Written By: Tony Gioventu, the executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association
A notice has been issued by our strata council demanding disclosure of vaccine passports. Council insists this is a safety measure. It has not provided any evidence of where it gets this authority, what it intends to do with the information, how it intends to collect this information, who will have access to these records or if it plans on preventing access to facilities.
Council claims to have a legal opinion supporting this decision, yet it is unwilling to provide a copy to any of the owners, and there are no new published rules or bylaws. At the very least, because this is a request for personal information, should a special general meeting be called to consider a bylaw amendment approved by the owners?
Our strata corporation is not a business; we are a residential community and cannot be denied access to our building or facilities that we share.
— Claire W., Richmond
A strata corporation does not have the authority to enforce provincial orders unless the legislation or the orders identify this form of housing; however, there may be conditions where the corporation must comply. There are many variations of strata corporations across the province, including commercial and business, and the orders may apply to those operations. Strata corporations must comply with their bylaws unless an order is issued to the contrary.
Concerning attending general meetings, if the strata corporation is convening the meeting within its community either in a club room or outdoors, you must comply with the limits imposed by the orders; however, with the ability of strata corporations to hold meetings electronically until December 31, 2001, why would anyone place their owners in such peril?
If your strata corporation is using a public venue for a meeting, such as a hotel or community hall, that business may be required to request the vaccine card for gatherings over 50 persons, but now we have the issue of whether that capacity was met, whether we are compromising voting rights of owners or proxy holders and whether this is consistent with bylaws.
We also have the issue of the current vaccine order that extends to January 31, 2022, but the electronic voting provision only extends to December 31, 2021. As of January 1, we may have a situation where strata corporations that have not adopted an electronic bylaw are required to hold in-person meetings, but the vaccine requirement provisions prevent the corporation from complying with their own bylaws.
One solution is the provincial government amends the Strata Property Act and the Standard Bylaws to permit electronic meetings and addresses the issues of secret ballots, ending the uncertainty of orders for the many strata corporations who have not adopted such bylaws.
The fourth wave is happening. Electronic meetings are an easy solution to gatherings, business can be conducted safely, and anyone still uncomfortable with the process is entitled to assign their proxy to a neighbour.
The B.C. vaccine card is required for the following: “Indoor organized events with 50 or more people, For example: wedding and funeral receptions (outside of a funeral home), organized parties, conferences, trade fairs and workshops” Gyms, exercise/dance facilities/studios and these activities happening in recreation facilities.”
There are many unknown issues with the application of vaccine cards at this time. A strata corporation will be collecting and gathering personal information, and this may require an amendment to privacy bylaws to permit the collection of this information and how the information is managed, accessed and the purpose. Add to this the application of enforcement. Who is monitoring the collection and management of the data? The exercise becomes daunting for the most sophisticated community, and likely leaves your strata corporation open to a Human Rights or Civil Resolution Tribunal challenge if owner/tenant rights are compromised.
Residents are likely the lowest risk, while the daily entry of visitors, delivery persons, contracts and service providers who encounter much more of the broader public will be transiting your hallways, elevators and common areas without the obligation to disclose any information.
Safe practices are still the best option. Adopt rules to require masks in all common areas by all users. Set use of gyms to single-use cycles, ensure social distancing is maintained for any types of gatherings, use electronic meetings whenever possible to reduce contact, continue contact tracing when possible and ensure your air circulation systems are at peak performance.
For more info, CHOA is hosting a noon webinar panel on September 28 to update strata corporations and managers on the COVID-19 fourth wave.
Tony Gioventu is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association. Email email@example.com.
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