A proxy allows one individual to act on behalf of another. They are common in condo communities when voting for director candidates. Used as intended they increase voter participation and are neutral in that they don’t influence outcomes.
Proxies were not intended for active soliciting. Soliciting proxies in condo communities has been inappropriately used as a means to influence condo board decisions or election voting.
Individuals disagreeing with a board decision or attempting to control the outcome of an election may solicit proxies from unit owners. They do so by having a unit owner sign a Proxy Form granting authority for an individual to vote on their behalf. This allows one or a group of owners to pursue an agenda intended to change a condo board decision or determine who is elected to the board. One common use of proxies in condo corporations is to get uninformed condo owners to support friends or associates for election to a condo board regardless of limited experience or personal agenda.
One way to solicit proxies is to knock on doors and ask the unit owner to sign a proxy form. Another method is to leave documents at each door. Either approach may be in contravention of no soliciting rules disallowing such activities except for purposes of government elections. For these purposes Section 118 of the Ontario Condo Act states “No corporation or employee or agent of a corporation shall restrict reasonable access to the property by candidates, or their authorized representatives, for election to the House of Commons, the Legislative Assembly or an office in a municipal government or school board if access is necessary for the purpose of canvassing or distributing election material.”
These restrictions exist for good reason. Should soliciting be allowed, it would be difficult to prevent soliciting for other purposes that include selling of goods and services. Anyone obtaining access to a building to “knock on doors” would also constitute a security risk that compromises the safety of building residents and property.
Where proxies are warranted, they can be solicited through websites, social media and e-mail not controlled by the condo corporation.
For more information on proxies see the following Condo Archives articles at www.tocondonews.com: