The Ontario government has extended the deadline for condo corporations to hold virtual meetings and permit electronic voting without a bylaw. The previous deadline of December 31, 2021, has now been changed to September 30, 2022.
CondoVoter is excited to announce our most recent product update, which focuses on assisting property managers in scheduling and organizing your virtual meetings. We appreciate how much work goes into ensuring your virtual meeting runs smoothly. In this new virtual world, it can be easy to forget all the steps leading up to your next AGM.
As part of our April update, our CondoVoter Manager Portal now has workflow and tasks lists that assist you in the requirements leading up to your next AGM.
- Confirm registration in advance – See who is planning on attending and whether they have placed an advance vote
- Schedule auditors, lawyers and other presenters – Easily send an invitation and access link to your virtual meeting and confirm if they’ve accepted the invitation in advance
- Insight into real-time updates on which units have voted and whether you have achieved quorum before your meeting begins
- Tracking Owner Occupant Status and Units in Arrears
But that’s not all… Our product update also includes several improvements geared towards unit owners and candidates running in the election. Most notably, we are excited to announce the launch of our Candidate Portal.
Be informed: Speeches and videos let you know who, why a candidate is running
A common question we get asked is, “How am I expected to vote in advance if I don’t know who I am voting for?”
The Candidate Portal enables potential candidates to create a personalized bio about themselves, why they are running, and how they can assist the community. Included in these bios is the option to upload candidate speeches and videos! When unit owners view their ballots and place their vote, these dynamic profiles ensure that they are making an informed decision.
Want to find out more? Contact us to discuss how we can assist your community during your next AGM, Townhall or SGM.
Virtual meetings are now part of a condominium corporation’s new normal. But did you know there are some fine distinctions between chairing a virtual meeting compared to an in-person meeting? Capitalizing on a need to get managers and directors up to speed quickly, CAI Canada and other experts in the condominium industry, organized an eLearning Virtual Chair Certification program. Over two sessions in March, CAI Canada registered more than 60 participants for the virtual education sessions who learned the nuances of chairing online meetings and more.
Virtual coaches were Rod Escayola and Graeme MacPherson, Gowling WLG; and Natalia Polis and Denise Lash, Lash Condo Law. Adam Arcuri, CondoVoter was the moderator and a co-sponsor of the event.
We asked one of the newly certified participants, Bishnu Aryal, RCM a property manager with TAG–The Active Group, to tell us about his experience.
Q: Bishnu, why was it important for you to take this two-day Virtual Chair Certification session?
A: Knowledge is power, and skills help solve problems. As condominium boards and managers cannot organize the meetings in person due to the pandemic, the only way to comply with the mandate of conducting meetings in a timely fashion is to do it virtually.
I decided to take this two-day Virtual Certification session because I want to know the skills and strategies from the professionals in the field and gather the knowledge in the shortest possible time.
Q: How many virtual meetings have you chaired in the last year?
A: Over the past several years I have chaired and attended several AGMs and board meetings in person. In 2020 and 2021, so far I have attended and/or chaired about 10–12 board/general meetings.
Q: What new skills did you learn?
A: The best part for me was refreshing the legal and procedural part of meetings. Also, learning various technical aspects of video conferencing was valuable, e.g., how to effectively use chat, polling options and Q&A options.
Q: How will you use your new Virtual Chair Certification?
A: New skills will help me effectively conduct meetings. It helps to gain trust and respect of boards of directors, clients and owners. I will also use this knowledge to share it with my colleagues and team to improve their virtual meeting experience.
Q: What would you say to other managers that are thinking about signing up for the course?
A: For me training is not an expense, it is an investment. I recommend managers and boards of directors to take the advantages of the certification conducted by respected legal minds in the industry. Meeting checklists and sample scripts are good additions to the manager’s toolbox.
Jessica Katz, Operations and Account Manager
Q: What are the three best skills that you bring to your job?
A: I would say the best skills I bring to my job are organization, great communication skills, and drive for growth and improvement.
Q: Finish this sentence – On Monday morning you will find me …
A: Getting in 10 minutes of yoga as a start to the day, and then cozy in a sweatsuit with a hot tea at my desk to begin the work week.
Q: What’s a typical work day like for you?
