Government Will NOT Provide Further Extension to Deadlines to Hold AGMs

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The Ontario Government recently confirmed that it will NOT make further amendments to the Condominium Act, 1998, to permit condominiums to defer their annual general meetings beyond the deferral period that was previously granted during the declared emergency period. In part, the release stated:

Annual meetings are an essential component of the democratic functions and self-governance of corporations. They also represent an important opportunity for owners, members or shareholders to raise issues and to monitor the fiscal health, performance and governance of their corporations. As such, there will be no further extensions of annual meeting timelines.

While deferring the AGM made sense for a period of time while we assessed the situation, AGMs should not be deferred for several more months or possibly years while we wait for the pandemic to end. We need to adapt to the new normal. As such, condominiums must hold their AGMs in the prescribed time (see our previous post for more information on the deadlines: https://ontcondolaw.com/2020/07/30/end-of-the-declared-emergency-your-most-common-condo-agm-questions-answered/).

The Government did hint that they are considering extending the temporary amendments to permit virtual meetings and electronic voting to continue longer than the current period without a by-law. The release stated:

In order to ensure that corporations continue to be able to conduct meetings while protecting the health of Ontarians, the ministry is exploring changes that would extend the in-effect period of the temporary amendments related to virtual meetings and will communicate further updates as appropriate.

We understand that most of the virtual meeting providers are booked solid until 2021 now with all of the condominiums in Ontario moving to a virtual meeting for their AGMs and other meetings. Given the limited availability of the virtual meeting providers, hopefully the Government will consider some other potential solutions, such as formally recognizing “proxy only” meetings as appropriate for less controversial business.

For condominiums with deadlines approaching and no virtual meeting providers available to host the meeting, you can consider hosting the meeting on your own (or with the assistance of your lawyer or manager) or finding a venue to host the meeting in person with physical distancing requirements maintained. For larger condominiums, neither of these solutions is ideal, but both can work with a little extra effort.

Stay tuned!

Amendment Issue: Requisition Meetings

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I previously wrote about the changes coming to section 46 of the Act related to requisition meetings (https://ontcondolaw.com/2017/03/27/changes-are-coming-requisitions/). To recap, the biggest changes are: 1) a prescribed form for requisitions; 2) a prescribed process for communicating with the requisitionists; 3) a longer period of time to call and hold the meeting; and 4) the elimination of the owners’ right to call the meeting if the condominium refuses to do so.

The changes to section 46 of the Act that address requisition meetings have not yet come into force and a date has not been released. This means section 46 (as it was prior to the amendments) continues to apply while other related changes have been implemented, such as those for calling and holding meetings of the owners. Therein lies the problem. Continue reading

Amendments to the Condominium Act and other Acts Revealed

After several years of consultation with industry professionals, owners and other stakeholders, the government has finally released legislation to amend the Condominium Act, 1998: the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (Bill 106). The first reading of Bill 106 took place on Wednesday May 27th in the Legislature. A copy of Bill 106 can be found on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website.

Over the next few weeks I’ll spend some time describing some of the proposed amendments in more detail, but for now here are some of the highlights:

1) It amends 13 statutes, including the Condominium Act, 1998, Building Code Act, Land Titles Act, Mortgages Act, Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, Planning Act, and Residential Complex Sales Representation Act.

2) It creates a “condominium authority” that will hear some condominium disputes with the aim of providing a quicker, lower-cost dispute resolution process.

3) It requires returns to be filed with the new Condominium Registrar after creation of the condominium, after turn-over, and annual returns. It also requires condominiums to notify the Registrar of changes in directors.

4) It creates a standard unit definition for condominiums that have not passed a by-law to create one.

5) It makes shared facilities agreements mandatory where land is shared.

6) It changes the “owner-occupied” position to the “non-leased voting units” director and makes it not mandatory, but at the election of an owner of a non-leased voting unit.

7) It makes training mandatory for directors.

8) It makes pre-notices of owners’ meetings mandatory.

9) It modifies the requisition process by setting out the reasons meetings may be requisitioned and requires the board to respond within 10 days.

10) It allows for voting by telephone or electronic means, if the by-laws permit such.

11) Proxies must be in the prescribed form.

12) It enhances the disclosure requirements on declarants.

13) It changes the process for chargebacks and permits owners to challenge them by applying to the condominium authority tribunal or court, if the tribunal is not established.

14) It changes the sections on repair, maintenance, work done for owner, changes made by the condominium, and changes made by owners.

15) It clarifies that owners in arrears in excess of 30 days may not vote for various matters, not solely the ordinary matters that occur at annual meetings.

16) It extends the circumstances where mandatory mediation and arbitration are required.

17) It allows an owner who has been successful in court to collect additional actual costs from the condominium much like a successful condominium can now collect from an owner.

18) It creates a new compliance order process to the Registrar.

19) It creates additional requirements for developers of conversion condominiums, including various approval conditions and plans, and creates a pre-existing elements fund.

20) It creates the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015, which makes licensing of managers mandatory and creates a regulatory body to govern the profession, much like lawyers have with the Law Society.

The proposed amendments are 167 pages so you’ll need a considerable amount of time to sit down and read them in detail. Enjoy!

Errors in the Declaration or Description?

Despite being reviewed by a number of people during the development phase, sometimes a declaration or description is registered with an error or inconsistency in it. For instance, where two condominiums are mirror images of each other and the documents prepared from the first are used for the second. When the declaration for the second is registered they forget to switch the proportions to account for the reversed layout, which leads to the smallest units paying the largest share and the largest units paying the smallest. Unfortunately, the error is not discovered until after the second condominium is registered and the owners of the largest units (paying the smallest amount) will not consent to an amendment. What can be done? Continue reading

Top Condo Cases of 2014

The courts have been busy this year! While that is good news for law bloggers, it means far too many condominiums are spending money on lawyers when they could be spending it on solutions. Here are the highlights from cases in Ontario:

10. Declarants may use s.152(6) of the Condominium Act, 1998 to regain control of phased condominiums years after they became entitled to request a meeting of owners to elect a new board. Such conduct may not be oppressive, even when the reason for the request was to end litigation started by the condominium against the declarant: Middlesex 643 v. Prosperity Homes LimitedContinue reading

Condo ordered to amend declaration by court

In Grigoriu v. Ottawa-Carleton Standard Condominium Corporation No. 706 [2014] O.J. No. 2218 two owners of a unit applied to the court for an order amending the condominium’ declaration under section 135 of the Condominium Act, 1998. The owners claimed a recent amendment made to the declaration was oppressive or unfairly disregarded their interests.

Continue reading