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Can condo owners ask to see minutes of *future* board meetings?

We all know that condo owners can ask for copies of past board meetings. This is done through a records request. But can an owner proactively request to see minutes of all future board meetings or must they make a request each month?

Do you think corporations should post minutes of board meetings or should the onus be left on owners to ask for them?  Tell us what you think by taking this quick survey.

Condo records only include existing records

In our view, the regime applicable to records requests under the Condo Act only deals with existing documents (such as minutes of past meetings) and not with future documents not yet in existence.

Section 55 of the Condo Act lists various records which condo corporations shall keep.  This list includes “a minute book containing the minutes of owners’ meetings and the minutes of board meetings”.  Evidently, this book does not included minutes of board meetings that have not yet been held.  Moreover, with respect to board minutes, the definition of “core records” is limited to minutes of meetings held within the 12-month period preceding the records requests.

In our view, there is no such thing as advance records requests.  Future documents are not yet records of the corporation and the legislative framework is clear on this. An owner’s right to records only applies to existing records, not future ones.

So can owners ask for future minutes anyways?

Some owners may be tempted to simply submit one records request to deal with all future meetings on a going forward basis. Some condo corporations may also be tempted to accept such requests to facilitate the process and to avoid being perceived as being too obstructionists.

Here is why it is not a good idea.

Accepting an open-ended records requests for minutes of future board meetings would put an unnecessarily risky and heavy burden on the corporation to do something indefinitely without a reminder to do so. It basically imposes a new obligation that does not exist at law and that it may not always be able to meet. Failing to abide by this new self-impose obligation may attract complaints and even liability. Indeed, if the corporation misses one month, is it now failing to provide records “without a reasonable excuse”?

So what are the options available to get future board minutes?

If an owner wants access to board minutes on a going forward basis, it is up to them to make a request for same on a going forward basis, at the desired frequency.  Doing it at least once every 12 months ensures that the minutes sought are “core records”. The owner could also request minutes more frequently if they wish to receive minutes on a more timely basis.  The corporation would then respond to each requests pursuant to the framework and timeline provided under the Condo Act.

Naturally, condo corporations can always (but do not have to) proactively post or share their board minutes. They can also provide summaries of minutes (in such case, make sure you clearly indicate that the document is only a summary and not the minutes themselves).   Using an online portal may be an easy way of going about it.  Once again, there is no obligation on the corporation’s part to automatically share their minutes, but some corporations opt to do so.

Quick survey

Do you think corporations should post minutes of board meetings or should the onus be left on owners to ask for them?  Tell us what you think by taking this quick survey.