedom of getting up at seven in the morning and getting ready to go to work and my driveway was already shoveled, not having to do gardening. And I did love gardening, but it's not a chore, I don't have to cut the grass. It's just a wonderful community and I have really embraced living here.

Adrian:

For those condominiums that use a professional property management company. What do you think is the most important thing for a board and their assigned property manager to have a successful relationship?

Maureen:

Oh my goodness. Be a team. Just in exclamation marks, be a team. I've heard tale of some condo corporations where it's the board against the owners, the owners against the property manager, the board and the property manager must act as a team. That doesn't mean that when they get to the board table, they can't have differences of opinion.

Maureen:

At the end of the day the board makes the decisions and the property manager acts on those decisions and should value the expertise and the knowledge that a property manager brings from working with trades, et cetera. But they really need to act as a team

Adrian:

Who can become a member of CCI?

Maureen:

Oh, my goodness. Anybody living or working in the condominium community. So, all of the trades people that I mentioned earlier, all of the professionals, any unit owner can become a member, the boards of directors can become members as a corporation. We're open to all people living and working in the condominium community.

Adrian:

And correct me if I'm wrong, but for a condominium corporation, to become a member, they can either do so by contacting their property manager, or of course, CCI, Manitoba Chapter directly and its website is cci-manitoba.ca, and who would they speak with there?

Maureen:

They would speak with our Chapter administrator and she would absolutely get them set up with a membership, and again, also through the property manager.

Adrian:

Well, Maureen, it's been a real pleasure having you on this episode of, I love Winnipeg Real Estate, and I certainly hope to have you back on the show again soon. Thanks so much.

Maureen:

Thank you, Adrian.