Mission

This site is dedicated to supporting people who serve on strata councils. It presents the support as walk-through descriptions of procedures and practices using forms and spreadsheets that will help councillors with the work of caring for a strata. A central theme is that the best interests of strata owners are served by following the guidance of the British Columbia strata laws. If you have recently joined a council, this website will provide an alternative to reading the Strata Property Act and the Strata Property Regulation in order to start building the knowledge you need. While certainly not a substitute for reading it all, you will find much of what you need to know to get through the usual progress of a strata year. You will also be introduced to the Act and Regulation through hyperlinks in the website text. There are spreadsheet templates for your budget and for your financial statement that you will need to operate without the help of a property manager, or to see an alternate view of your information.

Origins

Several years ago, at an AGM, I volunteered to join council, suggesting that it needed more members. When the dust settled, council had been completely replaced, none of the new members had any experience and I became the president. Looking for guidance on how to care for the business of our strata corporation, I started reading the British Columbia strata law. Our property manager also provided guidance. I learned that some of the practices we routinely followed were not compliant with the laws. During that first year we tried to move to compliant practices. We learned a lot and probably caused too much disruption, but we made progress. Progress in the sense that compliance led us to practices that increased communication and transparency between council and the owners and better served the interests of our owners. This website is about compliant practices that will strengthen the sense of community in your strata.

Business

Is serving on a strata council like serving on the board of a business corporation? Short answer: No.

Many people will come to serving as a council member with a background in business, and will expect that the same familiar framework will prevail. This is not the case because the circumstances are different. In a business corporation the board sets objectives and approves budgets for operations and capital expenditures. In a strata corporation these things are the done by the group of owners at a general meeting. In a business corporation the board delegates the authority and responsibility to achieve the objectives to the executives and employees. In a strata corporation the group of owners delegates to the council. A few years ago the law was changed to alter the name of the leader of council from "chair" to "president", probably to strengthen the parallel between the council and the executive group of a business.

In a business the board has very few limitations on what it can do. It has most of the rights of an individual. The shareholders are unable to limit the board with explicit constraints. In a strata corporation the group of owners can, with a few exceptions, limit council in almost any way it wants. As well as this, the legislation contains a lot of detailed instructions about how the business of a strata corporation must be done. So an experienced business person will still have a lot to learn about strata corporations.

Councillor

At each annual general meeting the owners must elect a council.  The council must exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation. Generally councillors will be owners, but there are provisions in the SPA that set criteria for non-owners to be on council. The number of persons on council is determined by the bylaws (SSB s.9). A council member must act honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, and must exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person in comparable circumstances. (Reference SPA s. 25 through 34.) Serving on council will provide an opportunity to know your neighbours better and to serve them by representing their interests.

A newly elected council must at its first meeting elect from among its members a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary(SSB s.13). Except for the president, who is to be the chair of council and general meetings and the vice president who takes this role in the president's absence, the duties of officers are not defined. Other than the chairing of meetings, the council members are equal. Although it is usual that a president or chair controls the agenda, there is nothing that would prevent any council member from raising an issue at a council meeting.

The strata corporation may provide errors and omissions insurance ( SPA s.151 ) for council members against their liability for errors and omissions made in the course of their work as council members. This is significant to a person considering serving on a council. Even though the standard of care set for a councillor is low, there is always some risk. The risk is limited by the Schedule of Standard Bylaws (SSB s.22(1)).

Meetings

The first event for a new councillor  will probably be a council meeting, so it's good to have some ideas about what council meetings do and what the rules are in advance.

Council meetings provide the place for strata corporation decision making and provide the regular channel of communication with the owners. It's a good idea to devote part of each meeting to reports from the councillors, particularly the president and treasurer, to provide information to the meeting and, through the minutes, to the owners.

