Over the past few weeks there has been lots of discussion among board members and condo managers about getting ready to hold “hybrid” meetings. But when you ask what exactly is a hybrid meeting, the answer usually is “a virtual meeting and an in-person meeting”.
First of all, let’s be practical here. Although smaller gatherings are permitted, I don’t think condominium corporations want to get into expensive meetings and complicated procedures. Combining two types of meetings is not an easy task and the question should be asked- what do you want to achieve?
- You want to achieve quorum
- You want to get the greatest participation from your owners
- You want your owners to vote
- You want to give the greatest accessibility to your owners
- You want to run an efficient and cost effective meeting
- You don’t want to solicit proxies if you don’t have to
- You don’t want that rush at the registration desk
- You don’t want complicated and lengthy voting tabulation
Knowing what your objectives are, then ask yourself the following questions:
Audio Visual requirements
- Will the chair, auditor and any presenters be virtual or physically at the meeting?
- If they are not in person, will there be a screen and sound system for in person attendees to see and hear the presenters?
- How will virtual attendees see in person participation? Is a laptop computer with a camera sufficient for individuals to use if they are participating in person? What about physical distancing?
- How will registration be handled? Online just for virtual attendance and in person as a separate registration list? If there are separate lists who will report on quorum and how?
- Will in person registration be online so there is one registration system?
- Which Voting Method:
- Electronic voting only
- Electronic voting and paper ballots
- Electronic voting and proxies
- Electronic voting, proxies and paper ballots
- How will you know to give out a paper ballot at the meeting if you are doing electronic voting where owners may already have voted electronically? Remember advance electronic voting will get you your quorum without the need for proxies.
- How will you know to accept a paper proxy at registration if you have electronic voting?
- How will you confirm if a proxy giver already voted in advance or if the proxy giver decides to vote in real time electronically during the meeting?
- Should you only allow electronic voting so there is only one voting system?
- Should you have in person real time voting from smart phones and have a laptop or iPad available -like a polling station?
- Scrutineers- how will reporting on the vote be determined if you allow paper ballots, proxies and electronic voting?
I am sure that once you answer the above questions you will see that a “hybrid” meeting is not so simple. It may be that condominium corporations just stick to virtual meetings for awhile and use electronic voting but put a visual screen and speakers in the party room for owners to come down and watch. Those owners can register for the virtual meeting online even if they attend in person and vote from their smart phone or computer prior to and at the meeting.
For the many condominium corporations that used electronic voting prior to the pandemic, having the in person meeting and using electronic voting, made the whole meeting process a lot easier than the past practices of proxies and paper ballots. Now having condominium corporations continue with virtual meetings and setting up a screen for those that want to view the meeting and may not have a computer, may be the most cost effective and less complicated way to go for now.
CondoVoter will be discussing this topic together with a panel led by Graeme MacPherson at CAI Canada’s Virtual Condo Conference September 16th and 17th. Lash Condo Law and CondoVoter will have virtual booths with interesting items to share. Great Legal Panels led by Shawn Pulver and Rod Escayola with Josh Milgrom presenting viewers with his take on some interesting case decisions.
Register now to reserve your spot. CAI Canada Members are free and others are $35.00 – a real bargain for a lot of great information. Click here for more information.