Civil Resolution Tribunal
The Civil Resolution Tribunal provides an accessible forum for the resolution of a wide variety of strata property disputes and small claims matters. The tribunal encourages people to use a broad range of collaborative dispute resolution tools to resolve their disputes as early as possible, while still preserving adjudication as a valued last resort. It is intended, as with the Family Law Act, to encourage a collaborative, problem-solving approach to dispute resolution, rather than the traditional adversarial litigation model.
In order to cut cost, delay and complexity for the users of B.C.’s justice system, the Civil Resolution Tribunal combines technology, case management and dispute resolution processes. The CRT is the first step for people with small claims (up to $5000) and many types of strata disputes. People will have, however, the right to request that a court hear their matter.
The Civil Resolution Tribunal has authority to resolve:
- Small claims disputes where the parties decide to take the matter to the tribunal instead of the court, up to a maximum value of $5,000 for
- Debt or damages
- Recovery of personal property
- Specific performance of an agreement relating to personal property or services, or
- Relief from opposing claims to personal property
The CRT does not have legal authority to deal with:
- a claim for libel, slander or malicious prosecution
- a claim for or against the government
- a claim excluded from the authority of the CRT by regulations (there are no such exclusions as of now)
- a constitutional question (any question requiring notice under section 8 of the Constitutional Question Act)
- a question of whether there is a conflict between the Human Rights Code and another law.
For further clarification, the Small Claims Court does not have legal authority to deal with:
- an interest in land
- personal property security
- wills and estates
- libel and slander
- malicious prosecution
- residential tenancy (though Residential Tenancy Branch orders may be enforced in Provincial Court), and
- almost all builders’ lien matters.
In addition, the federal government cannot be sued in Provincial Court.
- The CRT will accept strata disputes between owners of strata properties and strata corporations for a wide variety of matters such as:
- Non-payment of monthly strata fees or fines
- Unfair actions by the strata corporation or by people owning more than half of the strata lots in a complex
- Uneven, arbitrary or non-enforcement of strata bylaws (such as noise, pets, parking, rentals)
- Issues of financial responsibility for repairs and the choice of bids for services
- Irregularities in the conduct of meetings, voting, minutes or other matters
- Interpretation of the legislation, regulations or bylaws, and
- Issues regarding the common property
Note that the tribunal will not decide strata matters that affect land, such as:
- Ordering the sale of a strata lot
- Court orders respecting rebuilding damaged real property
- Dealing with developers and phased strata plans
- Determining each owners’ per cent share in the strata complex (the “Schedule of Unit Entitlement”)
Such strata matters will continue to be heard in the Supreme Court, as will the following matters:
- Appointment of an administrator to run the strata corporation
- Orders vesting authority in a liquidator
- Applications to wind up a strata corporation
- Allegations of conflicts of interest by council members, or
- Appointment of voters when there is no person to vote in respect of a strata lot
How the Civil Resolution Tribunal works
The Civil Resolution Tribunal encourages early resolution of disputes through online information and resolution, telephone facilitation and other such services. The CRT offers free self-help information pathways and tools that can be used to help people better understand the issues and explore early resolution options in strata disputes and small claims. Participants in a dispute can work on disputes through the CRT on their smartphones, laptops and tablets 24/7, from the convenience and comfort of their home. Telephone and mail services are also available for those who can’t access the internet.
Those who can’t resolve on their own can apply to the CRT for help – creating a resolution with the others involved or getting a binding, expert decision from a tribunal member. The tribunal has been resolving strata disputes since July 2016, encouraging collaborative agreements and making binding decisions when people cannot agree. For the small number of cases where formal adjudication is required, the tribunal actively case manages the dispute so that the adjudication is conducted quickly and efficiently. In all cases, the level of resources applied to a dispute will be proportionate to the nature of the dispute and the issues involved.
Note that different stages will involve different ways for your to interact with the tribunal and the other side of your dispute (online, telephone, mail, in person):