Bill 53, Service Alberta Statutes (Virtual Meetings) Amendment Act, 2021, is now in force. Section 5, relating to the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020 came into force today by Royal Assent on March 26, 2021. The remainder of the Act (including those provisions that amended the Condominium Property Act) was declared to come into force retroactively, having effect as of August 15, 2020.
This means that condominium corporations in Alberta are now authorized to hold their general meetings virtually, using electronic means such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other online meeting platforms. Moreover, the retroactive effect also authorizes all electronic general meetings that have been held by condominium corporations since August 15, 2020.
Unfortunately, no changes have been made to the wording of the amendment to the Condominium Property Act, and we are still left wondering as to the unintended effect this change may have on condominiums in convening their general meetings. For a discussion of the changes and the potential consequences for condominiums, please read Coming Soon? Virtual Meetings for Condominiums.
If you have any questions about the Service Alberta Statutes (Virtual Meetings) Amendment Act, SA 2021 c4, or other condominium-related issues, please comment below or contact one of the members of the Field Law Condominium Group.
14 thoughts to “Condo Update: Electronic Meetings Now Authorized”
Thank you for the informative post, Ms. Berney.
Is participation via a standard conference call/telephone not contemplated in the new Act or in previous legislation?
That depends on what type of participation. Board members were, under the previous legislation, entitled to attend and vote at Board meetings using electronic means. Until now, however, the legislation was silent with respect to virtual attendance and voting at meetings of the corporation by unit owners. That has changed with the passing of Bill 53.
Our condo in Medicine Hat wants owners to have a paper AGM and has given owners what would be normally done in a public meeting. They are asking owners to give written yes or no answers to pass the budget and other items generally dealt with at a regular AGM. My question is is this legal?
Generally speaking, the business that would usually be conducted at an AGM can be completed by ordinary resolutions in writing.
As per Bill 53 and CPA (current as of March 26, 2021), from “31(1) Unless a corporation’s bylaws expressly provide otherwise,”, would I be correct that items like “shall be held within the Municipality” and “present in person” in the following statements would or could be considered “expressly providing otherwise” in a corporations bylaws and need to be revised and/or removed from those bylaws before a corporation could legitimately host electronic AGM’s? Am I correct that from a legal perspective, there would also be many other items in a corporations bylaws which may be less obvious and need to be revised and/or removed from bylaws resulting from Bill 53 and the latest CPA?
Each annual General Meeting shall be held within the Municipality unless the Owners agree, by Ordinary Resolution, to hold the meeting in another location.
Persons representing not less than twenty-five (25%) percent of all Residential Units present in person or by proxy shall constitute a quorum.
Voting at general meetings can only be done by any Owner or registered mortgagee present in person or by proxy.
Unfortunately I cannot provide legal advice specific to your bylaws, and they would need to be reviewed to determine whether or not they rise to the level of “expressly” providing otherwise under section 31 of the Act (convening electronic general meetings). Most bylaws are unlikely to require modification in my experience, but each case is unique and I would encourage you to obtain legal advice on how your particular bylaws are to be interpreted. That being said, section 31(d) of the Act states: “a person attending a meeting by electronic means under clause (a) or (b) is deemed for all purposes under this Act to be present in person at the meeting.”
The act is very unclear about request for nomination for board members. If it is not in your bylaws, can they simply ask for nominations prior to the AGM, or do they have to ask for nominees from the floor at the AGM either in person or virtual?
This could depend on other provisions in your bylaws, such as what procedures are used for meetings of the corporation. Some examples include parliamentary rules of procedure or Robert’s Rules of Order. In the absence of prescribed procedures in the Bylaws for requesting and accepting nominations for Board member positions, the corporation can determine its own.
My condo board is planning our virtual AGM. They have noted that every owners name, email and unit number will be visible to all in attendance. If someone has an issue, they can fill out their proxy form and drop it off to our Presidents home. Two things that bother me, the privacy of my name, email and unit number should not be up for all to see. (63 unit complex). As well, if I drop my proxy to the president home, am I not giving them the right to my vote?
Any help regarding this is much appreciated.
Provincial privacy legislation applies to condominium corporations, but more information would be required to determine whether this is considered a violation. In some respects, there may not be considered any disclosure if the names, unit numbers and emails are only visible by other members of the corporation. You could reach out to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to assist you with providing a determination one way or the other, or to make a complaint if you feel that your privacy rights are being violated. This is unfortunately one of the many issues that are likely to arise with the advent of electronic meetings for condo corporations.
My board recently sent out an email asking me to agree to vote electronically at an AGM through an electronic meeting company. If the AGM is electronic, do they need to follow all the usual bylaws, Condo Act and PIPA for conducting the votes? ie. if I agree to vote electronically, are they allowed to compromise on any rules because of the electronic component?
The requirements of the Act and Bylaws, as well as provincial privacy legislation, continue to apply to condo corporations that conduct electronic meetings and voting by electronic means.
I’m reaching out to seek clarification on Bill 53 regarding and AGM’s.
Is Bill 53 mandatory for condo corporations to provide electronic means to homeowners to attend AGMs virtually? If a homeowner(s) with internet access wants to attend the meeting but can not in person, under Bill 53, is the corporation responsible for providing the tools such as ZOOM or other means to homeowner(s) to attend? Do Condo corporations have a duty to accommodate all owners in order to be able to participate in meetings where important decisions are discussed and voted on?
Thank you for your assistance. It is much appreciated.
This is somewhat of a grey area, and may also depend on provisions in the corporation’s bylaws. The wording of the revised legislation suggests that, unless a corporation’s bylaws provide otherwise, a person who is entitled to attend a general meeting has a right to attend and vote at such a meeting by electronic means.