When it comes to virtual condominium corporation meetings, especially the all-important AGM, the more advance planning you can complete helps with the end results you wish to achieve.
Determine Your Objectives
The AGM date has been fixed. Now the in-depth agenda planning and meeting delivery discussion begins.
First and foremost, what are your board’s objectives? How will you be handling presenting the candidates for the board election? Will you be adding any voting items, such as by-laws, to the meeting? Will you easily achieve quorum or will it be a challenge for your unit owners? What is your experience with virtual meetings? Have your owners expressed a preference for holding in-person AGMs or do they want access to both?
Your main objective should be to ensure a productive, interactive and effective meeting for all involved. How you achieve these goals will include determining whether to conduct an in-person, virtual or combination hybrid meeting.
What Works Best for Your Corporation
Thanks to the pandemic and mandated social distancing requirements, every condominium corporation has now had at least two years’ experience with virtual meetings. From first-hand knowledge, most corporations have had positive virtual meeting experiences and many directors have said their corporations will not return to in-person meetings. Others have missed the camaraderie and the social aspects of meeting with fellow owners.
Recently, CCI-National held a virtual conference that included a panel session called Hybrid Meetings. The session included experts from the virtual meetings industry and legal profession. The pros and cons of holding hybrid meetings were discussed. Here are some items to consider when deciding on the format of your AGM.
- Lots of Paper! If owners don’t bring their notice packages to the meeting, management should have extra handouts at the meeting. When the auditor presents the financial statements, owners will have to flip pages to follow what is being reported. Let’s not forget the paper ballots. Start printing.
- Voting at meeting or by proxy – you won’t know if quorum is achieved until registration right before the meeting unless you have done a great job at getting those paper proxies collected. Hopefully those proxies are valid! Be prepared to schedule enough time to deal with the line ups and often lengthy registration process. Consider telephone voting and E-Voting solutions for the voting portion of your in-person meeting- some refer to this process as one type of hybrid option.
- Often voter apathy to attend and vote at the meeting
- Long meetings and inefficient use of time and resources
- Costs of travel for lawyers and others who charge based on time to attend
- Owners view PowerPoint presentations and on-screen information
- The chair has more control – which speakers/panelists are shown onscreen, muting options, managing Q&A or how questions are asked in chat
- E-Voting – owners vote in advance and/or during the meeting, ability to change votes prior to the meeting, secure portal, achieve quorum in advance, know number of votes cast. Proxies become redundant.
- Potential for increase in involvement by certain members of your condominium communities such as the non-resident owner
- Favoured by auditors who can show reports onscreen and do not need to travel to attend
Boards of directors should determine the objectives you wish to achieve from your AGM. You know your corporations and owners best. How can you achieve the corporation’s goals and encourage your owners to participate in the corporation’s decision-making? We leave you with two additional resources that provide additional support for managers and directors.
This two-day virtual session is an excellent opportunity to learn the fine distinction between chairing an in-person meeting versus a virtual meeting. You can learn how to build on your chairperson’s skills and gain more confidence in your role as a virtual meeting chair. https://caicanada.com/
Need more information about the benefits of hybrid meetings? This link will take you to a comprehensive blog post answering many questions about hybrid meetings.