End of the Declared Emergency: Your Most Common Condo AGM Questions Answered

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As you probably know, the declared emergency in Ontario came to an end on July 24, 2020, with the enactment of Bill 195. I’ve received several emails and calls today from clients looking for advice on what Bill 195 means for condominiums. The most significant concern seems to be the requirement for holding AGMs and the temporary extensions for holding AGMs that were provided for in Bill 190. Today I’ll answer a few of the most common questions.

Question #1: Can condominiums continue to defer their AGMs indefinitely? 

Answer: No. The extension period for condominiums to hold their AGMs was temporary in nature and was not intended to permit condominiums to defer them indefinitely. Now that the declared emergency is over, so too is the extension period. There is a grace period for condominiums with AGMs due during the emergency period and the 30 days following its termination, but all condominiums in Ontario need to now be figuring out when their AGMs are due.

Question #2: When do condominiums need to hold their AGMs? 

Answer: It depends (favourite legal answer, right?). In all seriousness, it depends on when the condominium’s fiscal year-end. We have prepared a chart to explain the current deadlines. We have provided the normal (pre-Covid) deadlines that you are all likely familiar with for comparison purposes only.

FISCAL YEAR-END NORMAL (PRE-COVID) DEADLINE TO HOLD AGM CURRENT DEADLINE TO HOLD AGM
September 30, 2019 March 31, 2020 October 22, 2020
October 31, 2019 April 30, 2020 October 22, 2020
November 30, 2019 May 31, 2020 October 22, 2020
December 31, 2019 June 30, 2020 October 22, 2020
January 31, 2020 July 31, 2020 November 21, 2020
February 29, 2020 August 31, 2020 August 31, 2020
March 31, 2020 September 30, 2020 September 30, 2020
April 30, 2020 October 31, 2020 October 31, 2020
May 31, 2020 November 30, 2020 November 30, 2020
June 30, 2020 December 31, 2020 December 31, 2020
July 31, 2020 January 31, 2021 January 31, 2021
August 31, 2020 February 28, 2021 February 28, 2021
September 30, 2020 March 31, 2021 March 31, 2021
October 31, 2020 April 30, 2021 April 30, 2021
November 30, 2020 May 31, 2021 May 31, 2021
December 31, 2020 June 30, 2021 June 30, 2021

You will note from the above chart that the extension only applies to condominiums with fiscal year-ends in September 2019 to January 2020. Those condominiums with February 2020 fiscal year-ends have missed the extension period, which likely means that they have also missed the deadline to send their preliminary notices of meetings (due July 27 for an August 31 meeting). Most owners should be forgiving for a bit of delay in sending out the preliminary notice for condominiums with February 2020 fiscal year-ends, but they should work on getting the meeting called sooner than later. The other deadlines for condominiums with fiscal years ending in March 2020 or later remain the same for now. There is one caveat: the government has the power to declare further emergencies or pass legislation to change the above deadlines at any time.  

Question #3: Can condominiums hold virtual meetings or use electronic voting without passing by-laws to permit such?

Answer: Yes, for a brief period of time. Condominiums in Ontario have until November 21, 2020, to hold virtual meetings and use electronic voting without passing a by-law. After November 21, 2020 condominiums will need to use in-person meetings and traditional voting methods (i.e. proxies, ballots, show of hand), unless there are future legislative changes or further declared emergency periods that change this date. Since there could be restrictions on the number of people gathering indoors for the foreseeable future, it is important for condominiums (especially larger condominiums) to consider passing by-laws now to permit virtual meetings and electronic voting so they will be prepared to hold their meetings in the event the temporary amendments to the Act are not extended and there continue to be restrictions on in-person meetings.

There are some other important consequences related to the passage of Bill 195 and the end of the declared emergency. We will write about these in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!