Once a year, you get a chance to sit down with your Board of Directors and get an update. If you’ve never been to one you may want to know: what should I expect at my AGM? And why does it matter to you (see a scary story below).
Why do we have them?
Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are an annual rite of passage for condo owners. They serve a lot of purposes:
- The Corporation’s auditor speaks directly to owners on how their condo finances look;
- Owners get to choose who audits their financial statements (within the Condo Act requirements);
- Owners get to vote on the accuracy of last year’s record of the meeting (called minutes);
- Owners get to vote for who they want to be on the Board;
- The Board gets to present any concerns to owners, directly;
- By-laws or declaration amendments get presented and owners can ask questions and vote; and
- Usually, there is a question and answer period, where owners can ask general Corporation questions and the answers are provided to all owners at the same time.
What if I can’t make the meeting?
Not everyone’s schedule will line up with the date chosen for your AGM. Fortunately, there is a solution: a proxy form. The government of Ontario has created a mandatory form that is to be used as a proxy. Owners can fill this form out, once you receive one (with the information you’re voting on). It looks kind of confusing, but if you follow it step-by-step (and you can even use this guide), you should be able to complete it.
Make sure you send it in before the day of the meeting, or with someone who will be attending the meeting.
Proxies must be submitted before the meeting is called to order to the chair of the meeting.
What is with all of this paper?
We agree. It’s a lot. A lot of people shut down when they see so much paper (or so many pages in an email). But, this paperwork is for you to be aware of what’s going on at the meeting and have the documentation to back it up.
So what is in this pile of paperwork? See the list below.
The first package is your Preliminary AGM package.
It tells you:
- The planned date for the AGM,
- How many Board positions are up for election,
- Deadlines to let your manager know if you want to run for the Board, suggest another item for the agenda and if you want to suggest another auditor, and
- If there are other items that will need to be voted on.
The first package will contain a Disclosure Form for owners to complete if they are interested in having their name be on the proxy, for election. You can still run for the Board AT the meeting, you’ll just need to read the answers to the owners present.
The second package is your AGM Package
Your manager will mail your AGM package to you 15 days before your meeting. If you have provided consent for electronic communication, you’ll get it right away. Otherwise, we’re all at Canada Post’s mercy.
It will contain:
- A Notice of Meeting
- This is a standardized form that will let you know details about the meeting, who is up for election and the purpose of the meeting
- An Agenda
- This lists the specific purpose of the meeting
- The last set of minutes, for approval
- This is a record of what happened at the last meeting
- The Audited Financial Statements
- The independent accountant will have gone through your entire year’s statements and audited the expenses/revenues. Their report includes an opinion as to whether the Corporation is following the rules of managing finances or not.
- Items for approval
- If your Board has decided a new by-law or an amendment to the Declaration is desirable, they will include the necessary documentation for you to vote on
- See above
- There could be a number of other items to review, including items owners have requested be discussed.
What should I expect at my AGM?
Your condo manager or a Board member will call the meeting to order. You’ll run through the agenda. AGMs need 25% of all units to be represented at the meeting (by proxy or in person). If you’re discussing by-laws or declaration amendments, this threshold increases.
Motions will be made and votes will happen, and sometimes quickly (my fastest AGM was 20 minutes), so it makes sense to review the material in the package before the meeting. Ask questions by putting your hand up, but make sure they only apply to the Corporation. Unit-specific issues will not be dealt with at the AGM.
All meetings should be run with similar ‘rules of order’, loosely based on Robert’s Rules of Order. But you don’t need to brush up on those if you don’t want to. Just be polite and ask appropriate questions during the agenda item that your question applies to! If you have a question, you’re likely not the only one in the crowd.
Results from the election or votes will be announced at the meeting. If your meeting didn’t get quorum, the meeting may need to be called again, depending on the threshold that was required.
AGMS during COVID-19 Restrictions
Right now, all bets are off with AGMs, it seems. We can’t safely gather, so the government has put out legislation (Bill 190) that allows your Corporation to
- Delay your AGM if it falls during the emergency period
- Hold your AGM by electronic means, even if you don’t have a by-law to do so
- Send all AGM materials by e-mail, even if you have not signed an electronic communications agreement (see here)
This means, your Board has 3 options right now, if you are due for an AGM.
- Delay your AGM until the emergency orders have been lifted
- Hold an AGM by proxy
- Hold an AGM by electronic means
Stay tuned to see what your Board chooses!
Someone Else Will Go…. (or will they?)
AGMs are an important part of condo living and we encourage you to attend one each year or send in your proxy. Whatever you do, don’t do ‘nothing’. Corporations that struggle to get quorum often also have owners who don’t know (or unfortunately don’t care) what is going on in their Corporation. Protect your investment.
Corporations who don’t have interested owners open themselves up to risk of fraud like in these condos.