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Electrical Planning Reports for BC Stratas

Electrical Planning Reports for BC Stratas

On December 6, 2023, Order in Council OIC 671-23 was enacted, mandating strata corporations to secure a electrical planning reports. This directive further introduces regulations elucidating the stipulations of this requirement.

The pertinent sections of the Strata Property Act (SPA) and Strata Property Regulation regarding electrical planning reports include:

  •  SPA section 94.1, which obligates strata corporations to acquire an electrical planning report, explicitly stating that this requirement cannot be waived or deferred.
  • SPA sections 92(a)(iii) and 96(b)(i)(A)(IV) specify the financial responsibilities associated with procuring the report.
  • Regulations 5.7 to 5.12 detail the procedural aspects of these requirements.
  • SPA section 90.1(2)(b) is also critical, as it outlines the timing for obtaining a electrical planning reports. This timing is crucial as it affects when an owner can request approval from the strata for proposed modifications to common property, such as the installation of EV charging stations.
  • The electrical planning report has been incorporated into Form B, signifying its significance in the strata documentation.

What is an electrical planning report?

Electrical planning reports serve as a critical resource for strata councils and property owners to gain a comprehensive understanding of their electrical infrastructure. It evaluates the current electrical capacity of buildings to meet future requirements.

Given the evolving energy landscape, such as the transition away from gas boilers in response to environmental policies, this report becomes indispensable. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 outlines a strategic commitment to ensuring that, post-2035, all newly sold and installed space and water-heating systems in British Columbia will achieve 100% efficiency.

An electrical planning report aids strata corporations in planning for a range of upgrades including cooling systems, heat pumps, electric vehicle charging stations, and the electrification of traditionally fueled building systems. By leveraging this tool, strata corporations can strategically plan for future infrastructure needs, thereby circumventing expensive electrical service upgrades.

Which stratas are required to obtain an electrical planning report?

Strata corporations comprising fewer than five strata lots are exempt from the requirement to procure an electrical planning report.

Conversely, the mandate to secure an electrical planning report applies to all other strata corporations, encompassing a diverse range of property types such as condominiums, townhouses, bare land stratas, residential complexes, commercial buildings, hotels, industrial facilities, and various other strata formats.

The obligation to obtain this report is unequivocal, with no provisions for waiver or deferment. This requirement is stipulated under section 94.1 of the Strata Property Act, further supported by regulations 5.8(3) and 5.9, underscoring the universal applicability of this prerequisite across the broad spectrum of strata corporations.

How often must a Strata Corporation obtain electrical planning reports?

The frequency with which strata corporations are required to obtain an electrical planning report primarily involves a single acquisition for most entities. However, strata developments constructed in multiple phases may necessitate additional reports contingent upon the expansion of strata lots. The requirement for a subsequent report upon the introduction of each new phase to the Land Title Office is determined by the number of units incorporated within that phase. For comprehensive details regarding this requirement, refer to Regulation 5.9.

 When must a strata corporation in BC obtain eletrical planning reports by?

The deadline for existing strata corporations (those with strata plans filed on or before December 31, 2023) to secure an electrical planning report is determined by the location of the strata, with deadlines set for either December 31, 2026, or December 31, 2028. Specific guidance can be found in Regulations 5.7 and 5.8.

Strata corporations situated within the Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, and the Metro Vancouver Regional District are required to obtain their electrical planning reports by December 31, 2026. For strata corporations located on islands within these districts that are only accessible by air or boat, such as the Gulf Islands, the deadline extends to December 31, 2028.

For strata corporations in all other regions of British Columbia, the deadline is December 31, 2028.

New strata corporations (with strata plans filed after December 31, 2023) have a deadline of 5 years from the date their strata plan is registered at the Land Title Office. This 5-year timeframe also generally applies to new phased strata developments. Further information on these requirements can be referenced in Regulation 5.9

What information is in the electrical report?

The electrical planning report, as mandated by Regulation 5.11, must encompass a comprehensive array of information to ensure a thorough analysis of the strata corporation’s electrical system. The required contents of the report include:

  • The date on which the electrical planning report was prepared.
  • The identity of the individual or entity from whom the report was obtained, accompanied by:
    • A delineation of their professional qualifications.
    • Details regarding any errors and omissions insurance held.
    • The nature of their relationship with the strata corporation.
  •  An assessment of the current electrical capacity of the strata corporation’s system.
  • An inventory of the existing demands on the electrical system, explicitly including:
    • Existing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.
    • Systems for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting.
    • Analysis of the current peak electrical demand and available spare capacity.
  • For systems not currently electric, an estimate of the electrical capacity required for potential electrification, especially for heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
  • Projections of future electrical demands, including capacity needs for:
    • Anticipated modifications or installations of heating, cooling, ventilation, and other systems.
    • Future EV charging infrastructure.
    • Recommendations for pragmatic measures to reduce electrical demand.
    • Suggestions for feasible upgrades or modifications to enhance system capacity.
    • Projections of additional electrical capacity achievable through recommended demand reduction strategies or system enhancements.

For the majority of strata properties, including bare land stratas, the utility provides power to a central point for distribution to individual units. In exceptional instances where electricity is supplied directly to each strata lot by the utility, the report need only detail the qualifications of the person preparing the report and confirm the independent electricity supply to each lot, as per Regulation 5.11(3).

Who provides the electrical planning reports?

Section 94.1 of the Strata Property Act mandates that strata corporations procure an electrical planning report from an individual possessing the requisite qualifications, as delineated in Regulation 5.10.

