AdministratorApril 10, 2022 at 4:37 pm
I recently ‘attended’ (by Zoom) a special general meeting of a credit union. Notice was properly given. The agenda was circulated in advance with the necessary documentation for the business of the meeting. Motions were prepared in advance, with movers and seconders in attendance on-line. Decisions were arranged to be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ with a vote conducted by a show of hands on the Zoom application. A limited number of questions were permitted, submitted on the Zoom ‘chat’ function and answered verbally. The meeting ran efficiently, on time. It seemed to me to be routine business with nothing controversial; the CU management had sorted out all those issues before bringing the business to the meeting. I believe this could be a good model for condominium corporations.
A difficulty for condominiums could be attendance and information giving and receiving for the people not able to use Zoom. Finding proxies should handle most of those issues, and as @bobmacleod pointed out, careful distribution of paperwork, and discussion with people in advance, should resolve most outstanding issues.
Elections could be an issue. Obviously nominating potential board members from the floor of the meeting wouldn’t work. It is not a ‘Best Practice’ anyway, and COFSAB is all about looking for Best Practices.
A couple of organizations of which I am a member have conducted elections by electronic means using a third-party application.
Firstly, well in advance, candidates were invited to self-nominate (or be nominated by others) and submit a statement of why they wanted to be elected. In some cases, questions were to be answered. Statements were limited to a certain number of words and could be submitted in either or both official languages (these are Canada-wide organisations).
Secondly, all the eligible electorate (owners not in default of their ‘contributions’ in a condominium) were issued a PIN and then emailed a URL accessing an on-line ballot with all the candidates in random order. In these elections, the voters were asked to rank all the candidates in order of preference. The software then carried out the count, showing the result of each round of counting. The result was the most popular candidates were declared elected. Provision was made for paper ballots to be issued and returned to a trusted ‘counter’.
In the case of the Leadership of the Green Party of Canada, where there could be only one successful candidate, the degree of support for the new Leader was clear and transparent. The vote count took only minutes of computer time; the result was announced slowly, so all could see (by Zoom and on CPAC) the results of each round. The successful candidate was only apparent in the eighth round. In another (smaller) organisation, the election closed at midnight before the General Meeting. The software produced the result of the board election in seconds; the result was announced at the general meeting. However, to ensure transparency, the results by progressive rounds of counting were available on-line. (The system used in both examples was the Single Transferable Vote, STV, a preferential ballot in a proportional representation system. Other systems can be used, but why not use the best?)
In summary, our AGMs could be carried out electronically and effectively if they are well planned and carefully prepared. We need to be aware of the requirements of the Condominium Property Act and Regulation and take care not to violate the requirements. One question that comes to my mind is whether a ‘snowbird’ could attend by Zoom from outside the municipality where the condominium is located. One could even visualize a situation where everyone – owners, management and electronics operators – was outside the municipality where the condominium is located. What then?