The new forms under the “new” Condominium Act were released on November 1, 2017. A month later, the industry is still getting familiar with these new documents and we are receiving many questions about them; especially about the new proxy form. In this blog, we discuss the new proxy form and how to complete it.
The new proxy form
As we all know, owners that cannot attend an owners’ meeting can give their proxy to someone else to attend the meeting and vote on their behalf. Section 52 of the Act provides that a proxy:
- must be in writing under the hand of the appointer;
- must be for one or more particular meetings of owners; and
- must be in the prescribed form.
While there was a prescribed proxy form under the “old” Act, the use of the form was not mandatory. As such, people could adapt the form as needed. However, since November 1st, a proxy must be in the prescribed form and cannot be modified. A copy of the new mandatory form can be found here.
This new form is 3 pages long and quite different from what people are used to. This is causing a fair bit of confusion… even at my own condo corporation. At my recent AGM, many owners were unsure how to complete the new proxy form. Indeed, unless someone takes the time to study it carefully, the new form can be confusing.
Here is additional guidance on how to complete the new proxy form.
The first page of the form serves to identify the unit owner granting the proxy.
On the left-hand side of the page, you need to identify your condominium corporation and who is completing the form (owner, power of attorney or mortgagee). At the bottom of the page, you need to indicate the date and time the proxy is being completed.
On the right hand side, you need to indicate your name and the address of your unit. You also need to sign the proxy at the bottom of the page.
Having separated the information between the right and left hand side allows a corporation to allow the inspection of a proxy while easily redacting confidential and personal information (i.e.: who gave the proxy).
Appointment of proxy holder and authority
The second page deals with the appointment of your proxy holder (i.e., the person the owner appoints to act on his/her behalf). It also gives the proxy holder instructions on what he can or can’t do for the owner.
Who do you appoint as a proxy holder?
At the top of the page, you need to identify the date of the meeting and the name(s) of the proxy holder(s) in order of preference. This allows you to name as proxy holder more than one person in case your first pick does not attend the meeting. Please note that your proxy holder does not need to be an owner.
What can your proxy holder do?
The owner then needs to choose what powers are given to the proxy holder.
- Check the first box if you simply want your proxy to count for quorum purposes and allow your proxy holder to only vote on routine procedure at the meeting.
- Alternatively, check the second box if you want to give full authority to the proxy holder to vote on all matters at the meeting, including on the election or removal of directors.
Can the proxy decide who to vote for?
A welcome change under the amended Act is the fact that you do not necessarily have to select ahead of time who you want the proxy holder to vote for at the meeting. You can delegate that decision to the proxy holder.
Indeed, under subsection 52(5) of the “old” Act, an owner had to identify, before the meeting, who he/she wanted his/her proxy to vote for. The result of this was that the proxy holder could not vote for a new candidate who was nominated from the floor at the meeting. Moreover, this required the owner to lock-in his/her vote before the meeting, without the benefit of hearing what was discussed at the meeting. Many people felt this was unfair. In light of the fact that subsection 52(5) has now been repealed, we are of the view that this means that an owner can give the authority to his/her proxy holder to decide who he will vote for.
Therefore, by simply checking the second box (on page 2), you give full discretion to your proxy holder to vote for whoever he/she wants, unless you provide specific instructions on your proxy. If instead you prefer to lock-in your vote and give specifics instructions to your proxy holder on how to vote, you have to complete the rest of the proxy form.
Instructions to proxy holder
In the event that you want to give specific instructions to your proxy holder on how to vote at the meeting, you need to complete the remaining sections at the bottom of page 2 and at page 3.
At the bottom of page 2, you will find the section dealing with (1) election of directors and (2) removal of directions. Please note that you should indicate the names of the candidates in order of preference. On page 3, you will find the sections dealing with (3) the owner-occupant position on the board and (4) votes on specific matters (e.g. for or against a new rule or by-law).
Have a look at the meeting’s agenda and package received from your condominium corporation to know what votes are expected to take place at the meeting. This will help you determine which sections of the proxy form you need to complete. For instance, even if you give instructions to your proxy holder to vote for the removal of a specific director, such vote will not take place unless it is on the agenda.
Finally, do not forget that every time you check a box or write a name on page 2 and 3, you need to confirm your instructions by signing or putting your initials on the right-hand side of the page in the corresponding section.
Here you go! It’s as simple as that. More information about voting by proxy can be found on the Condo Authority’s website.