Think of the strata corporation as and entity, like a person. A strata corporation can make a decision in one of two ways; by passing a motion at a general meeting or by passing a motion at a strata council meeting. Beyond that, a strata corporation can delegate limited power to authorize expenditures with specific maximum amounts to individuals or corporations (SSB s.20 & 21).  Examples; delegating to a council president or to a corporate property manager. If a strata uses a property manager there will be a record of the delegation of authority in the contract covering the services  of the property manager. A member of council might be delegated authority to arrange for, as an example, seasonal start up and shutdown of the irrigation sprinkler system, all within the budgeted allowance.

So what constitutes a council meeting? Any councillor can call a meeting by notifying the other councillors. Once a meeting is arranged the owners must be notified. A quorum must be present at a meeting. Electronic attendance is allowed provided all attendees can continuously hear and speak to one another.  Minutes of the meeting must be taken and the owners must be informed within two weeks after the meeting. Decisions must made by majority vote at the meeting and votes must be recorded. More detail is available at Schedule of Standard Bylaws (SSB s.16 to 19).

An important feature of any meeting is the agenda. In his book High Output Management, Andrew S. Grove, an early president of Intel, talks about making decisions through meetings. He identifies six  questions about making a decision, listed below. In our context the first two questions relate to the agenda. If a decision is needed and needed now, it goes on the agenda for the upcoming meeting. Who will decide, well the councillors in our case, but at a deeper level the councillors need to consider who should be involved and get their input before the meeting. The next question on who should be consulted is, in our situation, on the same theme, gathering the information needed to make the decision. On the ratify question, the councillors have the authority to make decisions and there is no step of ratification or veto. The last step of who to notify has important application to stratas, the councillors need to notify their boss, the owners. In the strata situation we do this by describing the decision in a resolution, recording the vote on it in the minutes and informing the owners promptly after the meeting.

"• What decision needs to be made?

• When does it have to be made?

• Who will decide?

• Who will need to be consulted prior to making the decision?

• Who will ratify or veto the decision?

• Who will need to be informed of the decision?"

Grove, Andrew S.. High Output Management (p. 98). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

More than anything, the agenda is a list of the decisions that need to be made. Publishing it in advance to the councillors gives them the basis for preparation. Good agendas lead to productive meetings.

The rules for council meetings are dealt with in the bylaws of a strata corporation. The discussion here is based on the Schedule of Standard Bylaws to the SPA. The bylaws for a particular strata can be different. A councillor will be wise to become familiar with the specific bylaws of the strata. While it is not covered in the standard bylaws, it is not usual in meetings of small groups to to reqire a seconder for a matter to be considered. Any member of a strata council should be able to put forward a matter to be discussed and decided on.

Another view of the meeting issue, through an example: what about an informal gathering of some counillors who start to discuss one of the current issues, and after a while reach a consensus on what to do. Let's say the group was one less than all of the councillors. Was this a meeting? Is the issue now resolved? The answer is a clear no. One councillor was not at the discussion. He or she had no chance to be at the discussion because no meeting had been arranged. Even though a vote of several councillors against one would resolve the issue at a meeting, the missing councillor might have, in discussion, changed the minds of the others. There is no decision until a meeting is called and convened, the issue described in a motion, discussed and a vote taken.

Minutes

It is helpful to follow a set pattern for recording minutes. The illustration is a suggestion.

A meeting can be anywhere but must meet the constraints covered in the previous section. Someone must take the minutes. The minutes are a record of council business. They will remind the councillors of things they may have undertaken to do. While minutes can be terse to provide the record and remind councillors, remember that they also are the means of informing the owners who weren't at the meeting and need context to understand the background.

Storing minutes electronically as PDF files makes finding them easy. Numbering each council meeting within the year and using a file name like NWxxxx CM 2016-17 xx will keep them in order.

Two Funds

Two funds are required to contain the financial holdings of a strata.

