Illiteracy on the Condo Board

December 2022

Nearly half of Canada’s population has a literacy problem with reading, writing or working with numbers.  Lack of literacy on condo boards cannot be corrected through director training or education.

Literacy skills have declined due to the abundance of jobs that don’t require comprehension and information synthesis skills.  Statistics Canada, in 2013, found that one in six adults were lacking basic skills in literacy tests.  Many were unable to complete basic tasks such as reading a news article, completing a job application or sending an e-mail.  About half the adult population were unable to digest lengthier text and process the information accurately.  They were unable to disregard irrelevant or inappropriate content when making decisions.

Those with the lowest literacy include new Canadians with a native language other than English or French, many born in Canada and speaking English or French, and many computer-literate able to hide their lack of literacy.

Impact on Condominium Communities

Low literacy makes it difficult to understand information needed to make informed decisions.  Owners are likelier to elect those less suitable among candidates for a condominium board.  They fail to read or understand annual financial statements and other documents provided to them.

When elected as directors, illiterate individuals fail to make informed decisions because of an inability to understand financial statements, reserve fund studies, engineering documents and legal information provided to them.  It is unlikely they have read and understood their corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules.  They are unprepared for board meetings requiring that they have read and understood material provided prior to discussion.