April 25, 2024

Voting is an essential responsibility for condominium corporation owners. Owners who live in a condominium vote to determine the outcome of important community decisions, including amendments to governing documents, electing the board of directors, and more. Critical to the future of a community, voting ensures residents have a voice in how the community operates now and in the years to come. When a member cannot attend in person, proxy voting might be the best avenue for acting on community-related issues.

To increase voter participation and community engagement, read on for everything your condominium needs to know about proxy voting.

Top 10 Questions About Condominium Proxy Voting

Keeping condominium members invested in community affairs and encouraging them to vote can be challenging for some condominium corporations. Many homeowners are away for parts of the year, have busy schedules, or experience personal issues that prevent them from attending meetings.

By allowing voting by proxy, homeowners can help impact the future of their community. These frequently asked questions and answers provide more insight into the proxy process.

1. What’s a proxy?

In short, a proxy is a document a homeowner signs to appoint another person to act on their behalf. For condominium corporation members, this document authorizes somebody to vote for them if they’re unable to attend the meeting or otherwise cast the vote themselves. While the proxy holder is often a neighbour or family member, it must be someone who will be in attendance at the meeting.

2. What’s proxy voting?

Proxy voting provides homeowners with the opportunity to participate in condominium affairs and cast their vote—even when they cannot be there in person.

For condominium corporation proxy voting, a homeowner will need to appoint somebody to vote on their behalf. Depending on how the proxy form is completed, members may have a choice between a directed or non-directed proxy. With a directed proxy, the appointed person has the right to vote on only a specific issue. Non-directed proxy holders can vote on any topic on the homeowner’s behalf during that meeting.

3. What are the rules governing the use of proxy?

In Ontario, there is a prescribed form which must be used for a proxy to be valid. The Condominium Act of Ontario outlines voting practices and  establishes when and how condominiums can use proxy voting.  Ultimately, the owner completing the proxy form determines the voting rights of the proxy. There are excellent guidelines for proper completion of the forms on the CAO and CMRAO websites to ensure the complex form adequately represents the owners intentions.

4. How Do You Obtain a Proxy Form?

All registered owners receive the proxy form as part of the meeting package. You can get a proxy form directly from your condominium corporation. Reach out to your condominium manager, board of directors or meeting host (for virtual meetings) for the proper form. If you submit a form that was not distributed by your condominium corporation, it may be invalid.

5. What’s on a proxy form?

A condominium corporation proxy form is a prescribed form and includes important details, such as:

  • The name and address of your condominium corporation
  • The date and time of the condominium corporation meeting
  • Clearly stated identification of who is appointed to vote on the homeowner’s behalf
  • The rights the homeowner is assigning to the proxy holder by checking the appropriate boxes and initialing consent
  • The board candidates and or other choices for which the community is voting
  • Date and signature and initials of the homeowner

6. What are the benefits of having a proxy?

The biggest benefit of condominium corporation proxy voting is the ability to participate in community affairs without disrupting the schedules of members or the work of the board. Although meeting attendance is ideal, not all condominium corporation members have the same flexibility and availability.

While voting by proxy lets homeowners’ voices be heard, it also gives board members more feedback and owner representation than they would have if a homeowner couldn’t participate at all.

7. What’s the difference between a quorum and a proxy?

In order to conduct business,  a minimum number of condominium corporation voting units  must be present to start an annual or special meeting, hold elections, and make key decisions. This is called a quorum. To achieve quorum, at least 25% of the voting units must be present. For annual general meetings, the requirement is reduced to 15% at the third and subsequent attempts if it not reached on the first two attempts.

When there’s an election, a proxy is the authorization of another person—who’s present at the meeting—to vote on your behalf as if you were present.

8. What’s a proxy for quorum?

It can be difficult for some condominium corporations to reach a quorum and move forward when not enough members are available to attend a meeting.

Allowing proxy voting is an effective way to reach a quorum. A proxy holder is counted towards the overall attendance and voting outcomes, avoiding stalled decisions and wasted time, expenses and resources for the corporation.

9. How many condominium corporation members can a proxy represent?

In general, a designated proxy can only represent the owner who authorized them to make decisions or vote on their behalf. Proxies cannot be transferred or used when the condominium corporation owner is in attendance.

Each voting unit is allowed one vote, regardless of the number of registered owners for the unit.

10. How many proxies can one person hold?

The number of proxies one person can hold depends on how many owners appointed the same person as their proxy. A proxy is not valid without naming a specific person and often the board or chairperson can be made the default proxy, as they are generally present at the meeting. Legal counsel can advise on best practices to be considered.

Condominium Corporation Board Elections: How to Get It Right

Voting for the condominium corporation’s board of directors is one of the most important decisions homeowners can make for the community. Some communities allow you to vote by proxy for board elections, but others don’t. Make sure you understand your community’s condominium corporation voting laws, proxy submissions, and are able to cast your vote.

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