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What is a Proxy at Your Condo Owner's Meeting?



A proxy is the authority to represent someone else, especially in voting. A proxy identifies someone else who will vote on the person’s behalf. A proxy might be used if someone wants to vote on an issue but is unable to attend the meeting in person.


If owners want to vote, they have to write the candidate’s name or put their signature next to a proposed by-law. No one else can vote, not even the proxy person. This Ontario Condo Act requirement was put in place in order to eliminate abuses of power.


Unfortunately, in some condos, small groups of owners, or even board members occasionally do fill out proxies in order to elect whom ever they want or to pass a by-law they want. This constitutes fraud. While someone can help an owner fill out a proxy, only the owner should fill in candidates' names and sign the proxy form. No one can vote for someone else!


If an owner or a board member is collecting as many proxies as possible to ensure a quorum, these filled forms should be brought to the management office so that it is pre-registered. This saves time and prevents long lines forming during registration.

For more information on filling out proxy forms, go here:


https://www.condoauthorityontario.ca/en-US/resources/proxy-overview/

This site has a great step-by-step guide: http://finedeo.com/docs/default-source/Publications/step-by-step-guide-to-using-the-new-proxy-form.pdf?sfvrsn=4


You can download an example of a printable proxy form here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58a76f512e69cf0bf2aaa1f2/t/5bec77eacd83661bf06697c1/1542223851098/proxy_form.pdf


Proxies can serve for many types of votes. For instance, you can use a proxy to vote for a director. You can create only one proxy per unit. If you co-own your unit, the proxy represents all owners of the unit. You must sign your written proxy form.


Your signature on the proxy form must match the name on the condominium corporation’s record of owners. You can use a proxy form to vote for the position on the board reserved for voting by owner-occupied units. Only owners of owner-occupied units can vote for that position, so your form must stipulate that it is a vote for that position.


You can appoint anyone to be your proxy. Your proxy does not have to be an owner in the condominium corporation. It is important to note that for your proxy to count towards quorum and/or vote on your behalf, they must attend the meeting. For this reason, you may wish to confirm with your proxy that they are going to attend.


If you want to appoint a proxy but don’t know anyone who is available to attend the meeting, you could ask a member of your condominium corporation’s board of directors if they would be wiling to act as your proxy.


How to complete the proxy form

Before filling out the proxy form, you should first review the notice of meeting that you received from your condominium manager or board. This notice will include important information, including the date and time of the meeting, the items that will be voted on at the meeting, and the names of the individuals who have nominated themselves for election to the condominium board (if any).


After reviewing your notice of meeting, you can begin filling out the form. On the second page of the proxy form, you are asked to check one of three boxes. If you check the first box, then your proxy can attend the meeting but only to count towards quorum. That means that your proxy is not allowed to vote on any of the topics discussed at the meeting. In short, your proxy will attend the meeting, but they will not participate. You may wish to appoint a non-voting proxy if you are unable to attend yourself and your condominium corporation has difficulty in getting quorum to hold the meeting, or if you want someone to attend the meeting and tell you about it afterwards.


If you check the second box, then your proxy can attend the meeting and count towards quorum but can only vote on “matters of routine procedure” – for example, a vote to move the discussion to the next topic, or a motion to adjourn the meeting. Your proxy cannot vote on any of the other topics discussed at the meeting, including the election or removal of directors, the or adoption of rules or by-laws.


If you check the third box, then your proxy can attend the meeting and count towards quorum, and will also be allowed to vote on the topics discussed.


You must now select the topics you want your proxy to vote on. You can do this by checking the boxes next to the headings labelled as follows:


Section 1. Voting to elect candidates to vacant positions on the board that all owners may vote for

Section 2. Voting to elect candidates to any vacant position on the board that only owners of owner-occupied units may vote for

Section 3. Voting for specific matters

Section 4. Voting for removal of directors and election of substitutes


Once you have checked the relevant boxes, you must now decide whether you want to tell your proxy how to vote on those topics, or whether you want to give your proxy the ability to decide how to vote.


In the case of an election, you are strongly encouraged to personally inform yourself regarding potential candidates for seats on the board. Occasionally, a small group of individuals with ulterior motives will promote a member of their group above more qualified candidates. Be aware of who is running for a position on the board, and make sure you personally select the person you believe will best serve your community.


