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Must Condos Include Materials in a Meeting Package if Owners Demand It?

Allow me to paint a small picture in your minds. Condo 123’s AGM is coming up. Accordingly, the Board sends out a preliminary notice of meeting. As per the Act, the Board includes an invitation that owners may provide any material they want included in the subsequent notice of meeting. The Board also provides the required deadline to submit these materials. These deadlines are easy to calculate with our handy AGM Calculator.

The owners respond, and send several of these requests to include various materials. Now what? Must the Board include these materials? The short answer is no. But this may not always be the practical answer.

What does the Act say?

Section 45.1(1) of the Act states that preliminary notices must include certain information and statements. One such statement is a request that owners provide the board with any material they want included in the subsequent notice of meeting.

However, the question then becomes “what must Boards do with these requests”?

Section 45.1(2) of the Act specifically addresses this issue. It says that when the board receives requests from owners to include materials the general notice, they do not have to be included in the subsequent notice of meeting.

In addition, section 12.2(2)(e) of the Regulations goes a step further. According to this section, the preliminary notice must specifically indicate that the board doesn’t have to include any material despite having received a request from owners to do so. The notice must include the submitted materials only in certain circumstances.

Section 12.8 of the Regulations lays this out for us. The materials must be included if the submission is:

  • submitted by at least 15% of the units;
  • made in the correct form (more on this below);
  • provided within the deadline in the preliminary notice;
  • made using an accepted method (more on this below as well); and
  • not contrary to the Act or Regulations.

Obviously, not all requests will meet these requirements. Those that do not, need not technically be included.

How are requests submitted?

I would like to briefly touch on how to make such a submission before continuing on. There are two main requirements: form and method of submission.

Form – Owner submissions should use the form called “Submission to Include Material in the Notice of Meeting of Owners”. This form can be found here.

Method – There are a number of ways to provide owner submissions to the Board, according to section 12.8 of the Regulations:

  1. by any method set out in a Board resolution;
  2. by any method set out in a by-law;
  3. sending it to the address of service for the Corporation; or
  4. in the same manner as a records request (see section 13.3(4) of the Regulations);

Note that section 12.2(2)(f) of the Regulations requires that preliminary notices state these methods.

So what is the point?

Back on track. You may be left scratching your head. What is the point of even asking for the materials in the first place if the Board does not have to include them (except in very particular circumstances)? It seems like a rather toothless requirement, doesn’t it?

The purpose of Owners’ meetings is typically to address important issues that affect all of the owners/occupiers. It may be the case that the owner of unit 214 feels like their unit is too cold, or that whoever lives above unit 1405 has taken up at-home-bowling in the late hours of the night. Of course, these are both important issues, but are not necessarily appropriate meeting topics. If they were, meetings could themselves go on into the late hours of the night.

However, the Board may receive other material submissions that do seem more suited to meetings. For example, the City’s composting schedule, or information about a Neighbourhood watch or a copy of the latest RFS. The Act and Regulations give owners the right to bring these materials and issues to the Board’s attention. However, they do not legally require these issues to be topics at a subsequent meeting.

A practical answer

Let’s forget about the law for a minute, and try applying some common sense. (There’s an oxymoron, here!).

If there really is enough interest in a particular issue (i.e. at least 15% of the units), owners can just requisition a meeting to address that issue. This ability creates an incentive for the board to include owner suggestions in their notice package. Why not avoid the hassle of another meeting if it can be addressed at the AGM?

Accordingly, always give these requests some serious consideration. Don’t just treat them like a mere formality. While it may be that the submission was not made by 15% of owners, or that the proper form has not been used, if there seems to be a wide interest in the topic, it should not be lightly discarded.  In this vein, while we always recommend that owners use the prescribed forms, we don’t think submissions should be outright ignored if they are not.

Condominium law is very democratic. This means, each owner has a voice. Of course, the more voices included, the louder the chorus will be. As such, if owners want to ensure that a particular topic is covered in a meeting, they should strive submit materials that demonstrate a wide interest in discussing it. They should also try to ensure that the submission is compliant with all of the Act‘s requirements.

Likewise, when Boards and/or managers receive materials that owners are requesting be included in a meeting package, they should be mindful of the breadth of the issue being raised and not too quick to discard it.

Like almost all things in the law. This requires a bit of a balancing act. Should you ever find yourself tilting a little too far in one direction, we are always happy to help with getting back on the tightrope.