The Silver Lining – Condominium Meetings and Accessibility
The fact that we’ve been forced to meet virtually has, I think, given some owners greater access to condominium meetings. [Note that owners who don’t have access to a computer can attend by phone, and can participate quite effectively, which also helps with access to such meetings.] Here are some things we have experienced at some of our virtual meetings:
- Owners being able to attend a meeting even though they are out of the province or country, perhaps because they are employed by the military or for other reasons. (For example, we have had attendees from as far away as New Zealand and Mongolia.)
- Owners with unique mobility challenges (due to temporary or permanent disability) being able to attend (when they may have previously been more reluctant, or less able, to do so).
- Owners with anxiety concerns, and/or other mental health challenges sometimes being more comfortable attending virtually.
- Owners with auditory or visual impairments or concerns finding it easier, sometimes, to attend virtually. [In one recent example, our firm hosted (and I chaired) an owner’s meeting with an attendee with a hearing impairment. The meeting was held virtually (via Zoom), and we were able to figure out how to offer closed captioning of the discussion, without the necessity of a third party service provider or an extra transcriber, which allowed the particular attendee to fully participate in the meeting.]
In light of these experiences, I feel that while the pandemic has certainly forced many of us in the condominium industry to quickly adjust how our services are provided, it has been a welcome catalyst to bring about change in terms of making our services more accessible to a wider range of condominium residents.
I hope that these “silver linings” carry forward, and continue to be a positive outcome from these difficult circumstances.