Meeting Options – an Update
We know that holding a meeting of the owners at this time can be a challenge for some condominiums…particularly where some of your owners don’t have computers or aren’t comfortable attending an online video conference.
As we’ve previously reported, we remain concerned about having owners vote electronically not during an actual meeting. Until a Court says otherwise, our interpretation of condominium law is that voting must occur at a meeting (with owners or their proxies attending the meeting in person or by some electronic means). This allows for discussion and for amendments to the meeting business, which we feel are key components of the process.
So what are the options?
- Electronic meetings (and electronic voting) are now permitted for meetings held up until November 21, 2020, even without a by-law to authorize such. Any meetings that are scheduled after November 21, 2020 can be held electronically provided a by-law is passed to allow for this type of meeting, or if the Lieutenant-Governor extends the November 21st date (see our blog of July 28, 2020 on point.) [Our firm has been involved in hosting and/or chairing many electronic meetings…typically held by way of on-line video conference.]
- Remember that attendance by phone is also normally a possibility (for any electronic meeting). [We’ve had a number of owners attend electronic meetings by phone.]
- You can also consider a “proxy meeting”, where owners (or most owners) decide to attend and vote by proxy. With this in mind, the proxy form for the meeting can contain specific voting instructions for most or all of the planned items of business. We call this a “proxy ballot” because it contains the owner’s specific voting instructions. The appointed proxy can be a Board member, and the Owners’ meeting can even be held at the same time as a Board meeting (anticipating that the Board members, but few if any others, will attend). Owners have the right to attend the meeting (or to have a different proxy attend on their behalf) but are encouraged to vote by way of the proxy ballot, if they are willing. This usually keeps the attendance low.
As with any proxy, it’s important to anticipate:
- possibilities for amendments to the business;
- possibilities for additional election nominees;
- needs for discussion and how any such needs can be fulfilled.
These issues can sometimes be tricky at a “proxy meeting”. So, a proxy meeting might not make sense where there are controversial decisions to be made, or where there are risks of significant amendments. But a proxy meeting is often a great option for any “non-controversial” meeting.
- Face-to-face meetings are still permitted (up to 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outdoors), provided physical distancing rules are followed.
Each Board will need to consider which approach makes most sense for a particular planned meeting. But the point of this blog is that there are a few good options.