It’s been fifteen months since the Province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency on March 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, many of us had never heard of Zoom. Fast forward to May 2021 and nearly everyone has attended meetings using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other online meeting platforms for work, education, social events, and strata meetings.
After the initial learning curve, many strata councils found that they enjoy the convenience of holding their council meetings and hearings electronically.
Annual and special general meetings have proven more challenging. While Ministerial Order No. M114, issued by the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General on April 15, 2020, allowed strata corporations to hold general meetings electronically, it did not provide the details of how to run such a meeting.
Many months later, we can take some guidance from decisions made by the Civil Resolution Tribunal in disputes related to electronic meeting procedures and proxies. Settle into your favourite armchair and give these a read:
- Canadian Regal Education Corporation v. Section 2 of The Owners, Strata Plan EPS1069, 2021 BCCRT 411
- Balayewich v. The Owners, Strata Plan LMS317, 2021 BCCRT 110
- Hodgson v. The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 908, 2021 BCCRT 463
- Curll v. The Owners, Strata Plan NW2926, 2021 BCCRT 504
- Hearn v. The Owners, Strata Plan NWS 3411, 2021 BCCRT 576
Additionally, Shawn M. Smith of Cleveland Doan LLP, recently provided his advice for Best Practices for General Meetings containing many tips for procedures for electronic meetings.
Strata corporations may continue to hold general meetings electronically if they have a bylaw permitting it. If not, time is running out. If you want to have this option available to you in the future, ask your strata lawyer to draft bylaws and present the 3/4 vote resolution at your next general meeting. The COVID-19 Related Measures Act has a cut-off date for permission for strata corporations to hold general meetings electronically. The deadline of July 10, 2021 is expected to be extended to December 31, 2021.
Update: B.C. Reg. 181/2021, deposited on July 9, 2021, under the COVID-19 RELATED MEASURES ACT extended the deadline to December 31, 2021.