by: Rod Escayola - To help reduce the Covid-fatigue we’re all suffering from, we try to collate relevant information in a single post. Here’s your weekly update, listing 5 things your condo needs to know to keep up with the ever changing situation.
Ontario is extending its emergency measures
Two days ago, CBC was reporting that Ontario would extend is emergency orders until April 23. As a couple of minutes ago, the Globe & Mail was reporting that Ontario was expected to extend the emergency measures for another 28 days. It seems we’re in this for a little while longer.
Narrow Interpretation of Essential Services
The province is interpreting very narrowly its list of essential services. Under this list, maintenance services are defined as:
Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.
We are getting reports that landscaping, window washing, garage pressure washing and other spring cleaning work may not constitute essential services. Some corporations are even reporting that some of their capital work (including cladding and waterproofing work) is being shut down, despite their contractors having letters indicating these to be “essential”. You may want to seek any required advice as these are tackled on a case-by-case basis.
Keep your Amenities Closed
In light of the above, your non-essential amenities (gym, pools, party rooms…) should remain closed. Provincial fines are very steep for those providing non-essential services (up to $500K for directors and up to $10M for corporations – although we have not heard of any such fines being levied).
AGM and non-urgent meetings
In many cases, AGM’s and non-urgent owners meetings should continue to be postponed. For those wishing to hold urgent meetings, you may have to consider alternative meeting methods. Certainly, votes and quorum can be achieved by proxy or by electronic voting (if you have a by-law permitting electronic voting). However, in our view, there is some uncertainty on whether an owners meeting can be held entirely by way of a teleconference or web conference (Zoom or Facetime or other similar platforms). You may wish to secure legal advice on this before you proceed.
The Condo Authority of Ontario issued a bulletin on how to create a new by-law to allow for electronic meetings and/or voting. We will cover this in greater detail at our upcoming webinar (tomorrow).
Liens and arrears
Liens should still be registered to protect corporations ability to recover arrears. The province has clarified that Construction liens ought to still be registered within 60 days, you may want to ensure your payments are made in a timely fashion.