One fund, named the Operating Fund (OF), is for expenses that usually occur every year, or more frequently (SPA s.92(a)). Expenses that usually occur less frequently than every year must not be paid from this fund (SPA s.97(a)). Payments from this fund are ordinarily authorized by passing a budget, by a simple majority, at a general meeting(SPA s.97(b)(i)).  The budget must include the estimated expenditures out of the operating fund, itemized by category of expenditure, for the fiscal year (SPR s.6.6(1)(c)).

The other fund is named the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF) and is to pay expenses that usually occur less frequently than every year or that don't usually occur (SPA s.92(b)). Expenses that usually occur every year or more frequently must not be paid from this fund (SPA s.96(a)). Payments from this fund are authorized by describing a particular project, or purpose, in a resolution and passing that resolution, by a 3/4 majority at a general meeting (SPA s.96(b)). If the particular project has been recommended in the most recent depreciation report, a simple majority is sufficient.

Notice that in the language of the SPA and the SPR: the OF approvals, through the budget, are for categories of expenditure and the CRF approvals, made separately from the budget, are each for a particular expenditure.

The two funds must be accounted for separately in the financial statements that must be provided to owners in advance of each Annual General Meeting (AGM) (SPAs.95(1) & (SPR s.6.7).

Except for the option to transfer all or part of the current year's surplus from the OF to the CRF, (SPA s.105(1)) funds from one fund must not be moved to the other. The language of the section referred to is specific and would not allow transfer of an accumulated surplus from the years before the immediately prior year. The provisions that prohibit funds from one fund from being spent for the purposes of the other, act also to prohibit the movement of funds from one fund to the other.

In considering the two kinds of expenditure, bear in mind that an expenditure that results in something that will last for more than a year is clearly an expenditure that usually occurs less often than once a year. So things, for example, such as painting, repairing fences, paving, repairing water pipes and planting perennials are all in the nature of contingency reserve expenditures.

Budgets

The annual budget is the most important piece of communication between the strata council and the owners. The council gets to set the agenda for the annual general meeting (AGM), and this includes preparing the proposed budget. At the AGM, the owners get to amend and if they decide to, approve the proposed budget. There is a requirement for notice of what is to be dealt with at the AGM, so, at the AGM, entirely new items cannot be added. Once approved, the budget is an instruction from the owners to the council on what they want, and expect, the council to accomplish in the following year.

There are two major parts to the budget, the operating fund (OF) budget and the contingency reserve fund (CRF) budget. The uses of these two funds were discussed in a previous section. In a newly constructed strata all the expenses will tend to be operating expenses because there will be no need yet for asset replacements or major repairs. After a few years of budgets that have no CRF items, it is easy to fall into the error of paying for an expense that does occur less frequently than every year within the OF budget. Bear in mind that an expense that results in something that lasts for more than a year is properly a CRF expense and must be voted on as a separate item with either a ¾ majority or a simple majority if it has been recommended in the most recent depreciation report.

In the early years, budgeting is easy. It will just be an OF budget, and each year will be almost the same as the previous year. The budget can be put together in the last weeks before the AGM. Twenty or thirty years later there will be many things that need attention either as significant repair or actual replacement. Much more work and time will be spent deciding on what to do, defining the work, getting estimates and preparing proposals to bring to the owners for consideration at the AGM. The council must either do this itself or arrange for it to be done. Budgeting becomes an activity spanning through the year, not just in the run-up to the AGM.

The first page, of the budget spreadsheet template available as a download from this site, is about the opening and closing balances in the two funds. The table at the top of page 1, shown below, deals with the allocation of the generated surplus from the prior year. When you start working on the budget you will skip over this page and come back to it when the year end financial statement is available and provides the values you need to complete the table.

The Strata Property Act SPA s.105 tells us that we must deal with the generated surplus from the prior year in one or more of three ways. The three ways are set out in the illustration below:

The figure at the top of the column is the generated surplus from the prior year. It is the contributions to the prior year operating budget less the expenses of the year. It is distinct from the opening balance in the fund. The opening balance is the accumulation of surpluses from all prior years.

