Often times condo corporations will hold information/town hall meetings to update owners on current issues and also to get feedback from owners on various matters. Since these meetings are not considered owners meetings under the Condominium Act, the notice requirements and typical registration and meeting procedures do not apply.
In this context, a recent CAT decision, Rafael Barreto-Rivera v Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 704 (“MTCC 704”) is important to consider.
Rafael Barreto-Rivera is a unit owner in MTCC 704 . In January 2016, the Secretary of the board of MTCC 704 sent an email to the owners advising them that the board was arranging what she called “an owners meeting” with MTCC 704’s architect to answer questions about a window project. The email contained the date, time and location of the meeting. No formal minutes for the meeting were ever taken, however, the board did circulate a summary of discussion of the meeting a few days after the meeting took place.
The unit owner requested minutes from the meeting approximately nine months after the meeting. The board did not formally respond to this owner’s request, took the position that the meeting was not an “official” owners meeting, no minutes were required and therefore no such record exists.
The dispute was heard by the tribunal and the adjudicator found that the board was required to create and maintain minutes of that meeting, which was “appropriately characterized as an owner’s meeting”. MTCC 704 was required to pay to the owner a penalty of $500 in recognition of the board’s conduct in failing to prepare the minutes or respond to the owner.
The important takeaway from this decision is that if a board decides to hold a purely informational meeting that it should be made clear in any communication sent to the owners that this meeting is for that purpose only. Otherwise, the board may be faced with disputes arising out of the board’s failure to call and hold an owners’ meeting in accordance with the provisions in the Condominium Act.