The eligibility to author such a report is contingent upon the classification of buildings within the strata property, as defined under the British Columbia Building Code.

This code distinguishes between two primary types of buildings: “simple buildings” (Part 9 buildings) and “complex buildings” (Part 3 buildings). Buildings exceeding three stories in height or 600 square meters in footprint are categorized as complex buildings (Part 3 buildings). Should there be any uncertainty regarding the classification of a building, it is advisable to consult with the municipal building department or development services department for clarification.

For stratas encompassing Part 9 buildings, the electrical planning report must be procured from one of the following professionals: an electrical engineer, an applied science technologist, or a licensed electrician. Conversely, stratas that include buildings not falling under the Part 9 category are required to obtain their electrical planning report from either an electrical engineer or an applied science technologist.

 Who pays for the electrical report?

The financing of an electrical planning report for a strata corporation can be sourced from either the operating fund or the contingency reserve fund (CRF), akin to the procedure followed for a depreciation report.

To allocate funds from the operating fund, the expenditure needs to be incorporated into the annual budget and subsequently approved by a majority vote at the annual general meeting, as outlined in SPA section 92(a)(iii).

Alternatively, to utilize the CRF for this purpose, a resolution must be adopted by a majority vote during either an annual or a special general meeting, in accordance with SPA section 96(b)(i)(A)(IV).

How long must the Strata Corporation keep the electrical planning reports?

Section 35 of the Strata Property Act enumerates the records that must be maintained by a strata corporation, and it has been updated to include the requirement for strata corporations to preserve any electrical planning reports they obtain.

The Information Certificate (Form B) now includes a revised section (p), inquiring whether the strata corporation has procured any electrical planning reports pursuant to section 94.1 of the Strata Property Act. Should the response be affirmative, it is mandatory to attach copies of all obtained electrical planning reports. This requirement is detailed in the updated Form B – Information Certificate. Similar to other attachments to Form B, the strata corporation is permitted to levy a fee of up to $0.25 per page for these documents.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

Using AI Chat Assistance for Strata Management

Using AI Chat Assistance for Strata Management

When leveraging AI Chat Assistance for insights into strata management, understanding a strata corporation, or obtaining legal guidance on strata-related issues, it’s crucial to consider a range of ethical implications:

By considering these ethical aspects, AI can be effectively and responsibly used to assist strata owners with their management.

Accuracy and Reliability

In the context of AI assisting Strata Managers in BC, accuracy and reliability involves ensuring that the information and advice provided by AI systems are both correct and dependable. This is particularly crucial in the realm of strata management, where decisions based on inaccurate or unreliable information can have significant legal and financial repercussions.

Strata laws and regulations in British Columbia can change frequently. AI chat assistance that is not updated regularly might provide outdated legal advice, leading to non-compliance issues. Strata management also involves complex financial aspects like budgeting, levies, and special assessments. Inaccuracies in these calculations can lead to financial mismanagement. AI systems providing suggestions for property maintenance must be accurate to avoid unnecessary expenses or overlooking critical repairs.

Ensuring the AI system is regularly updated with the latest strata laws and regulations in British Columbia will enhance accuracy and reliability. This can be achieved through continuous monitoring of legal changes and regular software updates.

Other ways to ensure accuracy and reliability include:

  • Connecting the AI system with authoritative and up-to-date databases, such as government portals or legal databases specific to BC’s strata laws.
  • Conducting periodic checks by legal experts or using a feedback system where strata managers can report inaccuracies.
  • Using advanced data analytics to ensure financial calculations are precise and reliable. AI can process large amounts of data to provide accurate financial forecasts and budget recommendations.
  • Tailor the AI system to the specific needs and regulations of British Columbia. This includes understanding the local real estate market, climate-related maintenance needs, and specific strata bylaws.
  • Train strata managers in British Columbia on how to effectively use AI tools. Educate them on the strengths and limitations of AI, ensuring they can discern when to rely on AI advice and when to seek human expertise.
  • Encourage the use of AI in conjunction with other sources of information. Cross-referencing AI advice with human expertise and other tools.
  • Establishing feedback loops that allow strata managers to report back on the accuracy of AI-provided information for continuous improvement of the AI system.
  • Ensure that the AI system is designed ethically, with a focus on accuracy and reliability, and not just on efficiency or cost-saving measures.

Privacy and Data Security

In today’s digitized world, the integration of AI Strata Assistance into the realm of strata management brings forth the paramount importance of Privacy and Data Security. As Strata Managers harness the capabilities of AI chat assistance to handle sensitive personal and financial information of residents, it becomes imperative to shield this data from unauthorized access, breaches, and potential misuse.

The handling of Strata Owner data, a critical component within AI chat assistance systems, is often fraught with risks of privacy breaches if not managed correctly. The vulnerability extends to the storage and transmission of electronic data, which are potential targets for hacking, unauthorized access, or interception. To mitigate these risks, adherence to privacy laws, such as British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), is non-negotiable for Strata Managers. These laws set the benchmark for handling personal information within private sector organizations and are integral to upholding the security and privacy of resident data within the ambit of AI chat assistance.

To ensure optimal privacy and security, a robust framework of measures is indispensable. This begins with implementing strong encryption for both data storage and transmission, a fundamental step in fortifying all systems and databases against external threats. Complementing this with stringent access control measures, such as two-factor authentication, is essential to limit data access strictly to authorized personnel.

Educating strata managers and staff on data privacy and security best practices forms the cornerstone of a proactive defense strategy. This involves regular updates on emerging threats and the formulation of effective strategies to preempt data breaches.