The next two figures are the allowed two uses that treat the surplus in special ways. The first is to transfer an amount to the CRF. The second is to treat an amount as though it were a strata fee contribution to the fund, so that it allows the strata fees to either be lowered, or to be not increased. Whatever is left after these two special uses is the residual. This residual surplus is added to the opening balance of the fund at the beginning of the prior year to yield the opening balance in the fund for the current year.

The yellow highlighting indicates information that is required by the Strata Property Regulation SPR s.6.6(1) to be included in a budget.

Page 2 is the operating fund (OF) budget for the upcoming year. Below is a clip from the spreadsheet filled in with categories of expenditure and estimates of amounts for the year.

Estimating OF costs in a strata that has been running for a few years is relatively easy because the costs will be pretty much the same as the previous year, but with minor adjustments for price changes. After estimating the costs and the minor amounts of income, the strata fee contribution required to cover the costs can be determined. It is a good idea to budget for at least a small surplus to cover uncertainty in the estimates. The monthly OF strata fees for each unit, that are shown on page 4 of the budget spreadsheet, are calculated from the Strata Fee Contributions to the OF at the top of the table.

Now we will go back to consider the estimated year end position that will result if the budget is followed. The illustration below is the second table shown on page 1 of the budget spreadsheet. At the bottom of the table the Estimated Year End Closing Balance is calculated as the sum of the Opening Balance in the Operating Fund from the table at the top of page 1 plus the Estimated Operating Surplus from the OF budget on page 2. The result, $39,203 is the Assets Less Liabilities of the balance sheet. Other assets expected at year end, Petty Cash, Co-op shares etc. are entered and the anticipated bank balance is calculated. You can see that if the OF closing balance was, for example, $8,000, the bank balance would be below zero.

An overdraft is not practical, so a temporary loan must be taken from the CRF to cover the shortfall. While a loan from the CRF to cover a temporary shortfall is allowed (SPA s.95(4)), it must be repaid before the year end (SPR s.6.3). Accordingly, the budget must not plan for a shortfall at year end. Putting the numbers into the format illustrated will reveal the problem in advance.

The table only deals with the year end position, however, cash flow shortfalls during the year also need to be considered and an adequate bank balance maintained. In a strata with some history, an examination of cash flow for previous years can establish a reasonable balance forward to avoid shortfalls. In a new strata, estimates of monthly expenditures will be needed.

A similar balance sheet table for the CRF is the third table on page1 of the spreadsheet. The CRF can also have non-liquid assets that could raise the same issue. If part of the CRF holding is in a fixed term security, a loan to the OF might not be possible.

Page 3 of the budget spreadsheet covers the CRF budget. It differs from the OF budget page in that the entries are for specific projects or purposes in place of the categories listed for the OF. Each project must be approved in a separate motion with usually a 3/4 majority. The Strata Property Regulation ( SPR s.6.6(1)) does not require these CRF projects to be listed in the budget, however it does require the strata fee contributions, other income, opening balance and estimated year end closing balance to be part of the budget. So, for convenience, the planned CRF expenditures are shown in a similar format to show how the CRF estimated surplus is calculated.

The preparation of the plans and estimates for the CRF portion of the budget is where the hard work goes in. First you have to conceive what needs to be done. Then you have to describe it in a thorough way to provide the basis for getting prices that will be valid for the result you want, including getting the right quality. Then get prices and put it all together as a proposal for the owners to consider and then vote on.

The final page of the budget spreadsheet, page 4, is a table of the payments required from each owner.  This table is calculated from the strata fee contribution amounts shown at the top of the budget pages for each of the OF and CRF. The calculation is the entitlement divided by the sum of all the entitlements (10,000), multiplied by the total strata fee contribution of each kind, and divided by 12 to go from yearly to monthly. Part of the table is shown below. Again, the parts highlighted in yellow are required to be part of the budget (SPR s.6.6(1)(f) & (g)) and accordingly are approved by the approval of the budget. A table listing the entitlement for each strata lot is part of the registered plan for the strata. Each strata corporation is required to have a copy of the registered plan (SPR s.35(2)(b)), so one of the councillors or your property manager will have a copy.

