The big news, according to some, is that Ontario has extended the numerous exceptions in place to facilitate condominium corporations conducting business during the pandemic.
A different interpretation may be that Ontario continues to facilitate an archaic approach condominium corporations and owners are forced to adhere to which is in conflict with logic and common sense. In essence, Ontario is allowing condominium corporations to operate as if they were in the 21st century for a brief period. They are allowing them to operate in a manner preferred by most using current technology.
Most prefer to communicate electronically. It makes no sense to print and distribute notices when most prefer to receive the same information in electronic format. Condominium corporations are required to implement a by-law to be able to communicate with owners in ways that are now common throughout society. We rely on electronic notifications when dealing with banks, government, service providers and vendors. Uniquely, condominium corporations are required to go through the time, effort and cost of implementing a by-law to communicate with owners in a more convenient, faster and economical manner – EXCEPT as stated here during the pandemic.
During the pandemic:
- Condominium corporations can call and hold virtual owner meetings inclusive of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) without implementing a by-law for this purpose. Owners connected virtually or by phone can vote electronically while connected to the meeting.
- Documents provided to owners at or pertaining to an AGM can be posted electronically or sent via e-mail. This includes prior year minutes, by-laws to be voted on and financial reports.
- Condominium corporations can continue to notify owners of upcoming meetings via e-mail without their having expressly entered into an agreement with the corporation permitting electronic communications.
- Board meetings can be called and held virtually, which includes phone or video conferencing such as offered through Zoom and Google Meet, without obtaining consent from all directors for the meeting to be held remotely. Board meeting notices can continue to be provided by e-mail to the e-mail address shown on the records of the corporation.
These exceptions are now in force until September 30, 2022 until further notice. After this date, condominium corporations will be required to revert to 20th century technology for communications, distribution of material and meetings.
While it has taken a pandemic for Ontario to recognize the value of electronic communications, they have not yet been prepared to acknowledge the preference and practicality of electronic communications beyond the pandemic.