Owner Requisitioned Meetings: Still Must Follow the Rules!
Owner requisitioned meetings are an important decision-making mechanism available to condominium owners under the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”). At the same time, in order to properly make use of the process, owners must ensure that the requirements under the Act are followed.
In the recent decision, Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 2510 v. All Unit Owners of Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No, 2510, the Court found an owner’s requisitioned meeting to be invalid for having been called without sufficient and proper notice to all owners.
Mr. Rajat Sharma, the meeting requisitionist in this case, submitted his requisition for an owners’ meeting to the Corporation for the removal of the Corporation’s Board of Directors, management company as well as its security contractor.
While the requirement for signatures from at least 15% of the Corporation’s ownership was initially thought to have been met, the Corporation found, on closer review, that several signatures were disqualified due to deficiencies and duplications. As a result, the total signatories fell below the 15% minimum. The condominium corporation therefore declined to call the requisitioned meeting.
Mr. Sharma subsequently presented the Corporation with additional signatures to meet the 15% threshold and proceeded to call the meeting himself, pursuant to Section 46(5) of the Act. The Court examined the steps Mr. Sharma took and held that he had not properly called the meeting. In particular, the Court pointed to the following problems:
- Failure to provide sufficient notice of the proposed meeting to all unit owners;
- Failure to use the prescribed form when providing notice of the meeting to the unit owners; and
- Failure to include the meeting requisition with the Notice of Meeting.
In this regard, the Court emphasized that proper notice must ensure that an owner not only knows where and when a meeting would be held but also that she be given “enough information on which to make an informed decision and enough time in which to consider her position.”
The Court went on to lay out the following criteria that a requisitionist must meet, pursuant to Sections 46 and 47 of the Act, in order to appropriately call a requisitioned meeting:
- The Notice Form on the Condominium Authority’s website must be used when giving notice of the proposed meeting to all owners;
- The Notice Form must not be sent out until 35 days have elapsed from the date when 15% of the owners’ signatures were provided to the Corporation with the requisition;
- The Notice Form must be sent at least 15 days before the proposed meeting date; and
- A copy of the requisition must be included with the Notice Form.
In this case, because the Corporation had already arranged for the AGM (which was to be held only a few days after the potential requisitioned meeting date) to be chaired by an independent chair and had incorporated the requisitioned businesses into the AGM agenda, the Court held that “the balance of convenience weighs heavily in favour of enjoining any meeting under the requisition for the few days between November 18 and the AGM on November 23, 2020”.
Our key takeaway from this case is the importance of abiding by the requirements of the Act when requisitioning and calling meetings of owners, in particular with respect to providing notice of meetings. This not only applies to owner requisitioned meetings but to all meetings of owners where binding decisions are made.
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