The download for this spreadsheet template comes with protections set to allow input to places where input is needed, but with other cells protected. This is to to make it useful by preventing unintended overwriting of formula cells, but if you want to make changes you can just alter the protection settings. The spreadsheet template was done using Open Office Calc, part of the Open Office suite. You can download it from openoffice.org.  It is free software, widely used and excellent. If you prefer to use Microsoft Excel, download the .xlsx version.

Financial Statements

The strata corporation must prepare a financial statement and make it available to the owners prior to the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The details of timing and minimum requirements for the statement are covered in the Strata Property Regulation (SPR s.6.7). As a practical matter, holding the AGM in the last few days of the month following the fiscal year end works well. The timing constraints allow that the financial statement sent to the owners with the notice of the meeting can be as of a day within the two month period prior to the date of the AGM. For example, a statement as at the 28 of February can easily be prepared before the end of March, making it practical to send out a notice of meeting containing the statement in the first week of April. This gives the required notice of two weeks for a meeting in the last week of April. A statement for the year end, March 31, can be ready for distribution either at, or preferably just before, the AGM.

There is a spreadsheet template available in the downloads on this website for preparing a financial statement that meets the requirements of the SPR. It needs an input of one line for each transaction. If you are self run strata it can be your check issue register, and when the bank statement is ready you can download a comma separated (CSV) file and paste it into the spreadsheet. Once organized, an hour a month should be sufficient. The spreadsheet generates a summary form of expenditures compared against budgeted expenditures for each fund and a summary of transfers between accounts in the bank. It includes all of the line entry detail, giving the detailed view required by the SPR. It also includes a balance sheet for each fund and reconciliations to the bank records.

To set up the spreadsheet initially and at the start of each year a number of entries are needed to set the names, dates and the starting bank balances. The information from the approved budget of the initial year is also needed. If you have used the format of budget from this website, the budget information needed can be copied and pasted from the approved budget prepared after the AGM. Beyond that, all that is needed is to choose the codes used to label the categories of expenditure in the operating fund (OF) budget and the approved expenditures from  the contingency reserve fund (CRF). 

To show the various features of the financial report spreadsheet, an example spreadsheet that has been populated with data for a fictional strata is available for download. The example has yellow highlighting for the fields that are required by the SPR. The SPR is focused on making sure the owners can see the details, a valid concern to ensure the money is going where it should. However, the summary sheets for the OF and the CRF and the balance sheet and bank reconciliation will be found most useful in understanding how things are going. To illustrate the features of the financial report, the fictional strata is in some degree of financial distress. It carried a loan of $4,000 from the CRF to the OF through the prior year end (not allowed) and has this year added another $20,000 to the loan (see page 2) to help pay the insurance premium that came due May 31 and was paid July 13. They are, however, budgeted for an operating surplus over $18,000 and are well on the way to paying off the loan by the year end and being close to not needing a loan in the spring of the next year.

A .pdf form of the financial report generated for this example is available. It is six pages long, and you will find it useful to download and print it to follow the discussion.

  Financial Statement Example .pdf (87.6 KiB, 892 hits)

Pages 1 and 2 of the spreadsheet are entirely generated, there is no input required. There is a form, not included in the printed output, on sheet 1 of the spreadsheet that guides the input of the names, dates and the starting bank balances for the initial setup and for each month end that a statement is produced.  This form is shown below:

The shaded areas highlight the data input needed.

