Picture
Picture
Name and Title
John De Vellis
Partner
Partner
Year of Call

2002 (Ontario)

Memberships
  • Canadian Bar Association
Publications
Description

It's a common scenario in condominium corporations: during a dispute, anonymous email accounts or Facebook pages begin spreading rumours and making false accusations against board members, management or staff.

An Ottawa condo corporation facing this scenario managed to obtain a court order directing the email provider to identify the author of anonymous messages.

In this case, an anonymous email was sent to board members and unit owners after the resignation of the corporation's superintendent. The sender alleged that the board allowed a contractor to harass the superintendent because members of the board were receiving illegal kickbacks from the contractor. Cease and desist letters were sent to the anonymous email account but the messages continued.

The condo corporation wanted to sue the sender for defamation but didn’t know who was sending the emails. The group was prepared to go to court to find out the identity of the sender.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please clickhere to read the complete story.

Date_Published
2017-09-22
Publication
Description

John de Vellis head shotThe applicants are owners of units at Metropolitan Condominium Corporation No. 949 ("MTCC 949") which is a two-tower condominium complex in Toronto. They are both lawyers.


Since its construction in the 1990s, MTCC 949 has contracted for television services pursuant to a bulk services contract with Rogers, the costs of which were charged to unit owners as a common expense. In June 2016 MTCC entered into a bulk services agreement with a new service provider, Frontline, to provide bundled television and internet services (the "Frontline Agreement").

Date_Published
2017-09-20
Description

Shibley Righton's John De Vellis appeared on CondoVoice's podcast to talk about a recent case concerning harassment in condo buildings.

To listen to the podcase please click here.

Date_Published
2017-08-23
Description

An article in CondoVoice where Shibley Righton's John De Vellis and Joel Berkovitz discuss Harassment of Managers or Staff being a serious problem for Condo Corporations.

To read the complete article please click here.

Date_Published
2017-08-23
Description

Two recent decisions demonstrate how far the courts are willing to go to deal with disruptive condominium owners and tenants, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.

“These court decisions are welcome news for condo corporations because they show that abusive and harassing behaviour will not be tolerated,” says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

In the first case, a condo owner’s behaviour grew increasingly bizarre and eventually became threatening and dangerous, De Vellis tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The condo corporation ultimately took the case to court, claiming the woman’s behaviour constituted workplace harassment as defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and that she breached s.117 of the Condominium Act by harassing, threatening, intimidating, verbally abusing and physically assaulting a staff member.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the full story.

Date_Published
2017-06-09
Description

A recent decision that allowed a condo corporation to unilaterally amend an oppressive shared facilities agreement is an important win for the condo community, Toronto condominium lawyers Armand Conant, Deborah Howden and John De Vellis write in Condo Voice magazine.

In its August ruling in TSCC No. 2130 v. York Bremner Developments Limited, the Ontario Superior Court upheld the condo corporation’s decision to amend a shared facilities agreement under s. 113 of the Condominium Act, 1998, write Conant, partner and head of the condominium law group at Shibley Righton LLP, and Howden and De Vellis, partners with the firm.

“Under s. 113 of the Act, the court may make such an order if the application is filed within one year of turn-over and the court is satisfied that the disclosure statement did not clearly and adequately disclose the provisions of the agreement and the agreement produces a result that is oppressive or unconscionably prejudicial to the corporation,” they write in the article.

As is increasingly common in new condo developments, write Conant, Howden and De Vellis, the shared facilities were part of a large, complex development involving other commercial owners, including the developer.

This article appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here for the fully story.

Date_Published
2016-10-20
Description

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal judgment may resolve a long-standing question in the courts as to whether terminated employees are entitled to bonus payments earned during their notice period, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.

"Historically, there’s been a fair amount of uncertainly around the issue of bonus payments in wrongful termination cases,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Employers fall back on their bonus policies that state employees are eligible to receive bonuses if they’re employed as of a specific date, whereas employees generally argue they should be deemed to be actively employed until the end of the notice period.”

This articles appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the full story.

Date_Published
2016-10-18
Publication
Description

Landmark Decision Allows Condo Corporation to Unilaterally
Amend Oppressive Shared Facilities Agreement

In a huge win for the condo community, the Ontario Superior Court on August 26, 2016 upheld a Toronto condominium corporation's decision to amend a shared facilities agreement under s. I IS of the Condominium Act, 1998.

In TSCC No. 2130 v. York Bremner Developments Limited, the condo corporation applied for an order terminating or amending a shared facilities agreement. Under s. I IS of the Act, the court may make such an order if the application is filed within one year of turn-over and the court is satisfied that the disclosure statement did not clearly and adequately disclose the provisions of the agreement and the agreement produces a result that is oppressive or unconscionably prejudicial to the corporation.