Embracing data minimization and retention policies is also advised, wherein data collection is restricted to only what is essential and retained strictly as per British Columbia’s legal requirements. Ensuring that AI systems comply with local privacy laws, and updating these systems in line with legislative changes, is critical for legal compliance. Embedding privacy considerations into the very design of AI chat assistance systems — a practice known as ‘privacy by design’ — is crucial. Alongside this, rigorous evaluation and monitoring of third-party service providers with access to personal data ensure they adhere to stringent privacy and security standards.

Finally, employing techniques like anonymization or data masking, particularly in scenarios where detailed personal information is not necessary, can significantly bolster the privacy aspect of AI.

Bias and Fairness

AI systems, including those used in strata management, rely heavily on data for training and decision-making processes. This data can often carry implicit biases, reflecting historical or societal inequalities. For instance, if the training data for an AI strata chat system is skewed towards certain demographic groups, the AI may develop biases, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes. This is especially problematic in decisions related to property management, resource allocation, or conflict resolution within a strata community.

To counteract this, it’s essential to ensure that these systems are trained on diverse and representative datasets. Moreover, continuous monitoring and updating of the AI algorithms are necessary to identify and correct any biases that may arise over time. Implementing fairness and ethical guidelines, and regularly auditing the AI system’s decisions for bias, can help ensure that the AI provides equitable and unbiased information and recommendations. This approach not only enhances the reliability and credibility of AI chat assistance but also promotes an inclusive and fair environment for all users, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Transparency and Explainability

The concept of ‘Transparency and Explainability’ in AI systems is paramount, especially when it comes to AI chat assistance which deals with complex legal matters. Transparency in AI refers to the openness and clarity with which an AI system operates, ensuring that users can understand how and why a particular decision or piece of advice was given. This is particularly important in strata management where decisions can have significant legal and financial implications. For users to trust and rely on AI assistance, they need to have a clear understanding of how the AI processes information and reaches conclusions.

Explainability takes this a step further by not only making the AI’s processes transparent but also ensuring that the reasoning behind these processes is understandable to the average user. This could involve providing clear, user-friendly explanations for the AI’s advice, which can be particularly crucial in legal scenarios where the rationale behind a decision is as important as the decision itself. By prioritizing transparency and explainability, AI strata assistance systems can foster greater trust and accountability, ensuring that users are confident in the advice provided and understand the basis for AI-driven decisions.

Legal and Ethical Compliance

Ensuring that AI systems comply with all relevant laws and ethical guidelines is crucial, especially in fields governed by specific regulations such as strata law and real estate. This compliance is not just about abiding by the existing legal framework, but also about aligning AI practices with broader ethical principles that govern fairness, privacy, and transparency.

Adherence to strata law and real estate regulations means that AI systems used in strata management must be programmed to respect and uphold the specific legalities of property management, ownership rights, and community living. These laws can vary significantly by region, so the AI must be adaptable and responsive to the legal nuances of different jurisdictions. Additionally, given that AI systems often handle sensitive personal data, compliance with data protection and privacy laws becomes imperative. This includes following standards for data collection, storage, and sharing, ensuring that residents’ privacy is safeguarded and that the AI system is not used for unauthorized surveillance or data harvesting.

Beyond legal adherence, ethical compliance is equally important. AI chat assistance must operate on principles that promote equitable and unbiased decision-making, ensuring that all residents are treated fairly and without discrimination. Ethical AI practices also involve being transparent about how the AI makes decisions and ensuring that these decisions can be explained and justified in human terms. This level of ethical commitment fosters trust among users and helps build a foundation for AI to be accepted and integrated effectively into the strata management process.

Legal and ethical compliance in AI chat assistance is about more than just following the letter of the law. It’s about integrating the AI into the strata management ecosystem in a way that respects legal boundaries, protects resident rights, and upholds high ethical standards, thereby ensuring that the technology serves the community responsibly and beneficially.

User Consent and Control

This concept revolves around empowering users to have a say in how their personal information is collected, used, and managed by AI systems. In the context of strata management, where AI might handle a range of sensitive data, from personal contact details to financial information, it is imperative that users are not only aware of but also in control of how their data is utilized.

Obtaining informed consent is the cornerstone of this principle. This means that users should be clearly and comprehensively informed about what data the AI system will collect, how it will be used, and for what purposes. Consent should be a deliberate action taken by the user – it should not be assumed or hidden in the fine print. This process respects the user’s autonomy and privacy, allowing them to make an informed decision about their participation in AI strata assistance services.

In addition to informed consent, providing users with the ability to control their data is crucial. This includes options to easily view the data collected about them, update or correct it, and importantly, the ability to request its deletion. The right to be forgotten, where users can have their data removed from the system, is an important aspect of data control. This ensures that users are not only participants in the data collection process but also have the ongoing ability to manage their data.

These practices are not just about legal compliance, but they also build trust between the users and the AI system. When users understand that they have control over their data and that their consent is valued, they are more likely to engage positively with the AI. This approach to user consent and control is therefore not only an ethical imperative but also a practical strategy for building effective and user-friendly AI strata assistance systems.

Impact on Human Employment

The integration of AI into strata management brings with it significant considerations regarding its impact on human employment. As AI systems and AI chat assistance tools become more prevalent, they have the potential to automate various tasks that were traditionally performed by human workers. This shift can lead to concerns about job displacement, where employees may find their roles being reduced or entirely replaced by AI-driven solutions. Such a transition necessitates a thoughtful and ethical approach to how these changes are managed, with a focus on the human impact.

