Q & A – The Impact of COVID-19 for Condominiums
- Q: What should a board consider before holding an annual general meeting?
A: Boards should consider postponing annual general meetings and other owners’ meetings with non-
urgent business. The Government of Ontario has announced a ban on gatherings of more than five
people (with strict exceptions that would not apply here).
For any urgent business, such as electing directors if a board loses quorum, the meeting may achieve quorum by proxy or electronic meeting. The corporation would need to have a by-law to allow for electronic meetings and voting.
The Condominium Authority of Ontario has published an outline for establishing a new by-law to allow for electronic meetings and voting.
- Q: What privacy obligations should a board consider if a resident has tested positive for COVID-19?
A: This is a difficult balance. Boards must be careful to not permit a dangerous condition to exist and to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of residents and employees. Meanwhile, residents have rights to a reasonable expectation of privacy and freedom from discrimination and harassment.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policy position is that the Human Rights Code’s ground of disability is engaged in relation to COVID-19 as it covers medical conditions or perceived medical conditions that carry significant social stigma.
If a positive case has been verified, the corporation may inform residents, owners, and employees while being very careful to preserve the privacy of those affected. The corporation may send a notice to the affected resident to ensure proper quarantine measures are being implemented. I strongly recommend consulting with the corporation’s lawyer beforehand.
- Q: What effect does COVID-19 have on a corporation’s enforcement of compliance with the Condominium Act, 1998 and the declaration, by-laws, and rules?
A: Residents may be entitled to accommodation under the Human Rights Code if they have or are perceived to have COVID-19, or have a disability or other personal characteristics that make them vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. If the circumstances do not trigger a duty to accommodate, the corporation’s duty to take all reasonable steps to enforce compliance would continue unchanged. Each request for accommodation should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the corporation’s lawyer.
- Q: What if COVID-19 delays the completion of a performance audit?
A: Tarion has released an advisory stating that it is aware that COVID-19 may impact a performance auditor’s ability to conduct necessary inspections as part of the performance audit. This impact on inspections may delay the submission of a performance audit.
Tarion has committed to review these situations on a case-by-case basis. If you are a designate for a condominium corporation or a performance auditor with questions about this potential delay, you should contact Tarion’s Manager, Common Elements in accordance with the advisory.
Our thanks to Mark Willis-O'Connor for submitting this article! If you have a blog article you would like to submit get started here!