If you have any questions about any of the information on the CAO’s guided steps to common issues, please contact us directly.
Issues can sometimes arise in regards to meetings, particularly at meetings where items are being voted on or where business is being conducted, as people may disagree with the way the meeting is being conducted or the decisions being made.
Examples of common meetings issues include:
- Owners feeling like they have been left out of the decision-making process.
- An insufficient number of owners attend and quorum cannot be established.
- An owner wants to have an item added to the agenda, but the board refuses.
- Issues with proxy forms and people voting on behalf of owners who are not present.
There are also very complex rules for each different type of meeting. For example, there are different notice requirements, rules regarding quorum, and rules regarding voting rights depending on the type of meeting being held. For more information on these specifics, you may wish to consult the Act.
Oftentimes, condominiums will have by-laws or rules that:
- Prohibit noises at certain times;
- Prohibit certain activities at certain times; and/or
- Prohibit interfering with the ability of a neighbour to enjoy their property.
In addition to your by-laws or rules, section 117 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (“the Act”) currently prohibits a person from allowing a condition to exist or to carry on activity in a unit or in the common elements if it is likely to damage the property or injure someone.
The following list is intended to provide a general guide to where information on meetings can be found in the Act but is not intended to be exhaustive:
- Section 45 and, beginning November 1, 2017, will also set out the procedure that must be followed for calling a meeting.
- Section 46 deals with requisition meetings, which are meetings that are held in response to a request by the owners.
- Section 47 sets out the requirements of notices regarding meetings.
- Section 48 deals with a mortgagee’s right to vote.
- Section 49 states that an owner is not entitled to vote at a meeting if they have not paid their common expenses contributions for 30 days.
- Section 50 states that quorum for a meeting of the owners is 25% unless the condo has a by-law that raises it to 33.3%.
- As of November 1, 2017, Section 50 has been amended and new quorum rules come into effect.
- Section 51 deals with voting rights.
- Section 51 (6), (7), and (8) deal with voting for the removal of directors from the board.
- Section 52 deals with the process for casting votes.
- As of November 1, 2017, Section 52 has been amended to allow for votes to be cast by telephone or other electronic means, if permitted by the by-laws.
- Section 52 (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7) deal with proxy voting.
- As of November 1, 2017, Section 52 (6) has been repealed and proxies are required to be on the new prescribed form.
- Section 53 states that questions or items shall be determined based on a simple majority of the voters present.
While the Act and your condo’s by-laws contain a great deal of information on voting rights and how meetings should be called, it does not provide much detail on how they should be conducted. Many issues regarding meetings arise from the way that the meeting is held – often times, owners do not feel like they are given an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions, or that they are not given enough time to discuss the issue before a vote is held. These are not topics that are covered by the Act, but may be addressed in your condo’s by-laws. These types of issues or concerns should be raised with your board or manager.
Under section 119 of the Act, all owners and residents; directors, officers and employees of a corporation; and a declarant, the lessor of a leasehold condominium corporation, are required to comply with the Act, the declaration, by-laws and rules. If any of these individuals do not comply, legal action may be taken against them.
We recommend that you attempt all the steps below in sequence (where appropriate) until your issue is resolved.
1. Familiarize yourself with how condo meetings are called and run
The Act contains many sections that provide a large amount of detail on meetings. Your condo may also have by-laws that deal with meetings. You may wish to review both the Act and your by-laws to see if your issue is addressed. Refer to the Legislation, By-laws and Rules page to learn more.
If you have already read this information, proceed to step 2.
2. Raise your questions or concerns with your board or manager
Your next step is to raise any questions or concerns you may have with your board or manager. If you have a question about how your condo handles meetings, including the provision of notices, quorum, handling of proxies, or how meetings are conducted, your board or manager can probably provide you with an answer. If you are concerned that owners are not being given an opportunity to share their opinions or to discuss an issue before voting, it is important that you raise your concerns with your board or manager, so that they can consider changing how they conduct the meetings to allow for more owner input.
If your issue is not resolved by notifying your condominium corporation, proceed to step 3.
3. Follow up in writing
If you have already expressed your concern to the condo manager or board, you may wish to follow up in writing. For future reference, you should keep a copy of the letter or email that you send and make note of the day that you sent it.
You can use the letter or email template on the How-to guide and letter templates page to communicate with your condo manager or board.
Need more help?
Mediation and arbitration are effective ways to resolve disputes where the parties are unable to reach a resolution themselves. Mediation and arbitration are commonly used to help resolve difficult condo disputes and are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Under section 132 (4) of the Condominium Act, 1998, all condo corporations in the province are deemed to have a provision in their declaration stating that disputes regarding the declaration, by-laws or rules must be filed for mediation or arbitration. Your condo corporation may also have a by-law establishing the procedure that must be followed in the event of a dispute.
If you have been asked to participate in a mediation or arbitration, you are likely legally required to participate.
If you want to try mediation or arbitration for an unresolved issue, you will need to find a mediator or arbitrator who can assist you. You can search for a mediator or arbitrator online and through organizations that provide ADR services, such as the ADR Institute of Ontario.
Mediation is a process where a neutral facilitator tries to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation is the preferred approach because it’s often less costly and it gives the parties an opportunity to collaborate on finding a solution that everyone is comfortable with.
If mediation fails, binding arbitration is the next step. Arbitration is a process where an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) conducts a hearing and makes a ruling on the issues in the dispute. The parties involved in the dispute bring evidence to this hearing and then the arbitrator makes a binding decision. There are some cases where an arbitration decision can successfully be appealed to court.
Further legal action
If you are considering legal action against a neighbour or your condo corporation, you may wish to talk to a lawyer or paralegal. It is recommended that you try mediation and/or arbitration before taking a dispute to court.