Rather than simply replacing human workers, there should be an emphasis on how AI can augment human work, enhancing efficiency and productivity while retaining a human touch where it is most valuable. This approach helps in creating a balanced work environment where AI and humans work in tandem, leveraging the strengths of both.

Furthermore, for those whose roles are significantly impacted, opportunities for retraining or upskilling become essential. It’s important to provide these employees with the training and education necessary to adapt to the changing work landscape. This could involve learning how to operate and manage new AI systems or transitioning to different roles within the organization that are less susceptible to automation. By investing in the development of their workforce, companies can not only ease the transition to more AI-driven processes but also demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ growth and future employability.

In summary, the introduction of AI in strata management should be handled with careful consideration of its impact on human employment. Ethical management of this transition means recognizing the potential challenges and actively working to mitigate them through strategies like job augmentation, retraining, and upskilling. This approach not only helps in safeguarding the workforce against displacement but also paves the way for a more skilled, efficient, and forward-looking work environment.

Avoidance of Over-reliance

While AI strata assistance tools offer significant benefits in terms of efficiency and data processing capabilities, it’s important to recognize their limitations, especially in matters requiring deep legal understanding and human nuance. Users of AI in strata management should be mindful that these systems are designed to assist and inform rather than serve as a complete substitute for human judgment.

In the realm of legal decision-making, where the subtleties of law, precedent, and ethical considerations play a significant role, the nuanced understanding and contextual judgment of human professionals remain irreplaceable. AI systems, despite their advanced analytics and pattern recognition capabilities, do not possess the ability to fully comprehend the complexities of legal contexts in the way a human professional can. Therefore, relying solely on AI for legal decisions could lead to oversimplified conclusions or miss critical aspects that only human expertise can discern.

It is, therefore, advisable to use AI as a tool to augment and enhance human decision-making processes, rather than replace them. AI can provide valuable insights, aggregate and analyze large volumes of data, and identify patterns that might not be immediately apparent. However, the final decision-making responsibility should rest with skilled human professionals who can interpret AI-generated information with critical judgment and legal expertise.

This balanced approach ensures that while the efficiency and capabilities of AI are leveraged, the invaluable element of human insight and judgment in complex legal scenarios is not undermined. By avoiding over-reliance on AI, strata management can benefit from the best of both worlds: the advanced capabilities of AI and the irreplaceable value of human expertise and judgment.

By focusing on these solutions, Strata Managers in British Columbia can effectively leverage AI to enhance their decision-making processes, leading to more efficient and compliant strata management.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations

Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations

Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations

If you are a strata owner in beautiful British Columbia, you’re probably familiar with the importance of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for strata corporations. AGMs are crucial for making decisions, electing council members, and ensuring that your strata community runs smoothly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key aspects of AGMs, helping you navigate the process with confidence and clarity.

Annual General Meetings (AGMs) serve as pivotal junctures in the governance of strata corporations, providing a forum for all owners to convene and collectively shape the future of their shared community. At these annual gatherings, owners undertake a range of crucial responsibilities, including the approval of the annual budget, the endorsement of significant expenditures via special levies or contingency reserve fund withdrawals, the election of a strata council, and the contemplation of bylaw amendments or modifications to common property rules.

Furthermore, AGMs empower owners to guide the strata council’s actions through majority votes, ensuring that their voices are heard and their concerns addressed. In addition to Annual General Meetings, Special General Meetings stand ready to address specific, time-sensitive issues that may arise within the strata corporation, such as the need for a bylaw amendment that demands a ¾ vote approval by owners.

We explore the intricacies of Annual General Meetings for Strata Corporations, shedding light on their significance in shaping the trajectory of these shared living spaces and the potential recourse of Special General Meetings when urgency dictates.

A. Notice Provisions

First things first, let’s talk about notice provisions. The Strata Property Act outlines strict timelines for AGM notices. Notice by mail must be provided at least 20 days before the meeting. Here’s how it’s calculated: 14 days for actual notice, plus 4 days for mailing, and counting the day of mailing and the day of the meeting. Additionally, your strata managers need some time to prepare the notice package and additional information, so factor that in.

Remember, AGMs must be held within 13 months of the last AGM or within 2 months of the strata corporation’s fiscal year-end. Proper notice ensures that all owners are informed and can participate in the meeting.

B. Procedure

The order of business for AGMs is established in your strata corporation’s bylaws. Any resolutions being proposed should be clearly outlined in the meeting notice. Resolutions requiring a ¾ vote of owners must be included in the agenda. This prevents last-minute substantive changes that could disadvantage owners who cannot attend the meeting.

To make your voice heard and prevent a minority from making critical decisions, attend AGMs in person or send a proxy expressing your wishes. While the Strata Property Act allows for some reconsideration of approvals, the time frames are tight, making it challenging to challenge decisions after the fact.

C. Outline of a General Meeting

Each general meeting adheres to a predefined order of proceedings, as detailed in either the standard bylaws or the specific bylaws of your strata corporation. While occasional minor adjustments may occur in exceptional cases, we have provided a comprehensive overview of the standard procedure below, along with insights into individual elements.

Your strata corporation’s property manager will play a pivotal role in facilitating the meeting’s agenda. We encourage you to feel at ease approaching them with any questions or uncertainties that may arise during the proceedings. Their guidance is invaluable in ensuring a smooth and informed meeting experience.

i. Call to Order

The President of the strata corporation, in their capacity as the meeting’s chairperson, will formally convene the proceedings, ideally adhering to the scheduled commencement time. In cases where some owners arrive tardily and have not completed their sign-in and registration process, it may be necessary to delay the meeting’s commencement. The property manager will apprise you when it is suitable to officially begin the meeting.