With respect to the question of clear and adequate disclosure, the court found that the adequacy of the disclosure is tied to the oppressive outcome. As is increasingly common in new condo developments, the shared facilities were part of a large, complex development involving other commercial owners, including the developer, which continued to own the commercial components within the complex, and whose agent is also the manager of the shared facilities. The court found that the disclosure statement failed to adequately disclose important features of the shared facilities agreement that gave the declarant, or its agent, complete control over the management, repairs and budget of the shared facilities, with no input whatsoever by the condo corporation. Significantly, the court found that the disclosure was inadequate despite the fact that the entire agreement was appended to the disclosure statement. "The statute", said the court, "requires more than just the disclosure of the document."

The court ultimately found that the shared facilities agreement was oppressive toward the condo corporation's rights because, among other things, it allowed for a powerful, non-arm's length shared facilities manager who was heavily biased in favour of the developer and commercial owners. Though the court confirmed it was not illegal to have a one-sided agreement in and of itself, the corporation had a reasonable expectation that the shared facilities manager would treat the corporation fairly under the terms of the agreement. Instead, the shared facilities manager took an unreasonable approach to the agreement and unfairly disregarded the corporation's legitimate interests.

In the end, the court did not terminate the agreement outright, as doing so would create a void that would not likely be filled. Rather, the court amended the agreement to insert a provision allowing TSCC 2130 to terminate the shared facilities manager.

The decision is an important victory for the condominium community. It opens the door for other new condominium corporations, which have been saddled with unfair and oppressive shared facilities agreements, to look to the courts for a remedy.

Date_Published
2016-09-23
Description

Although several features of the Condominium Act, 1998 are designed specifically to protect consumers, a recent ruling that considered the interplay of two of these sections may have applied them in a way that produced a negative result for condo owners, Toronto condominium lawyer John De Vellis writes in Lawyers Weekly.

As De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, explains, s. 112 of the act allows a condominium corporation — within one year of the date purchasers assume control of the board — to terminate certain agreements entered into on the corporation’s behalf by the developer-controlled board.

Meanwhile, s. 97 of the act provides that the board of a corporation must give notice to owners, or in some circumstances, receive prior approval of owners, before implementing an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements or services provided by the corporation.\

This article appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  To read the full story please click here.

Date_Published
2016-09-14
Description

While statutory lien rights usually give a holder extraordinary power over other creditors, they are subject to specific timelines — and as one recent decision shows, when timelines are exceeded, courts are often reluctant to revive those rights, Toronto condo lawyer John De Vellis writes in Lawyers Weekly.

Trez Capital v. Wynford Professional Centre Ltd. 2015 ONSC 2794 involved a condominium corporation with large arrears in common expense payments owed by one owner of many units in the corporation, De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, explains.

“Under the Condominium Act, 1998, common expense payments owed by unit owners are protected via a lien. The condo corporation’s lien, if properly registered in accordance with the act, takes priority over all other encumbrances, even prior mortgages. It is an important consumer protection device as it ensures that a condominium corporation will not lose the ability to finance itself just because its owners have large mortgages that may wipe out the condo corporation’s ability to recover,” says De Vellis.

This story appeared on AdvocateDail.com.  Please click here for the full article.

Date_Published
2016-08-19
Description

Statutory lien rights are valuable legal instruments that usually give the holder extraordinary powers over other creditors. But they are created to address a specific need and, for that reason, are given specific timelines. When those timelines are exceeded such that the statutory lien period has expired, courts are loath to revive the statutory rights, even in situations where it may be equitable to do so.

That was the situation in Trez Capital v. Wynford Professional Centre Ltd. 2015 ONSC 2794. For the full story please click here

This article appeared in The Lawyers Weekly

Date_Published
2016-06-28
Description

Condo buyers need to study their purchase agreements in depth or risk getting bitten by the hidden costs of purchasing a unit, Toronto condominium lawyer John De Vellis tells AdvocateDaily.com.

A recent CBC story revealed some buyers were forced to scramble on short notice to find as much as $30,000 in closing costs for units in a Scarborough building, long after they agreed to purchase them.

For the full story please click here
Date_Published
2016-04-12
Description

Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis says a recent summary judgment motion in a wrongful dismissal action highlights the increasing trend of wrongful dismissal actions being decided prior to the conclusion of the notice period awarded to the plaintiff.

“The Supreme Court has made it easier to obtain summary judgment, which means that cases may be getting to court before the expiry of the notice period,” says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP. “In the past, if you had a wrongful dismissal action, by the time you actually got to court chances are the notice period had already expired.”

In Drysdale v. Panasonic Canada Inc., 2015 ONSC 6878 (CanLII), plaintiff Charles Drysdale brought a motion for summary judgment against his former employer to fix the appropriate notice period in his action for wrongful dismissal. Drysdale, a shipper who worked at a warehouse, was seeking the equivalent to 22 months’ payment in lieu of notice.

His former employer, Panasonic Canada, took the position that the motion was not appropriate for summary judgment because it raised issues with respect to mitigation efforts that can’t be resolved adequately based on the available evidence.

In the alternative, Panasonic argued the notice period sought by Drysdale was excessive and that an appropriate reasonable notice period would be in the range of 10-14 months. Further, Panasonic claimed Drysdale was terminated from employment in an industry where alternate employment is readily available but he failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate his loss and thus, the notice period should be reduced accordingly or the action dismissed.

