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!