On sheet 2 of the spreadsheet, to generate the operating fund page, page 3, the categories of income and expense and amounts budgeted are entered, usually by copying and pasting from the approved budget. Codes can be entered or deleted. By making the entries for this page, the code and the description beside it are associated and the spreadsheet is set up to post detail amounts with this code to the summary total of the "Actual" column. For the contingency reserve fund page, page 4, the same remarks apply. The codes can be numbers or letters and need not be sequential. They must, however, each be unique.

The details of each item of income or expenditure are entered on sheet 3 of the spreadsheet to become page 5 and beyond of the report. The details are  the payee, the payee's invoice number, the cheque number, a flag to indicate if the cheque has been paid at the bank, the date of issue of the cheque or transaction, the amount, the description of the transaction, the property manager's account, the code and the budget category. The budget category is generated by the spreadsheet in response to input of the code. The flag for cheque payment provides for the 'outstanding cheques' amount on page 1 to be generated by the spreadsheet.

As a practical matter, beyond the requirements of the SPR for an annual financial statement, a financial report generated each month will provide council with a clear view of the accounts and make it easy for all to understand the financial situation.

A word about spreadsheets. When you drag the contents of a cell from one location to another, the formulas in other cells that use the moved contents as input are adjusted to use the new location as the source of the input. This is useful when you are building a spreadsheet, but when the spreadsheet is being used to process data, it is a source of corruption of the spreadsheet. This happens even when the formula cells are protected, so moving input data in an unprotected area of the sheet can corrupt the formulas in the protected cells. The way to avoid this is to never move input data. Moving can be dragging and dropping in a new location and it can also be cutting and pasting. This also includes Ctrl+x followed by Ctrl+v. If you have some input data in the wrong place and want to move it, the way to do it is: highlight the cells containing the data you want to move and click copy or Ctrl+c to copy the data to the clipboard. Then, with the cells still highlighted, hit the Backspace key. The data will disappear from the cells. Select the top left hand corner of the new location and do a "paste special", limiting it to just numbers or numbers and text to put the input in the desired new location. Doing it this way will not affect the formulas that use the data. If you inadvertently move some data, use Edit->Undo to step back to the condition before the change.

There are five financial report spreadsheet files available for download. There are .pdf, .ods and .xlsx files for the example spreadsheet. These will be helpful in understanding how the spreadsheet works and how it will look when you have entered your data. There are two files for the blank spreadsheet template, an .ods and an .xlsx file. The downloads for this spreadsheet template come with protections set to allow input to places where input is needed, but with other cells protected. This is to to make it useful by preventing unintended overwriting of formula cells, but if you want to make changes you can just alter the protection settings. The spreadsheets were prepared on Open Office software that generates files with the .ods extension. The Open Office suite is free, widely used and excellent software. It is available here for download. If you prefer Excel, you will want the .xlsx files.

 

AGM

Every year the strata corporation must hold an annual general meeting (AGM). Any general meeting of the strata corporation is a venue where the owners of the strata corporation, that is the owners of all the strata lots, may exercise control over their council. By law, (SPA s.26) the council must exercise the powers and perform the duties of the strata corporation. The limits placed on the strata corporation's right to direct or restrict council are very narrow and are detailed in the Act (SPA s.27). The restrictions deal mostly with bylaw enforcement. The general structure of control of the strata corporation is that the owners direct the council and the council carries out the business of the corporation as directed.

A practical limitation on this arrangement is that the council controls the agenda of any general meeting (SPA s.46). So the owners can direct council, but council controls the directions that the owners can give. There is a limitation on council's control of the agenda in that persons holding 20% or more of the votes can have a resolution put on the agenda. The written demand for this must be made in time for it to be included in the notice of meeting. This means that a written demand must be in council's hands at least 3 weeks before a meeting is to be held. Because a person outside council won't know when the AGM is to be held until the notice comes, at least 4 weeks before when the AGM is usually held seems a reasonable time to make the written demand.

