Government Holds Consultations on Legislative Changes Enabling Virtual Processes Under the Condominium Act
The Government of Ontario is currently holding written public consultations about making legislative changes to authorize virtual and digital processes under the Condominium Act, 1998. As our readers may recall, last summer, the government enacted the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Schedule 5 of the Act amends the Condominium Act, 1998, among other things, to defer meetings and AGMs and to allow meetings to be hosted virtually because of the pandemic. These temporary amendments to the Act were later extended by way of regulations to allow condominiums to hold meetings virtually or by telephone until May 31, 2021 (subject to certain conditions).
The government is now seeking the input of various stakeholders in the condominium community on whether to make additional temporary or permanent amendments to the legislation with respect virtual processes as condominium corporations (among others) are adapting to new ways of using technology and virtual platforms in order to allow broader participation. In that view, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has put together a Feedback Form with targeted questions to receive input from participants on the following topics:
- Virtual meetings
- Electronic delivery of notices and documents
- Storage and examination of records through electronic means
Under the current legislation, meetings of owners and voting can be held by “electronic or telephonic means” (which includes telephone calls, fax, e-mail, automated touch-tone telephone system, computer or computer networks). Moreover, notice for the meetings can also be provided electronically.
In our view, an amendment to the legislation making the provisions respecting electronic meetings and voting permanent and allowing a broader spectrum of regular activities in condominiums to be completed virtually is an excellent idea. At the same time, we wonder how these upcoming amendments to the legislation might interact with similar changes adopted by condominiums through their by-laws [in other words, is there anything achieved by a by-law that won’t be achieved by the legislation following the new amendments?]. We’ll be watching this closely. But again, we consider this to be a welcome change and an important initiative by the government.
The Feedback Form has now been posted on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry for public comment, and participants will be able to provide their feedback at the following link until 5p.m. February 8, 2021.
Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on condominium law!