Bill 53 and Virtual AGMs for Condominium Corporations
A previous version of this article contained information that has since been updated for condominiums. Please refer to this article and the resources specific to condominiums.
Bill 53, which amended section 31 of the Condominium Property Act, passed into law in Alberta on March 26, 2021. The effect of the amendment is to require all condominium corporations to hold their general meetings by electronic means unless their bylaws expressly state otherwise. The Bill 53 requirements are not tied to the COVID-19 public health orders. They will continue after the pandemic has ended.
Before Bill 53, the Condominium Property Act allowed condo boards to hold their board meetings electronically but prohibited condo corporations from holding their general meetings by electronic means. This caused a real problem for corporations which, although required by the Condominium Property Act to hold AGMs and SGMs, were prohibited from doing so by the Covid-19 public health orders that limited or prohibited in-person gatherings.
To respond to the situation, the Government proposed amending the Condominium Property Act to give condominium corporations “the option” of holding their AGMs and SGMs by electronic means so that the meetings could proceed without the need for in-person gatherings. It advised that “If organizations wish to continue meeting and voting in person, they could continue to do so without changing their bylaws.” This proposal was welcomed by owners, boards and managers across the province.
However, Bill 53 went further than the proposal. To meet the new requirements, all AGMs and SGMs must be held by electronic means. Condominium Corporations may also make accommodations for those persons who do not want to attend a meeting by electronic means. They can hold a “hybrid meeting” at which some people attend electronically and others attend in-person.
Persons who attend electronically must be able to vote at the meeting by electronic, telephonic or other method the corporation has made available.
What should we do now?
The new requirements are mandatory unless the corporation’s bylaws expressly state otherwise, so you need to review your bylaws to see what they say.
If your corporation wants to hold all future AGMs and SGMs by electronic means, and if your bylaws do not require your corporation to hold in-person meetings, then you don’t need to do anything.
If your corporation wants to have the option of deciding whether or not to have electronic meetings, or if it wants to require all future AGMs and SGMs to be in-person, then you should consult your lawyer to have your bylaws amended accordingly.