Given the property manager’s pivotal role in documenting meeting minutes and providing procedural guidance, we kindly request that the meeting not commence until their presence is ensured. As the meeting’s chairperson, we have found it beneficial, at this juncture, to introduce all council members and your property manager to the owners in attendance.

ii. Calling the Roll

The property manager will advise that they have registered owners and proxies as they have arrived and have issued voting cards to those entitled to receive them. At this point, the property manager will often explain how to use the voting cards when voting on resolutions during the meeting.

iii. Confirmation of Quorum

The Strata Property Act lays out specific requirements for achieving quorum at a general meeting. For the majority of strata corporations, the quorum is typically set at one-third of the owners who are both present and eligible to cast votes. However, it’s important to note that owners who are in arrears with their strata fees, and against whom the strata corporation has either registered or is entitled to register a lien (usually following a formal demand for payment), may not be included in the quorum count. This, of course, depends on the specific bylaws of your strata corporation.

Should a quorum not be met at the scheduled start time of the meeting, the Strata Property Act mandates a waiting period of half an hour before adjourning the meeting to the same time and place one week later. Some strata corporations have adopted bylaws that specify a waiting period on the day of the meeting, after which a quorum is deemed to be met.

If your strata corporation lacks such a bylaw and has encountered challenges in achieving quorum at past general meetings, it is advisable to discuss this matter with your property manager. They can assist you in implementing a bylaw to address this issue.

Regarding meeting procedures, it is customary for the Chair to request the property manager to confirm the presence of a quorum before proceeding with the meeting.

iv. Electing a Chair for the Meeting, if necessary

If the President of the strata council is present, your bylaws typically designate them as the Chair of the meeting, obviating the need for a separate election. In the event that the President is absent or unwilling to assume the role of Chair, the Vice President typically steps in to fulfill this responsibility. However, if you prefer an independent individual or the property manager to preside over the meeting, it is essential to inform those in attendance and propose a motion to elect that person as the Chair. The election of an alternative Chair necessitates approval through a majority vote.

v. Confirmation of Notice

The chair or property manager confirms that notice requirements have been met.

vi. Approval of the Annual General Meeting Agenda

At this juncture, the Chair will inform those in attendance that the notice of the Annual General Meeting serves as the official agenda for the gathering. The Chair will then invite owners present to propose any additional agenda items they wish to discuss or clarify that owners may bring up new business matters during the designated “new business” or “any other business” sections, depending on the Chair’s preference.

However, it’s worth noting that in the case of a Special General Meeting, owners typically won’t have the opportunity to introduce new business items. Special General Meetings are convened for specific purposes, and the council is not obligated to entertain additional matters during these meetings.

vii. Reading and Disposing of any Unapproved Minutes

The strata corporation’s protocol dictates that the minutes of the most recent annual general meetings must receive approval at the subsequent annual general meeting. Typically, this entails the adoption and approval of the prior Annual General Meeting’s minutes during the next Annual General Meeting. However, if a Special General Meeting took place within the year, you would have already sanctioned the minutes of the preceding Annual General Meeting during the Special General Meeting. Consequently, at the present Annual General Meeting, you’ll be endorsing the minutes of the Special General Meeting. Your property manager will be there to offer guidance throughout this process.

It’s important to note that there’s no need to recite the previous minutes aloud during the meeting. The minutes would have been distributed to all owners in advance, affording them ample time for review. Additionally, it’s our standard practice to enclose copies of the most recent general meeting minutes with our welcome letters to new owners. This ensures that even if there have been title transfers since the last general meeting, the new owners will have access to the minutes.

Occasionally, owners may desire amendments to the minutes if they believe there are inaccuracies. In such instances, they must propose a motion to rectify any errors or omissions in the minutes. For this motion to proceed, it must be seconded, and the Chair must then call for majority approval to endorse the amendments. After the amendments have been approved (or if there were no proposed amendments), the Chair will request a motion to approve the previous minutes, either as amended or as distributed. Once the motion is moved and seconded, a majority vote will confirm the approval of the previous minutes.

viii. Deal with Unfinished Business

There will rarely be unfinished business arising from the previous minutes. If there is, this is the time to deal with those issues. An example of unfinished business is a motion made at a previous general meeting directing the strata council to bring something back to the next general meeting for discussion.

ix. Receive Reports of Council Activities and Decisions

At this juncture in the meeting, the President typically offers a concise overview of the council’s activities over the past year to those in attendance. Additionally, if your strata corporation has established committees, it is customary for each committee chair to deliver a brief report at this point. This moment provides an excellent opportunity to address any overarching concerns within the strata corporation and express gratitude to those who have contributed to its well-being throughout the year. It’s a particularly positive and impactful segment of the meeting, one that warrants thoughtful preparation.

