Virtual Meeting and Electronic Voting by-laws are all the rage right now. Most of our clients are adding this by-law to the agenda for their AGMs since getting this by-law confirmed by the owners only requires a majority vote of those in attendance (either virtually, electronically or by proxy). Most other by-laws, such as a Standard Unit by-law or a Borrowing by-law, require a majority vote in favour of all the voting units.
In 2014, we previously blogged about bylaw votes and the process of adjourning meetings to collect enough proxies for use at a reconvened meeting. Although this proxy technique has worked for many condo corporations, it can be a process that can span one to two years and often results in more meetings and more costs just to get by-laws confirmed.
Part of the problem with this method is that if the by-laws are presented for approval one to two years after the initial meeting, unit ownership can change during that period. This means that previously obtained proxies cannot be used for the reconvened meeting. It is also possible that the person initially appointed as the proxy may not be around to attend the reconvened meeting and therefore the proxy may also not be able to be used in that instance.
So, what has changed since 2014 and how does this impact on Adjourned Meetings and by-law votes?
- Preliminary Notice and Notice of Meeting must be sent – If no specific date is declared at the initial meeting for the reconvened meeting, Preliminary Notice and a Notice of Meeting must be sent setting a new date for the reconvened meeting.
- Preliminary Notice and Notice of Meeting do not need to be sent – All owners meetings require that a preliminary notice and notice of meeting be sent. However, if a meeting is adjourned to a specific date declared at the meeting (and that date is less than 35 days from the meeting), no further notice needs to be sent for the reconvened meeting. Owners should be provided with some form of reminder (i.e. informal notice), though, so that they are aware of the meeting date.
- Electronic Voting – For those condo corporations that have adopted the use of electronic voting or are contemplating doing so, the electronic vote (which can open when the Notice of Meeting is sent for the original meeting) can remain open until the vote is closed and the final reconvened meeting is held. This gives owners more time to vote and will often result in the successful approval of the by-laws in a couple of months time. The electronic vote can continue even if a new preliminary notice or notice is sent for a reconvened meeting.
- The old proxy method – The proxy form requires that a date be inserted in the proxy form for the reconvened meeting before those additional proxies can be completed by owners. The same holds true for electronic proxies. The proxy method limits the period in which owners can indicate how they wish their proxyholder to vote, giving owners less time to complete proxies.
- No more proxies needed – Advanced electronic voting no longer requires that proxies be collected from owners in advance of the meeting. This streamlines the registration process and voting process at the adjourned meeting.
The pandemic and the move from in-person meetings to virtual meetings, has resulted in many condominium corporations using electronic voting for the first time. Condo corporations have had to adapt to the new ways of voting and have successfully used advanced electronic voting for adjourned meetings to achieve the required vote for by-laws that may otherwise have taken years to approve.