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Covid Changes to the Condo Act are here to stay … for a while.

Today, in a legislative sprint, Ontario fast tracked Bill 190 (the “Covid-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020″).   This Bill is modernizing numerous pieces of legislation to adapt them to our post-Covid world. With respect to the Condo Act, this Bill confirmed that some of the temporary changes adopted on April 24 are here to stay for a while.

Don’t miss our webinar “Opening CondoLand”, Wednesday at 5pm.  Our experts will provide a step-by-step Risk Assessment process to follow when reopening your amenities.  More information, speakers and registration form are here.

Changes to the Condo Act

You may recall that, on April 24, 2020, Ontario adopted an Order in council which for the duration of the period of emergency:

  • Allowed the postponement of certain AGMs;
  • Allowed all AGMs and other meetings of owners to be held virtually  regardless of whether your corporation had a by-law permitting it;
  • Allowed board meetings to be called and held virtually (even if not all directors consented to it); and,
  • Allowed notices of meetings to be given electronically to owners (even if they had no consented to it).

You can read more about this Order in council here.

How long will these changes last?

One of the confusing element with the April Order in council was that the period of “declared emergency” was not defined.  How long were these changes valid for?  Now we know… sort of…

Bill 190 has amended the Condo Act by adding a new Part IV.1, which defines the period of emergency as extending for a period of 120 days following the end of the declared emergency.  This period can be further extended by another 120 days.

What does that mean?

This means that a corporation’s ability to call and hold a virtual AGM and to vote electronically (even without a by-law permitting it) will continue for at least 120 days following the end of the declared emergency.  This takes care of the uncertainty that existed around what would happened if the declared emergency ended between the calling and the holding of a virtual AGM. It provides us with a 120 day transition period.

Now we know that, regardless of when Premier Ford ends the  period of Declared Emergency, the temporary provisions of the Condo Act will continue to apply for at least 120 days.

The next question is: when will the Declared Emergency end?  We don’t know. What we do know is that it has been extended until June 2, 2020. …. for now.

To call or not to call your AGM?

So here are your options now:

  1. You can call a virtual AGM (regardless of whether you have a by-law permitting it) provided that your AGM is called and held within 120 days following the end of the emergency period;
  2. You can postpone your AGM and hold it in person if you hold it either:
    • Within 90 days following the end of the declared emergency (if your AGM fell within the emergency period)
    • Within 120 days following the end of the declared emergency (if your AGM fell within the first 30 days following the end of the emergency period)

You may want to consult your favourite condo lawyer to see what makes more sense and to clarify the practical impact of the Order in Council and of Bill 190.

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