As the acceptance of electronic voting grows and is embraced by more communities, there can be confusion about quorum and proxies.
Advance electronic voting helps condominium corporations achieve quorum in advance of a meeting.
Quorum traditionally refers to the number of owners representing a certain percentage of units in the condominium corporation who must be present for the meeting either in-person or by proxy. Since the pandemic and temporary amendments to the Condo Act, quorum has been revised. It currently refers to the number of owners representing a certain percentage of units in the condo corporation who must be present for the meeting either in-person, by proxy, through telephonic or electronic attendance, or electronic voting.
Electronic voting can count towards quorum if it occurs in advance or at the meeting.
Condominium Authority of Ontario’s (CAO’s) Guide to Conducting Electronic Owners’ Meetings has information on advance voting and quorum.
Quorum refers to the number of owners representing a certain percentage of units in the condo corporation who must be present for the meeting either in-person, by proxy or through telephonic or electronic attendance, or voting. If there is no quorum there can still be discussion on a matter, but no meeting or votes can take place.
The temporary amendments to the Condo Act allow for an owner who votes by telephonic or electronic means to be deemed as present either in-person or by proxy, and therefore can be counted towards quorum under section 50 (1) of the Condo Act. As only the requirement for a telephonic or electronic voting by-law has been suspended under temporary amendments, and given that section 52 (1) (b) (iii) of the Condo Act permits telephonic and electronic voting, the method to establish quorum can be determined by whether the unit owner connected to the meeting telephonically or electronically, or whether they submitted an advance electronic vote.
A common feature of most electronic voting platforms is the ability to vote before the meeting is held. Advanced voting allows for condo business to be conducted smoothly and safely during the pandemic. It also gives the condo board an understanding of whether they are likely to meet quorum requirements. Remember that early votes can only be used for and count towards quorum for items voted on and set out in the meeting agenda. Once the extended transition period is over, condo corporations must pass a by-law which details the manner by which an owner is deemed to be present if they wish to continue to have early voters count towards quorum.
For most owners’ meetings (e.g., AGMs, turn-over meetings, and meetings to elect directors or appoint an auditor), quorum is reached when owners who own 25 percent of the units in the condo corporation are present.
If quorum is not reached on the first two attempts to hold an owners’ meeting, quorum is reduced from 25 percent to 15 percent on any subsequent attempts, unless specified otherwise in the condo corporation’s by-laws.
Proxies are not required for meetings
Proxies are not mandated or required to be provided to owners. With advance, real time and telephone voting, proxies can be eliminated.
Electronic voting encourages participation
Owners who would not attend a meeting or complete a proxy are likely to participate in electronic voting. Those who will attend meetings will continue to do so when electronic voting is utilized. Those unable to attend will benefit from the ability to vote online which results in greater engagement.
Thank you to CondoVoter, which provides electronic voting to condominium corporations in compliance with Ontario’s condominium laws, for their assistance with this article.
This article has been revised from what was originally published in Toronto Condo News.