A: I start my work day at 9am. The start of the day is usually taking inventory – seeing what has come in since my last work day ended and prioritizing tasks. A typical work day includes handling client inquiries by phone and email, preparing notices to be sent out, and setting up new clients in the system. Throughout the day, there is also lots of communication and conversations among the team as we help each other out and talk through any difficulties we may have come across.
Q: Do you have any business skills or talents that people don’t know about?
A: I am a very fast typist, which even my coworkers likely don’t know about since we have all been working from home. My average typing speed is about 110 words per minute!
Q: What’s your favourite part about your job at CondoVoter?
A: Hard to pick a favourite part. I love engaging with clients on a daily basis. It is great to be able to help our clients through the process, and have that direct connection with them as an Account Manager. I love being part of an incredible company that values my input and feedback to promote growth of the organization and increase efficiency in all aspects. I feel very comfortable to bring my suggestions and ideas forward, and there is an open dialogue about how each of us can help CondoVoter to grow and be a part of that growth. I love being part of a great team that thrives on support and communication. There is always someone available to help when needed, talk through new processes or challenges, or simply just answer any questions that might come up. CondoVoter is a great place to work, and the Account Manager position is so multi-faceted and keeps me very engaged.
Virtual meetings. CAI supports legislation that allows community association board meetings and annual meetings of the membership to be held virtually. These meeting rules and regulations vary from state to state and often are contingent on an association’s governing documents. Many states require associations to follow a nonprofit or business corporation act. If an association’s governing documents are silent on virtual meeting regulations, the nonprofit or business corporation act may allow an association to hold them. CAI supports an option for community associations to hold meetings virtually during and after the pandemic.
While quite a few state statutes authorize board and annual meetings to be held virtually, many states will benefit from clarification and codification for permanent authority beyond the pandemic. To date, 13 states have introduced legislation this year that allow community associations to hold virtual meetings, including Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Virginia already passed legislation this year amending the state’s Property Owners’ Association Act and Condominium Act to permanently allow, not mandate, virtual membership meetings subject to guidelines adopted by the association board of directors.
Electronic voting. CAI supports legislation that allows community associations to use electronic voting for elections. Electronic voting, if conducted properly, can increase engagement, save money, and provide a practical solution to in-person voting while keeping residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four states have introduced legislation allowing community associations to vote electronically, including Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, and Virginia. The Commonwealth has already passed legislation this year amending the state’s Property Owners’ Association Act and Condominium Act to permanently allow, not mandate, electronic voting subject to guidelines adopted by the association board of directors.
“It’s the easiest format ever,” says Anne Beauchesne, OLCM and a property manager with Sanderson Management Inc., in Waterloo, Ontario, where she manages eight corporations. “Virtual meetings are better than in-person and, for a busy property manager, much faster.”
It’s one year since the coronavirus pandemic changed all our lives. It’s also one year since virtual meetings became the new normal for conducting board meetings and AGMs in the condominium sector. Due to government-imposed restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, in-person meetings were effectively cancelled as property managers and their boards scrambled to find new ways to hold meetings for their condominium corporations.
“We had been looking at various platforms to host virtual meetings,” Anne explained. “CondoVoter was attractive to our budget.” Now, close to one year later and a smooth uptake Anne adds, “The team is fabulous and everyone there knows about meetings.”
“The team is fabulous and everyone there knows about meetings.”
As with anything new, there were some minor challenges especially with senior residents with no computers or email and little technical knowledge. But Anne says now many elderly residents are getting their kids and grandkids to help out so they are able to vote and attend the meeting virtually. In fact, Anne knows of 3-4 owners who are within their selective “bubble” and who virtually attend their corporation’s meetings and watch the proceedings on TV, rotating meetings from one condo to the other.
CondoVoter has been able to accommodate some unique needs for Anne and the condo corporations she manages. Things like last minute changes to dates, and switching over hosting duties to management to continue after the AGM or board meeting has concluded are just two ways CondoVoter has met Anne’s meeting needs. Anne appreciates the changes CondoVoter made to phone voting that now allow callers to take part in meetings and not just listen. “I’m very happy. I’m never going back to in-person,” laughs Anne.
Anne appreciates the changes CondoVoter made to phone voting that now allow callers to take part in meetings and not just listen.