Moreover, if there are significant resolutions slated for discussion later in the meeting, this segment serves as an advantageous platform to set the stage for those resolutions.

x. Ratify New Rules

The Strata Property Act permits strata councils to make or amend rules governing the use of common property during the year. Any such new rules or amendments must be ratified by the ownership at the next occurring Annual General Meeting. If there are rules to be ratified, they must be contained in the notice and a majority vote resolution must be made and passed in order for them to remain in effect as rules of the strata corporation.

xi. Report on Insurance Coverage

The strata corporation’s insurance policy particulars are to be furnished to owners annually, with a comprehensive summary, including coverage values and deductibles, conveniently enclosed within the Annual General Meeting package. While it isn’t imperative to conduct an in-depth examination of the insurance, it is essential to underscore its inclusion in the package and offer a brief overview of the coverage. Rest assured, your property manager will be handling this aspect on your behalf.

xii. Approving the Accounts

This section is where the property manager, or the Treasurer, will review the extensive notes regarding the previous year’s operating statement that we will have provided as part of the Notice of Annual General Meeting package. These notes will outline how the strata corporation did over the previous year in respect to the various budget categories. Once this section has been reviewed, the Chair will ask if there are any questions from the floor and such questions will be answered by the property manager or the council, depending on your preferences.

Once any questions have been answered, the Chair will request a motion to approve the operating statement for the strata corporation for the current fiscal year.

xiii. Approving the Proposed Budget at the Annual General Meeting

When reviewing the proposed budget, either the property manager or the Treasurer will provide a concise overview of the detailed budget notes circulated for the upcoming fiscal year. Notable changes from the previous year’s budget will be emphasized and discussed.

Owners may occasionally raise concerns about specific budget items and have the opportunity to propose amendments during the meeting. To make an amendment, owners must have a mover and a seconder for the proposed change, and it must pass by a majority vote among owners present, either in person or by proxy.

If any amendments are approved, the budget must then be voted on “as amended,” requiring a majority vote in favor for the amended budget to be accepted. If multiple amendments arise, procedural complexities may emerge, but your property manager will assist in navigating these issues.

In some years, resolutions regarding expenditures from the contingency reserve fund or through special levies may arise. These special expenditure resolutions should be included within the proposed budget section to ensure they are voted on BEFORE final budget approval. As these resolutions can impact the overall budget, it’s prudent to delay approval of the proposed budget until the outcome of these special resolutions is determined.

If one or more of these resolutions are not passed, adjustments to the proposed budget will be necessary.

xiv. Deal with New Business

This is the section under which any bylaw amendments or non-financial special resolutions would be tabled and discussed. Any change to the bylaws requires a ¾ vote resolution in favour to pass. This is also the section for other new business that may have been identified when the owners were approving the agenda or that owners may have notified the strata corporation of, in writing, in advance of the meeting.

The Chair should ensure that all formal business identified in the Notice of Annual General Meeting is dealt with prior to having discussion on “new” items that may be identified by owners, in writing, before the meeting or at the start of the meeting when considering approval of the agenda.

xv. Elect a council

Strata council members need to be elected annually according to the Standard Bylaws. However, in many strata corporations, they have staggered term bylaws, which means only some council members stand for re-election each year. Regardless of the system in place, there will always be an election for some council members every year. If there are just enough owners willing to fill the available positions, they will usually be elected without a formal vote.

When it’s time to find new volunteers, there isn’t a strict procedure to follow. The best approach is for owners at the meeting to nominate individuals or ask for volunteers. If it seems like there will be an election for the available council spots, we recommend that prospective council members briefly introduce themselves and explain why they want to join the council before the vote. If a formal vote is necessary, owners will show their voting card (or proxies) to the property manager, who will provide them with a ballot.

Owners will then use the voting stations and a provided ballot box to cast their votes. After the voting is finished, the property manager and volunteer scrutineers will count the votes and announce the results.

xvi. Any Other Business

At this point in the meeting, the formal business that must be conducted has been completed and owners have a final chance to raise an issue or ask questions of the strata council or property manager. If it is getting late and there are a large number of issues, the Chair has the right to create rules with respect to the amount and length of time a person may speak, as long as they treat everyone equally.

xvii. Terminate the Meeting

Once all business is concluded, the chair calls for a motion to terminate the meeting or declares it terminated.

D. Voting at General Meetings

A recent legal decision has reshaped voting procedures in strata corporations, especially for secret ballots and council member elections. This decision aimed to prevent manipulation of votes by council members and certain owners.

To ensure fair voting, property managers bring election-style voting booths and ballot boxes to all general meetings. For secret ballots, owners present their voting cards to the property manager, receive a ballot, cast their vote privately, and deposit it in a sealed ballot box. Scrutineers then tally the votes. This process, though it may seem cumbersome, is efficient.

AGMs play a vital role in the functioning of strata corporations. Proper notice, adherence to procedures, and fair voting practices are key to ensuring that your voice is heard and decisions are made in the best interest of your strata community. Remember, your property manager is there to guide you through the process, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. We hope this guide helps you navigate your next Annual General Meeting with confidence and clarity.

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

Understanding Bylaw Enforcement

Understanding Bylaw Enforcement

Understanding Bylaw Enforcement: A Guide for Strata Corporations in BC

In the world of strata corporations in beautiful British Columbia, bylaw enforcement is a critical aspect of maintaining harmony and order within a community. Whether you’re a strata council member, an owner, or a tenant, it’s essential to be well-versed in the basics of bylaw enforcement to avoid costly legal battles and ensure a fair and consistent living environment. In this article, we’ll explore the fundamental principles of bylaw enforcement and the procedures outlined in the Strata Property Act.

The Importance of Fair and Consistent Bylaw Enforcement

The Courts have increasingly shown impatience with imperfect bylaw enforcement procedures by Strata Councils. Unfair, unlawful, or inconsistent enforcement can lead to expensive litigation. To stay out of trouble, strata corporations must ensure that their bylaw enforcement is fair, consistent, procedurally compliant, and effective.

