Roles & Responsibilities
What Condo Boards Do
Condo boards are made up of an owner-elected or appointed group of directors responsible for overseeing the affairs of the corporation. Directors must act in the best interests of the corporation and are legally bound to do so in good faith.
Boards have ultimate responsibility for how a condo fares, regardless of the involvement of a management company. In most cases boards are the ultimate decision makers, referees of minor issues, administrators, educators, and overall leaders of the community.
Boards have two broad responsibilities:
The CAO has developed four foundations of good governance that all directors should consider when carrying out these responsibilities:
And here are some more day-to-day best practices for those that join a board:
- Keep your corporation’s best interest in mind
- Be involved, present and inquisitive during board meetings
- Ask questions about the information presented to you and seek more information if needed
- Be respectful and thoughtful in your dealings with staff, owners, tenants, managers
- Adhere to the Condo Act and governing documents
- Keep sensitive information confidential
Boards must have at least three directors but may have more depending on the specific needs of the corporation. The board’s size can be set in the by-laws but should be an odd number to avoid voting stalemates. Boards should aim to have a wide range of expertise while remaining small enough to be nimble and decisive. Here are some questions that can help determine the right size for your board:
- Do we have enough members to carry out all the duties required of us?
- Do we have the right mix of expertise to answer all questions posed to us?
- Are we having issues with level of involvement or absences, and should we look to mitigate this?
- Does experience show that we get the right kind of candidate putting their name forward for election?
Directors can serve on a board for three years by default, though corporations can enact by-laws to change this timeline if they think that they need more frequent renewal. The Condo Act doesn’t specify how many consecutive terms one can serve on a board, but this should also be limited to a maximum of three unless the corporation foresees having trouble finding enough volunteers to ensure renewal.
Important note: Only owners can elect or remove board members in corporations where at least 15 per cent of the units are occupied by owners.
Board composition & roles
Boards must elect a president and appoint a secretary. They may also appoint a vice-president. The Act does not specify any shortlist of duties for each role within the board, but by-laws may. CAO’s Best Practices Guide: Governance, provides some common lists of duties for each board position.
Duties may include chairing meetings, setting agendas, ensuring proper communications with owners, ensuring new directors are onboarded properly, and more.
Secretaries are like administrative custodians for the board. They ensure that meeting minutes are recorded properly, accurately and that they are balanced. They also set board meeting times and work with managers to respond to records requests.
VPs may take on the President’s duties in their absence, including having signing authority.
This is an optional role that many corporations nonetheless choose to have given the complex financial reporting and related decisions that boards must deal with. Treasurers work with managers or external vendors to prepare financial statements, monitor expenditures, makes recommendations on financial arrangements, and more. Treasurers should have some finance experience.