Anne has one board that definitely won’t go back to in-person either. She says “I’m perfectly ok with that.” But she adds you have to know your properties and buildings. Each has different needs and demographics.
Anne has been pleased with the overall benefits of hosted virtual meetings. As a manager who chairs these meetings she adds “Virtual meetings are much easier for managers and guests such as auditors. There is no travel so it saves a significant amount of my time. From home I can log in and get information to the board meeting in real time. I can actually be better prepared.”
CAI Canada Certification for Virtual Chairs
When: Two sessions on Thursdays 10-11:30 a.m. March 11 and March 25
Virtual meetings are now an everyday occurrence for condominium corporations and condominium management firms. While in-person meetings are currently on pause, this is an excellent opportunity to learn the fine distinction between chairing an in-person meeting versus a virtual meeting. You can learn how to build on your chairperson’s skills and gain more confidence in your role as a virtual meeting chair.
In the new virtual meeting environment, there are myriad issues to decide on prior to your AGM or owners’ meeting. For example, do you know which platform you will choose? Will you host or will a professional third-party host for you. Do you understand the ins and outs of e-voting and telephone voting? What about electronic notification consent as you prepare the owners’ list?
The next step in planning as a virtual meeting chair involves meeting preparation. That includes developing your agenda, creating a presentation, and lining up your speakers and/or panelists. Now is also the time to discuss all things related to quorum. Your discussions should include advance voting, proxies, virtual log-ins, who vets proxies, how to input voting results, using scrutineers if there will be traditional proxies. You can see the logic in hiring a virtual meeting service provider.
On the day of your AGM or meeting, you might consider a dress rehearsal with your speakers to ensure a smooth virtual meeting. Things to consider run from the obvious sound and camera checks to the more complex voting procedures, motions, hand raising, polling etc.
There are many steps involved to ensure that your virtual meetings run smoothly. Enrol in this two-session virtual webinar and upon completion of the two sessions a CAI Certificate of Completion will be issued. All learning materials will be provided – scripts, checklists and sample PowerPoints.
When: Two sessions on Thursdays 10-11:30 a.m. March 11 and March 25
Cost: $25 for members and $75 for non-members for the two days
Meet your virtual coaches and moderator:
Rod Escayola and Graeme MacPherson, Gowling WLG
Natalia Polis and Denise Lash, Lash Condo Law
Adam Arcuri, moderator, CondoVoter
CAI Canada thanks CondoVoter for sponsoring this webinar.
With no further extensions to the deadlines for holding AGMs, it looks like many condominiums will need to hold their 2020-2021 AGMs using electronic means as in-person meetings continue to be prohibited in most parts of Ontario. There were temporary amendments made to the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”)…
A shifting condominium climate requires business colleagues that care about your ongoing success as condominium managers and management company executives. That’s why the CondoVoter team is excited to announce our new Partnership Program. We created this program to show our support to clients during rapidly changing times within the industry.
The goal of our Partner Program is to develop new – and strengthen existing –communication channels while providing consistent service combined with excellent quality. In working alongside property management teams, we intend to remain agile and prepare to adapt to new requirements by leveraging emerging technology.
Partners included in this program will have access to:
- partner discounts
- white-label solutions
- educational sessions and team meetings
- early access to new features
- annual bundled packages
- virtual board meetings + minute taking
This is an early bird opportunity that you should not miss. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to sign up.
Sauwmi Semovski, Account Manager
Q: What are three words that describe you.
A: Three words that would describe me would be personable, driven and creative.
Q: What are the best skills that you bring to your job?
A: The best skills that I bring to my role are effective communication, organization and planning, and problem solving. Coming from an HR background I am able to wear different hats and be adaptable as the company progresses.
Q: What’s a typical work day like for you?
A: A typical day for me is filled with client questions, preparing their notices to get them out on time, and onboarding new clients. Additionally, I handle HR and marketing projects for CondoVoter.
Q: What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
A: A goal that I have for myself for the next year is to continue to improve my current skills and to learn as much as possible in relation to online voting, so I can provide strategic insight into the processes.
Q: What’s your favourite thing about your job at CondoVoter?
A: My favourite thing about working at CondoVoter is the team. The team is collaborative and innovative. We work very well together to bounce ideas off of each other, collaborate on projects, and we work together to support the growth of CondoVoter and to make processes efficient for clients.