According to sections 4, 26, and 31 of the Strata Property Act, it is the duty of the Strata Corporation to enforce the bylaws fairly and evenly, honestly, and in good faith, with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation.

Steps in the Enforcement Process

The following steps should be taken by parties in dealing with complaints of alleged bylaw and rule violations. If the alleged offender is a strata council member, that member must excuse themselves from the complaint process, unless all strata lot owners are on the strata council.

Here’s a summary of the procedure:

Receiving a Complaint: The process begins when the council receives a complaint that a bylaw has been breached. This complaint can come from anyone, including council members, strata managers, tenants, or government officials. It’s preferable to receive or confirm the complaint in writing for proper documentation.

Sending a Notice of Bylaw Complaint: Once a complaint is received, the council decides whether to send out a written Notice of Bylaw Complaint to the owner or tenant accused of breaching the bylaws. This notice should include reasonable particulars of the complaint and provide the owner or tenant with a reasonable opportunity to respond in writing or request an in-person hearing before the council.

Validating Bylaw Compliance: Before sending out a Notice of Bylaw Complaint, the council must be confident that the bylaw being enforced is valid and enforceable. This involves ensuring that the bylaw has been properly amended, if necessary.

Council Meeting: After receiving a response or when the response time expires, a council meeting is convened to consider the allegations, submissions, and make a determination on the alleged bylaw breach. During this meeting, council members go ‘in-camera’ to discuss the bylaw issue. Only council members, the strata manager, and the Strata Corporation’s lawyer should be present. If the breach is corrected, the strata council may decide not to take any further steps or the strata council may proceed with further enforcement.

Making Determinations: Council must make determinations by majority vote on whether the evidence shows that one or more bylaws were breached and, if so, determine the penalty to be imposed for each contravention. Penalties may include warnings, directions to correct the breach, fines, or restricted access to facilities. If the strata council decides to proceed with enforcement, it must give the alleged offender a reasonable opportunity to respond to the complaint, including an opportunity to respond at a hearing at a strata council meeting, if requested. (Strata Property Regulation 7.2 defines hearing as “an opportunity to be heard in person at a council meeting” for the purposes of Section 135 (1) (e) of the Strata Property Act).

Notifying the Parties: After a decision is made, council must promptly send a letter to the owner and/or tenant advising them of the decision and any imposed penalties. This decision is also recorded in the meeting minutes, which are then distributed to all owners.

Note: the strata council may give the alleged rule or bylaw offender a warning at any time before proceeding with other enforcement options. Bylaws and rules are unenforceable if they contravene the Strata Property Act, the Human Rights Code or other enactment or law.

Seeking Legal Advice When Necessary

There are situations where seeking legal advice is crucial:

  • The Strata Council is unfamiliar with bylaw enforcement procedures
  • A resident disputes allegations or threatens legal action
  • Bylaw enforcement is being used for harassment
  • Bylaw breaches pose serious concerns
  • Bylaws are unclear, controversial, or possibly invalid
  • Bylaws no longer reflect the will of the ownership
  • Historically, bylaws haven’t been enforced fairly or consistently

By understanding the basics of bylaw enforcement and following the procedures outlined in the Strata Property Act, strata corporations can maintain a harmonious and well-regulated community while avoiding unnecessary legal entanglements. When in doubt, seeking legal advice can help ensure that bylaw enforcement is carried out effectively and in compliance with the law.

In conclusion, bylaw enforcement is an essential part of strata living in British Columbia. Staying informed and following the correct procedures can help maintain a fair and consistent living environment for all strata owners and tenants. So, remember the keyword ‘bylaw enforcement’ and make sure your strata corporation is on the right track!

Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.

The Roles and Responsibilities of Strata Council

The Roles and Responsibilities of Strata Council

The Roles and Responsibilities of Strata Council

There are 2 basic principles to understand how the Act creates obligation and delegates authority to the strata council.

Strata Property Act Responsibilities of Strata Corporation

Part 2. 3  Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the strata corporation is responsible for managing and maintaining the common property and common assets of the strata corporation for the benefit of the owners.

Strata Property Act Strata Corporation functions through council

Part 2.4  The powers and duties of the strata corporation must be exercised and performed by a council, unless this Act, the regulations or the bylaws provide otherwise.

To grasp the intricacies of the strata council’s roles, one must first delve into the responsibilities of the strata corporation. Essentially, the strata council acts as the representative of the corporation, holding the authority delegated by the corporation. Their responsibilities encompass the execution of maintenance and repair of shared assets and facilities, addressing emergencies, upholding bylaws, overseeing financial activities, maintaining records, handling court actions and arbitration, managing forms for real estate transactions, administering service contracts, ensuring proper insurance, convening council and general meetings, and orchestrating the holistic operations of the corporation, all in alignment with the Strata Property Act.

Upon being elected, a primary consideration for the strata council is the allocation of roles among its members. Questions often arise like: Who assumes the position of president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer? Does candidate “A” fit the role of secretary, or is their gardening expertise more aligned with landscaping duties? How involved should the strata council be in supervising service contractors, especially if the strata manager already oversees this responsibility?

Moreover, if the property receives comprehensive management and has service contracts in place, what is the exact role of the strata council? Should they immerse themselves in everyday business operations? Conversely, in the absence of management, which service contracts will the strata necessitate to fulfill its commitments? It’s worth noting that the Strata Property Act (SPA) provides clear guidelines, detailing limitations, delegation terms, and ethical standards expected of strata council members.

