The Condo Act requires condo boards to be comprised of at least three board members. Some declarations require five board members. Diversity is not a requirement.
Some believe boards should have diversity by sex, age or ethnicity. Admirable as this may appear, it is virtually impossible when a board is comprised of three or five individuals. It becomes more challenging when board members must be willing volunteers with available time and relevant expertise.
Condo boards are comprised of individuals willing to give of their time. Retired individuals, who tend to have more available time and less pressure to earn employment income, tend to dominate.
An estimated 43 percent of condo boards in Ontario are comprised of three directors based on information submitted to the Condominium Authority of Ontario’s (CAO’s) public registry. Another 36 percent are comprised of five directors. Remaining condo boards are comprised of fewer directors despite the three member minimum required by the Condo Act. Women may be pleased to know that an estimated 42 percent of condo directors are female.
It may be desirable to have a diverse condo board representative of the community population. Practicality often makes this impossible. Owners should be concerned with electing the most qualified and capable individuals as directors. Some choose to vote for friends or neighbours. While some may choose to vote for candidates based on diversity, this is dependent on candidates for election and could negatively impact on the overall quality of a condo board.
A focus on diversity could be negatively construed as manipulating the outcome of an election. Election procedures facilitating this could be biased against some candidates and be challenged.
Communities that struggle to find candidates willing to commit of their time and serve as directors could find fewer willing to do so if diversity is added to the mix.
Board diversity may be an admirable goal best achieved by more benign efforts. It probably should not be encouraged at the expense of more capable and qualified candidates willing to give of their time.