An interesting case is before the Human Rights Tribunal right now. Three owners have filed a claim against their condominium and property manager alleging discrimination because of creed, which is contrary to the Human Rights Code. The owners are Muslim and contend that they were discriminated against because an owners’ meeting was held on an important religious holiday for Muslims.
Regardless of the outcome of this particular case, it does raise an interesting issue with respect to the scheduling of owners’ meetings: How are dates selected for owners’ meetings? How should they be selected?
When selecting a date for the AGM, for example, it is common for condominiums to avoid peak vacation times, such as near Christmas and New Years, or during the summer months. This makes sense. You want to have a good turnout at the meeting so you avoid times when many owners may be away or too busy to attend.
But, how many check to see if the date coincides with any significant religious holidays? How about traditional days of rest, such as Friday evenings, Saturdays or Sundays? As suggested by the case briefly described above, a condominium could find itself before the Human Rights Tribunal if it ignores important religious holidays. Even if the Tribunal finds in favour of the condominium, the condominium may have spent thousands of dollars to defend itself. It is best to avoid the possible claim, and expense, if you can.
Apart from concerns about human rights claims, there are other reasons that you may want to give more thought to the date selected. For one, you may have greater participation if you consider the owners that reside in your condominium. For instance, do you have many owners with small children? An evening meeting may make it more difficult for them to attend if their children go to sleep around the time the meeting starts. Do you have many owners that fly south for part or all of the winter? Maybe you should schedule your meetings in the Fall or Spring instead.
Even social gatherings, sporting events, or other forms of entertainment could be considered a reason not to schedule an owners’ meeting on a particular date. In Canada, you probably don’t want to book an AGM during any of the Winter Olympic hockey games when Team Canada is playing. Other reasons might include the national championship of any major sport (i.e. NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL); federal, provincial or municipal election nights; or awards shows.
I’m not saying you need to spend days or months picking the best date, just that you need to consider the lifestyles of the owners in your condominium. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to selecting a date or time for your owners’ meeting.