CAT says no to owner’s request to see email addresses

email blocks on gray surface

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

The CAT released a decision confirming that owners are not entitled to receive email addresses provided by owners and mortgagees to the corporation. The case includes an interesting review of the relevant provisions of the Act and regulations related to the record of owners and mortgages and the exceptions to the right to examine records. The full case can be found on CanLii: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncat/doc/2019/2019oncat9/2019oncat9.html?resultIndex=3

Some highlights include:

1.  Email addresses do not form part of the record of owners and mortgagees that must be maintained according to s.46.1 of the Act. The reference to “statement of that method” in s.46.1 does not include the method and the email address provided. It simply means the method: email, fax, or other. In support of this interpretation the the member reviewed the prescribed form, Agreement to Receive Notices Electronically, and said the following:

1.PNG

2. Even if email addresses did form part of the record of owners and mortgagees, owners are not entitled to receive them due to various exceptions in the Act (see e.g. 55(4)) and regulations (13.11(2) of O.Reg. 48/01).

As a side note, a court previously found that owners were not entitled to the email addresses when requesting the record of owners. There was some uncertainty as to how the CAT would handle the request after the recent amendments. The member confirmed that the amendments did not grant the owners the right to see the email addresses.  Like with the previous case, the member discussed the importance of protecting the privacy rights of the owners. The member summarized it nicely as follows:

2

I suspect that many owners would choose not to receive electronic communication from their corporation if they believed that the other owners could access their email addresses.

The case is a great summary of the relevant provisions in the Act and regulations related to the record of owners and mortgagees. It explains the difference between the corporation’s obligations to maintain the record and the owners’ right to examine records. I encourage you to read the full case when you have a chance.