Spring is typically
Annual General Meeting (AGM) season for condominium corporations and with the
COVID-19 virus having been declared a pandemic last week, condo boards should consider
whether or not to proceed with scheduled AGMs. For many condo corporations, an
AGM will be a “mass gathering” that corrals hundreds of unit owners together in
one room, sitting in close proximity, often for several hours.
Condominium Property Act requires
condominium corporations to convene the next AGM no later than fifteen (15)
months after the immediately preceding AGM, this is a unique situation in which
common sense must be applied. It is highly unlikely that a condominium
corporation will be penalized for a failure to strictly follow the legislated
timeline in these circumstances.
condominium corporation has not already provided notice to unit owners of an
upcoming AGM, it may be advisable to delay doing so until the COVID-19 pandemic
is better controlled, and the infection spread curve has been “flattened”. If
notices have already been sent out, those condominium boards should ask the
following questions to help them determine whether to proceed:
- Have any owners/tenants or other residents in the corporation tested positive for COVID-19? What about property managers or other service providers?
- Have any owners/residents recently travelled outside of the country?
- What is the average age of residents in the condominium corporation? Could they be at a greater risk if they contract COVID-19 (e.g. older individuals)?
- How many units are in the corporation, and how many of those are generally represented at the AGM from year to year (i.e. how many individuals are actually expected to attend the AGM)?
- Where is the AGM being held, on-site or somewhere else, like a community centre, hotel or church?
- How large is the room/space for the meeting? Can individuals be sufficiently spread out so as to ensure the recommended social distancing of 2 metres?
condominium corporation contains more than 40-50 units, prevailing wisdom would
strongly caution against proceeding with an AGM at this time. For condominium
corporations that choose to proceed with an already-scheduled AGM, here are
some precautions that can and should be taken:
- Owners should be encouraged to
submit proxies rather than attending the AGM in person. Anyone who is feeling
sick or displaying symptoms should be advised to stay home, and to assign their
proxy to a board member or a neighbour who can represent them at the meeting.
- Limit attendees by requesting
that only one (1) owner attend per unit, for units with multiple owners.
- Unit owners that will not be in
attendance but wish to raise issues at the meeting, or nominate individuals for
board elections, should be permitted to submit these items to the board and/or
property manager electronically in advance.
- Consider conducting any
ordinary or special resolution votes in writing, or electronically if your
bylaws so allow.
- Some condominium corporations
lack sufficient space on their properties to host AGMs, and often rent space at
community centres, churches, hotels and even public schools. Many of these
locations may already have been affected, such that they are now closed to the
public, closed to large gatherings, or have reduced hours. Contact the location
to confirm any bookings that have already been made and find out what pandemic
plans are in place. You should anticipate any arrangements having to change, or
even being cancelled with little to no advance notice.
- Stagger registration times to
minimize line-ups when owners check-in for the AGM, and try to have access to
- Advise attendees to bring their
own copies of materials that were provided along with notice to the AGM, and to
bring their own pens/pencils for signing in and casting any votes.
bylaws likely do not contain provisions for cancelling an AGM once notice has
been sent out to unit owners. In these circumstances, the Board should call an
emergency meeting for the purpose of deciding whether a meeting will proceed as
scheduled, or in a modified format, or if it should be adjourned indefinitely.
Once a decision has been made, this can be communicated to unit owners to provide
them with as much notice as possible.
In my view, due
to the unprecedented nature of the current public health emergency, the board
of directors has the right to cancel an already-convened AGM, or to allow unit
owners to attend the AGM electronically (even in the absence of a bylaw
authorizing this measure). In light of the advice being given by public health
officials to limit social contact as much as possible, my recommendation would be
to cancel and/or suspend all owner meetings indefinitely.
situation evolves, new information about the COVID-19 virus is being constantly
updated. Condominium corporations should consult government and public health
websites to stay informed on the latest facts, advice and requirements.