Effective April 17, 2020 all strata corporations can now hold electronic general meetings during the pandemic.
The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued an order on April 15, 2020 under the Emergency Program Act enabling all strata corporations to conduct electronic meetings, including Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings, and hearings during the provincial state of emergency. (Note: prior to the pandemic, strata councils have had, and continue to have, the flexibility to hold strata council meetings electronically).
This order applies to all strata corporations whether or not they have a bylaw allowing general meetings to be held electronically.
The ability to hold meetings or hearings using telephone conference calls or an online application, such as Skype or Zoom, helps strata corporations comply with the orders and recommendations of B.C.’s Public Health Officer.
While restricted proxy meetings can also be a good option, the strata council may choose the best means for their strata, as long as it allows everybody to communicate with each other during the meeting. If an online meeting platform is chosen, alternatives for those owners or residents without a computer could include allowing some people to attend in person or by telephone, or participating by proxy.
Some strata councils and owners are concerned about holding upcoming annual or special general meetings given restrictions on gatherings. Annual general and special general meetings must meet certain timelines, notice periods and procedures as set out by the Strata Property Act. Important business is also conducted at general meetings, such as approving annual budgets.
CHOA (the Condominium Home Owners Association) has an April 17, 2020 information bulletin on holding electronic meetings (pdf).
In addition to holding electronic general meetings, strata councils have several other options for general meetings including: delaying, relocating, waiving an annual general meeting, or using restricted proxy voting.
Restricted Proxy Voting
A general meeting that uses restricted proxies is a viable way to accomplish necessary business without meeting in person or meeting electronically. However, it requires careful preparation. A restricted proxy is provided to each eligible voter as part of the meeting notice package. It enables the voter to instruct the person to whom the proxy is given (typically a designated strata council member) how to vote on each resolution on the agenda. A conference call or online meeting can be held in advance of the general meeting to allow for discussion and questions.
The Condominium Home Owners Association (CHOA) has COVID-related information including resources on managing strata meetings during the pandemic and restricted proxy voting:
COVID-19 Bulletins & Information for Managing Meetings During This Crisis. Managing Coronavirus Risks & Strata Corporation General Meetings Convening a General Meeting by Restricted Proxy (video) The Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association (VISOA) has also posted the following documents, prepared by a strata lawyer on meetings:
COVID 19 and Strata Corporations Guidance regarding AGMs and SGMs VISOA has also posted other COVID-19 resources for strata corporations.