Preparing for your condominium’s Annual General Meeting can cause a lot of stress for your management company, board, and unit owners if your past meetings have not gone so smoothly. In a room full of people you don’t know very much, discussing financial and intimate details of your condominium community can feel daunting, to say the least.
This doesn’t need to be the case! With the proper planning and communication, you can ensure that your next Annual General Meeting runs like a well-oiled horse.
What is an Annual General Meeting?
The Annual General Meeting allows for condominium managers, unit owners, and professionals to meet and discuss the previous year, ask questions, and discuss upcoming projects, fee placements, and a chance to vote on any topic that may be brought up during the meeting.
This is a great opportunity for unit owners to have a safe space to ask their condominium board and managers for any clarification they may have, so that they have a greater understanding of the community they are a part of and what will be happening around them.
Before and after the meeting, you can also network with your community, meet your neighbours and manager, and get to know the contractors who attend.
How do you prepare for the AGM?
Preparing for your Annual General Meeting all comes down to time and communication. By law, you must schedule your annual general meeting within six months of the end of your fiscal year. Not to be confused with the calendar year. Check with your condo board and management team to confirm your fiscal year end. This will typically be planned by your management company. If your condominium does not have a condominium manager, the meeting will be planned by the board of directors.
For example: if your fiscal year ends on December 31st, you must hold your AGM by June 30th.
Many condominiums opt, when possible, to hold their annual general meetings during the warmer months to ensure higher attendance. If possible, aim for a weekday evening after 5 pm for optimal attendance.
Once you have chosen a date and time, secure a location where this meeting will be held, and ensure the space will be large enough to comfortably sit the guests who will be attending. Consider any technical planning you may need to do in advance if your management company would like to offer virtual attendance for unit owners who may not feel comfortable attending in-person events just yet.
Confirm the date, time, and location with your board, and appoint a condominium lawyer as chair of the AGM. Appointing a condominium lawyer will ensure there is no bias throughout the meeting, and will help ensure all agenda points are met. You should also have a minute-taker and an auditor. It is imperative to have all actions and next steps properly documented for the meeting minutes to be distributed to all those who couldn’t attend, and to refer to at the next annual general meeting.
Once you have your board confirmed, condo lawyer as chair, auditor, and a minute-taker, you’ll want to focus on sending notices to unit owners about attendance.
When do we notify unit owners of the upcoming AGM?
There will be two phases of notices you’ll need to send your unit owners, and timing is incredibly important and mandatory timeframes are set out under the Condominium Act, 1998.
First, you’ll need to send unit owners a preliminary notice at least 20 days before the subsequent notice of meeting. This preliminary notice will state the projected date of the annual general meeting. The package will be on a prescribed government form, which form requires the following:
- The purpose of the notice and the meeting
- Whether the meeting will elect any director(s) and details on the election
- Any material required by by-law to be included with the notice
- And further information as set out in the prescribed form
As mentioned, the preliminary package will hold information on available board candidate positions. The preliminary notice provided will have the position, term, how to apply, and by when.
The preliminary package can be intimidating to the unit owners. Provide a cover letter giving the owners a breakdown of the contents of the package to help walk them through the importance of the forms provided, as well as giving an extra touch to invite them to join the meeting.
Within 15 days of the meeting date, you must deliver the notice of meeting. This notice will state (among other things) the date, time, and location of the meeting and will confirm it is an annual general meeting. The proxy form may be provided with the notice of meeting.
What happens day of?
Your annual general meeting is finally here! You’ve sent your preliminary notice, and you’ve sent your notice of meeting. However, you start to notice there are far more empty seats than you planned for.
As condominium managers, or board of directors, you must ensure that 25% of unit owners are present or represented by proxy. Failure to meet the minimum attendance will result in a meeting cancellation.
This means you will have to reschedule.
You can avoid running into situations like these by planning ahead, providing and collecting proxy forms, and being open and communicating with your unit owners.
How do we keep the AGM approachable?
When you plan ahead and keep your communication clear and open, this will invite unit owners to safely take the floor to ask any questions, or follow up on any concerns they may have.
The annual general meeting is a great place to build a healthy condominium community, and a wonderful resource for unit owners.
Are you ready for your upcoming AGM? Reach out to your condominium board or manager today to ask how you can be involved.
Marketing Manager for CCI Grand River