Prior to the enactment of the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 the Government of Ontario conducted a collaborative public engagement process with various condominium industry stakeholders to identify issues of concerns. One of issues raised was the low rate of participation at meetings of condominium owners. This resulted in difficulties in reaching the quorum requirement and passing by-laws.
Effective November 1, 2017 changes in the amended Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) and amended Ontario Regulation 48/01 have been made to lower in certain circumstances the quorum requirement at meetings of owners and the owner voting threshold needed to pass by-laws.
Quorum for Meetings of Owners
The quorum for turnover meetings, annual general meetings and any meeting to elect one or more directors or to appoint a new auditor is still 25% of the voting units. However, if the corporation fails to achieve the 25% threshold at the first and second attempts to hold the meeting, then on the third and any subsequent attempts the quorum threshold is reduced to 15% of the voting units. The reduced quorum requirement will not apply to meetings concerning the removal of a director or auditor or to any other meetings of owners.
Owner Voting Thresholds to Approve By-laws
Section 56(10) of the Act provides that a by-law is not effective until confirmed by the owners of a majority of the voting units in the corporation, or such other number of units prescribed by the regulations.
The regulations lower the required owner voting threshold for specific by-law matters. For the following matters the by-law voting threshold will be a majority of the votes cast by owners at the meeting:
- To specify a core record;
- To add information to be included in a periodic information certificate, an information certificate update or a new owner information certificate;
- To specify more frequent time periods for sending a periodic information certificate or update;
- To specify additional director disclosure obligations and the time periods for those additional obligations;
- To specify the manner in which required information is presented at a meeting of owners, and to specify additional material that the board must place before the owners at the meeting;
- To specify the manner in which an individual intending to be a candidate for election to the board may notify the board, and the manner in which an owner may provide material to the board to include in the notice of meeting;
- To specify additional materials that are to be included in a preliminary notice or notice of meeting sent by the condominium corporation;
- To specify the method of electronic communication the condominium corporation can use in relation to communications by the corporation;
- To govern the manner in which an owner or mortgagee may be present at a meeting of owners or represented by proxy;
- To allow for voting by telephonic or electronic means;
- To specify additional records that must be maintained by the corporation and their required retention periods; and
- To specify what portion of a ballot or proxy form does not constitute a record of the corporation.
With the enactment of the new legislation, some corporations are starting to revise their bylaws so that they are consistent with the new changes. Corporations should consider when reviewing any amendment to their new general by-law, whether or not to include some of the items listed above. If that is the case, then the lower voting threshold would not apply.