Strata Property Act Council member’s standard of care

Part 4.31 In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must:
(a) act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and
(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances

Strata Property Act Disclosure of conflict of interest

Part 4.32 A council member who has a direct or indirect interest in a contract or transaction with the strata corporation must:
(a) disclose fully and promptly to the council the nature and extent of the interest,
(b) abstain from voting on the contract or transaction, and
(c) leave the council meeting (i) while the contract or transaction is discussed, unless asked by council to be present to provide information, and (ii) while the council votes on the contract or transaction

Strata Property Act Council exercises powers and performs duties of strata corporation

Part 4 (1). 26 Subject to this Act, the regulations and the bylaws, the council must exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation, including the enforcement of bylaws and rules.

Strata Property Act Council member’s standard of care

Part 4.31 In exercising the powers and performing the duties of the strata corporation, each council member must
(a) act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and
(b) exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances.

In the context of strata management, it’s imperative to understand the roles and responsibilities that underpin the operations. Before arriving at any decision, both the strata council and the manager should be well-acquainted with who oversees each specified role. There are times when the strata council might take a direct, active role, whereas in other scenarios, their focus might be on disseminating information, addressing concerns, and casting votes. The onus of determining these roles rests with the strata council itself.

Through a majority vote, the strata council delineates where duties and obligations lie. While the strata council can delegate certain responsibilities to either individual members or the manager on the corporation’s behalf, it’s important to note that the ultimate accountability and liability rest with the strata council and the corporation.

For a clearer perspective, let’s delve into some typical roles associated with the strata council. These roles often demand a synergistic approach between council members and the manager. While this overview isn’t comprehensive, it aims to facilitate the strata council and manager in understanding and appropriating responsibilities.

The strata council basic obligations and duties are:

  • Calling and conducting general meetings
  • Preparing the budget and financial statements
  • Collecting strata fees and other money owed to the strata corporation
  • Obtaining adequate strata corporation insurance
  • Paying strata corporation bills
  • Keeping a list of the names of owners and tenants, and similar documents
  • Hiring and supervising employees of the strata corporation
  • Considering exempting the application of rental restriction bylaws for individual owners based on hardship
  • Enforcing the bylaws & rules & convening council meetings to conduct hearings requested under section 34 of the Act
  • Making themselves accessible by providing a telephone number or some other method of contact
  • Entering into strata corporation contracts and supervising the performance of duties under those contracts
  • Keeping all strata corporation records required by Section 35 of the Act including, depreciation reports, environmental and engineer reports, or materials related to depreciation reports

For a clear understanding of strata management, it’s essential to grasp the distinct roles and authority within the strata council. Outside of the president/vice president’s duty to oversee meetings or notify of petitioned general meetings, no individual council member possesses unique authority to represent the corporation.

Such authority can only be granted if the strata council, through a majority vote, bestows this responsibility. However, it’s crucial to note that the strata council cannot delegate tasks related to the enforcement of bylaws, rules, or to ascertain the legitimacy of hardship applications.

To further illustrate, let’s explore some examples of how the strata council might designate and allocate duties. This division of tasks aids council members in efficiently managing their work, ensuring they can effectively report and introduce topics at upcoming strata council meetings.

President/Vice President

  • Chairing meetings
  • Setting draft agendas for council meetings
  • Convening council & general meetings
  • Insurance: appraisal, review, claims
  • Handling emergencies and restoration
  • Supervising management contracts
  • Coordinating hardship applications
  • Representing the Corporation in legal actions or arbitration

    Secretary

    • Meeting minutes
    • General correspondence
    • Notice packages
    • Owners/residents list
    • Rental list
    • Suite records
    • Alteration agreements
    • Form B record information
    • Form K / Form C
    • Section 35 information requests.

      Treasurer

      • Financial reports
      • Budget monitoring and reports
      • Year-end financial statements
      • Audit reports
      • Receivables: fines, liens, orders for sale
      • Form B/f financial information
      • Section 35 financial info request
      • User fee collections and records
      • Special levies
      • Investments
      • Expenses
      • Collections
      • Refunds/surplus
      • Contingency reserve
      • Loans
      • Year-end reports
      • Final reports

        Bylaws and Rules Council Member

        • Annual reviews
        • Correspondence
        • Filing & amendments
        • Distribution of new rules/bylaws
        • Review of enforcement options
        • Review of bylaw violation notices
        • Parking plan and assignments
        • Locker plan and assignments
        • User agreements for parking and lockers

          Buildings Council Member

          • Service contracts & agreements
          • Inspections, reports, and records
          • HVAC
          • Fire & safety systems
          • Elevator
          • Security systems
          • Roofing system
          • Building envelope system
          • Long-term planning and replacements
          • Waste removal

            Landscaping Council Member

            • Pools & ponds
            • Seasonal plantings
            • Pruning & perennial planting
            • Gardener service agreement
            • Water management & irrigation
            • Decks/patios
            • Pest management
            • Composting

              At the outset of each year, it’s essential for every council to allocate time during their initial meeting to define their roles and responsibilities. This ensures that they can collaboratively and effectively engage with both each other and their property manager.

              Establishing a harmonious working relationship underpinned by a clear comprehension of roles can mitigate potential conflicts and misunderstandings. Such a proactive approach paves the way for a conducive environment that benefits both owners and residents.

              Not Legal Advice - The material provided on the StrataPress website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and may not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. These materials may have no evidentiary value and should be checked against official sources before they are used for professional or commercial purposes. Your use of these materials is at your own risk.