If you want to tell your proxy how to vote on a specific topic, you must fill out the portion of the form that appears once you have checked the relevant Section box. If you want to allow your proxy to decide how to vote, however, you can leave the rest of the form blank.


You are encouraged to speak with your proxy before the meeting to ensure that the proxy is aware of the your wishes and directions on how to vote.


Please note that if you check the third box and want to provide instructions on how to vote on a specific topic, you must fill out the proxy form electronically. This is because the form is dynamic and expands depending on the selections that you make.


If you print out the form without filling it out electronically, you will not see all of the fields you are required to fill out.


Once you have finished filling out the proxy form, your first step is to print it out and sign it in all the required spots. Next, you should check your condominium corporation’s by-laws to see if the proxy form is required to be given to your corporation at the meeting, or in advance. If you have questions about the proxy form collection process in your condominium, you may wish to speak to your condo board or manager for more information.

You can then do one of two things, depending on how your condominium corporation handles proxy forms:


1) Give a copy of the proxy form to your proxy. Your proxy will bring it with them to the meeting as evidence that they are attending the meeting on your behalf and will give it to your condominium corporation at the meeting.


2) Give a copy of the proxy form to your proxy and to your condominium corporation directly before the meeting. This way, your condominium corporation will have the proxy form in advance.


What happens to proxy forms at the meeting and after the meeting has finished?

Your condominium corporation will collect all proxy forms at the meeting. After they are collected, your condominium corporation must keep the proxy forms as records of the corporation (as required by s. 55 (1) 10 of the Condominium Act, 1998).


Your condominium corporation must keep the proxy forms for at least 90 days from the date they receive them, whether submitted in advance or at the meeting. If all proxy forms are submitted at the meeting, then they must keep the proxy forms for at least 90 days from the date of the meeting. If all proxy forms are submitted in advance, then they only need to be kept for 90 days from the date they were submitted. If some proxy forms are submitted prior to the meeting and some are submitted at the meeting, then they must all be kept for 90 days after the meeting.


The Condominium Authority of Ontario strongly recommends against distributing pre-filled proxy forms. This is because distributing pre-populated proxy forms often results in confusion and miscommunication, and forms may be filled out incorrectly as a result.

One common issue caused by the pre-population of proxy forms relates to the list of candidates for election to the board. Condominium managers and board members often populate the list of candidates with the names of the individuals who have nominated themselves, and owners typically assign an order of preference to the candidates listed.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to votes being cast unintentionally. For example, if you receive a form that has a candidate listed for whom you do not want to vote, you should cross their name out.


Again, if you are filling out a proxy form yourself and want to know what items are being voted on and which individuals are up for election, you should review the notice of meeting that you received, which should contain this information.


Your condo manager and your proxy

If you did not receive a Notice of Meeting, you should speak to your board of directors or condominium manager.


Additionally, for condominium managers, please note that section 53 of the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 prohibits condo managers from soliciting proxy forms where the meeting relates to:


1) Any matter directly related to the licensee, or

2) The removal/election of board directors.


When it comes to Condominium Managers soliciting (asking for) proxies from owners, there are recent changes to when they can and can't.


Here is a basic brake down: To solicit a proxy means to petition for, or try to directly obtain, a proxy from an owner. The prohibition against soliciting proxies only applies to meetings where the subject matter noted above is included on the agenda (i.e. matters related to the condominium manager, removal/election of directors, or prescribed matters (but we’re not aware of any prescribed matters to date).


Where a meeting includes one or more of these subject matters, a condominium manager cannot outright request that an owner provide their proxy directly to them.

The condominium manager is only allowed to do the following:


- Collect or hold proxy forms or provide a location where proxy forms can be collected or held;


- Notify or remind owners or mortgagees to submit proxy forms if they are unable to attend a meeting of owners; Make information available on how to submit a proxy from;


- Provide a proxy from in meeting packages (or information packages given to owners); Provide a copy of a proxy form to an owner or mortgagee when requested;


- A condominium manager is able to solicit a proxy form as long as the proxy is used only to establish quorum – i.e. not to vote at the meeting.


But otherwise, condominium managers are permitted to “solicit” proxies for any meeting that does not include subject matter that is directly related to the condominium manager, or the election and/or removal of directors. For example, a condominium manager could go door-to-door soliciting proxies for a meeting held to approve a new by-law.


For more on the Annual General Meeting, have a look at: https://www.leecentrenews.com/post/a-guide-to-your-annual-general-meeting-2019

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