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.
With more and more people getting fully vaccinated and the economy slowly reopening, it’s time to think about how each of us will react to our post-pandemic lifestyles and work arrangements.
Will people take it slow and remain cautious? Or will they be eager to jump back to life as it was? From a condominium community perspective, will masking still be required on common elements? How will AGMs and owners’ meetings be conducted?
Recently, Denise Lash of Lash Condo Law, posted a poll on LinkedIn to ask how virtual meetings should be conducted as we inch ahead. She asked the question: “Going forward, which option do you prefer for your condo owner meetings?”
The poll garnered an excellent response with 3,500+ views, 78 votes and 15 comments. The results were: 78% prefer virtual meetings with e-voting; 15% prefer a hybrid meeting; 5% prefer in-person with e-voting; and 1% prefer in-person with paper ballots.
Thanks to all who took the time to vote and comment. Below are some of the LinkedIn responses she received.
From an auditor’s point of view it is quite simple, my preference is virtual meetings going forward. The meeting is safer from an owners’ health point of view, more efficient and allows us to present the audit in a more informative method by using the screen. The feedback over the last year has been very positive. Hybrid meetings would also be reasonable assuming the professionals could attend virtually. This will save professional fees for travel and time as well as the added benefit of less driving which of course is great for the environment.
Stephen Chesney, FCPA, FCA, Partner, Yale PGC LLP
I agree with Stephen.
We did a poll of owners after our last virtual AGM in February. Roughly 55% of owners preferred a virtual format. Some owners with small children told us that this was the first AGM they could attend and liked the idea of participating from home.
I’m not so sure of the feasibility of the hybrid model. May not be cost effective.
Joseph D., Senior Risk/Finance Leader
While virtual meetings are convenient, and being able to refer to documents on the screen is really helpful, I miss the feedback from the audience. In person, I have a sense if they are with me or confused. When I stare into the computer, I have no idea if anyone is understanding me. If the purpose of the meeting is to help people understand, then I suspect in-person will always be superior.
Sally Thompson, Managing Partner, Synergy Partners
The vast majority of the corporations we have, will have a hybrid meeting, however, all AGMs have been confirmed to be virtual.
I believe most of our meetings will move to virtual with e-voting, at the moment I believe there is excitement about seeing each other, that will pass and efficiency will be more important. During the pandemic we updated our management agreement with a clause to add virtual meetings and e-voting, while to some degree these statements were made for pandemic preparedness for the future, the motivating factor for adding, was efficiency for our team, board members and corporations.
Angel-Marie Reiner, Owner/Founder/President to Onyx Condo Management
For owners’ meetings, people are going to want to go back to meetings in person, having that personal interaction is key. Virtual meetings really do eliminate a lot of typical challenges for owners to attend meetings. I feel that some buildings/boards will want to have a hybridized meeting of some sort to assist better to achieve quorum. I foresee larger buildings being able to support the hybrid meeting platform with the extra costs. Small Corporations will likely fall back to meeting in person. For Board meetings, the virtual meeting will become another tool in the tool box to be able to have quick meetings set up or even become an alternating meeting style.
Darryl Fulton, Regional Condominium Manager, Goldview Property Management
I would prefer to have face to face meetings as they used to be prior to COVID-19. Such meeting have more impact and the personal interaction with the unit owners, board and management makes it more practical. I have chaired the condo board for 3 years and used to have monthly or by monthly unit owners information meetings. These meetings were a challenge for the board and management but a comfort for the unit owners as they felt that they are part of all the decision-making process.
Bashir Shaikh, Mainframe Technical Specialist (DBA), Great-West Life
After some early resistance, the COVID-19 pandemic initially made virtual meetings the only way for condominium Boards to continue conducting the business of their corporations.
Condominium corporations would be well-advised to use the opportunity afforded by the Emergency Order and Bill 190 to pass an electronic by-law now.