At the time of termination, Drysdale was 58 years old and had worked for the defendant for almost 23 years.

In dismissing Panasonic’s position and finding in favour of the defendant, Justice Sidney N. Lederman stated it was appropriate to have the matter decided summarily in accordance with the directions provided by the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak v. Mauldin.

As well, taking into consideration the plaintiff’s age, length of service, level of compensation, and jurisprudence where the circumstances were similar, Lederman found the appropriate notice period to be 22 months. He concluded that the defendant did not discharge its burden and the plaintiff has taken ample steps to mitigate his loss.

In terms of damages, Lederman took a trust and accounting approach but structured it along the following lines:

“(a) The defendant will pay to the plaintiff all monies owing for the respective notice period up to the date of the motion; (b) The balance of the monies owing for the notice period will be paid to the plaintiff’s counsel in trust. The plaintiff’s counsel will invest the monies into a separate trust account; (c) The monies will be paid out to the plaintiff in equal monthly installments in arrears on the 15th day of the following month, subject to any income earned by the plaintiff during each month; (d) On the last day of each month, the plaintiff’s counsel will be required to deliver to defendant’s counsel a statement indicating whether the plaintiff has earned any income during that month and if so, how much; and (e) If income is earned, the amount of the income will be deducted from the amounts held in trust and returned to defendant," the decision states.

De Vellis tells AdvocateDaily.com the judge took an interesting approach to damages, which could be part of a developing trend.

“The approach the judge took is essentially the same approach that parties often take when they settle out of court before the notice period has expired — i.e. the court built in a mechanism to deal with potential earnings during the remaining notice period," he says. "But the way the judge did it, making the plaintiff's lawyer the custodian of the funds, will create ongoing costs for both sides. 

"It would be interesting to know whether the parties followed the court's order or subsequently agreed to some other arrangement," he says.

This story also appeared on advocatedaily.com

Date_Published
2016-01-25
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2015-10-01
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2015-08-31
Description

An Ontario Court of Appeal decision raises questions about the conflict between consumer protection legislation and traditional common law principles such as buyer beware, write Toronto condo lawyers Armand Conant and John De Vellis in The Lawyers Weekly.

The Shibley Righton LLP partners discuss the Court of Appeal’s decision in Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2095 v. West Harbour City (I) Residences Corp., 2014 ONCA 724 (CanLII), which related to an application by a condo corporation challenging the validity of a bylaw and agreement entered into by the developer/declarant, on behalf of a condo corporation, while it controlled the condo’s board of directors.

Please click here for the full story

Date_Published
2015-05-18
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2015-05-01
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2015-05-01
Publication
Description

The Court of Appeal for Ontario’s decision in Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2095 v. West Harbour City (I) Residences Corp. [2014] O.J. No. 4947, may well usher in a new era for purchasers of new condominium units. The decision raises questions of the conflict between consumer protection legislation and traditional common law principles such as buyer beware in such purchases. 

Please click here for the entire story

Date_Published
2015-04-20
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2015-04-01
Experience
More About
BIO

John’s multi-faceted practice includes condominium law, commercial litigation, and employment law. His experience includes everything from counselling investors in major fraud cases to serving clients in wrongful-dismissal actions.

As a member of Shibley Righton LLP's  condominium law group, John acts for condominium corporations throughout south and southwestern Ontario on all aspects of condominium law including compliance and governance issues, general litigation including oppression applications, employment and human rights disputes, construction deficiency issues, arbitration of shared facilities disputes, and commercial matters such as contract review and drafting and general governance issues. 

John is a frequent contributor to condo industry publications and has spoken and taught on a number of condo law topics. He is a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute (Toronto) and sits on its Education Committee. 

John also has a breadth of experience in employment law litigation, having litigated complex wrongful dismissal matters and issues of sexual harassment and discrimination. 

John has also been involved in a number of complex commercial litigation and professional negligence matters.  

John has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario including the Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court, Divisional Court, and Court of Appeal, as well as a number of administrative tribunals including the Ontario Energy Board and Licence Appeal Tribunal.

John is a lawyer with a strong attachment to the community. When in law school, he spent eight months working at a legal aid clinic in Toronto’s Parkdale community. He has volunteered his time a Long-Term Disability and Employment Law Clinic run by Wellspring, a not-for-profit organization that helps cancer patients and Pro Bono Law Ontario, which provides legal counsel to those who can’t afford representation. In addition, for eight years he sat on the board of a community-run daycare centre, serving as its Vice-Chair and Chair of the Personnel Committee.

He has also been a guest judge for students at Osgoode Hall Law School and Sheridan College and a guest instructor at Humber College and a speaker at the Osgoode Professional Development programme.

John graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from York University and a Master of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto. Prior to law school he worked as an Economist with the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Contact Information

T: 416.214.5232
F: 416.214.5432
john.devellis@shibleyrighton.com

vCard
Education

Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B., 2000
University of Toronto, M.A. (Industrial Relations), 1996
York University, B.A. (Hons), 1995

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