The AGM must be held no later than 2 months after the fiscal year end (SPA s.40(2)). The notice for the meeting sets things in motion. The notice must include:

  1. The agenda for the meeting,

  2. a proposed budget for the upcoming year,

  3. a financial statement for the year just ended,

  4. a description of matters to be voted on,

  5. wording for all resolutions requiring a ¾ majority,

  6. and of course the location, time and date for the meeting.

At least 2 weeks notice must be given. In addition to the 14 days, 4 additional days (SPA s.61(3)) must be allowed for posting by mail or placing in the letter box or under the door. Also allow a day at each end, such that at least a clear 18 days lies between the date of posting and the day of the meeting. Notice must be given to every owner, every mortgagee who has requested it and every tenant who has been assigned a landlord's right to vote. Refer to SPA s.45 for a full coverage of meeting notice.

Make arrangements for meeting space for the AGM well in advance. Making a booking shortly after the current AGM is not unreasonable to get a place that is well suited to your needs and inexpensive.

A good setup for an AGM is simply a room with adequate seating for the owners and with a head table across the front so the council, and property manager if you have one, can sit facing the owners and have a place for their meeting materials. It can often be helpful to have a projector and screen for presenting information to the meeting.

The outline of the order of business for general meetings is taken from the Schedule of Standard Bylaws (SSB s.28). If your strata has modified the standard schedule your order may be different. The comments below each item of business have been added.

The order of business at annual and special general meetings is as follows:

  1. certify proxies and corporate representatives and issue voting cards;

    At least half an hour before the meeting is to start the secretary will need to be set up at a table near the door with a list of owners. The secretary will record the attendance of each owner as they come in, either in person or in proxy, along with the person to whom the proxy is granted, and issue voting cards for each attendee. A good choice for voting cards is cardboard about 3x5 inches so they can be easily counted when held up by a voter. When the meeting is called to order the secretary will announce the attendance giving the numbers of in-person and by-proxy attendees. Transparency will be served by announcing the names of owners represented by proxy and to whom the proxy was granted.

    Something to consider being prepared for is a demand by an owner attending the meeting for a precise count and the chair deciding to use a secret ballot vote (SSB s.27 (3)). A good number of slips of paper and a ballot box of some kind will be needed.

  2. determine that there is a quorum;

    The quorum is defined in SPA s.48. Make sure you know how many are needed to satisfy the quorum requirement. Also, be sure to know what happens if there is not a quorum present. This can be changed in your bylaws from what is in the Act.

  3. elect a person to chair the meeting, if necessary;

    The president or in her absence the vice president must chair a general meeting. If neither are present, someone must conduct a vote to choose a chair (SSB s.25(3)).

  4. present to the meeting proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice;

    Proof seems unreasonable to provide. A declaration by the chair that the notice meets the requirements of the Act and Regulation and that it was properly given to all who were entitled to receive it seems a reasonable fulfillment. Those present presumably received a notice and can judge if it is sufficient.

  5. approve the agenda;

    It is helpful to have prearranged for some of the owners present to propose some of the standard motions required to move the meeting along. Have the motion wording written out and in the hands of the one who is to propose it.

  6. approve minutes from the last annual or special general meeting;

    Same comment as above.

  7. deal with unfinished business;

    Usually none. There might have been a motion tabled at a previous AGM.

  8. receive reports of council activities and decisions since the previous annual general meeting, including reports of committees, if the meeting is an annual general meeting;

    An AGM is a great opportunity to provide information to the owners. Short presentations about things that happened during the year with audio visual support. A written report from the president is a good staple.

  9. ratify any new rules made by the strata corporation under SPA s.125

  10. report on insurance coverage in accordance with SPA s.154 if the meeting is an annual general meeting;

    Council will need to have reviewed the insurance in place and made a decision as to its adequacy. Council decisions are made by voting on a resolution at a council meeting. Providing each owner with a certificate of insurance coverage in the notice of meeting is a good idea, but not a fulfillment of council's responsibility.

  11. approve the budget for the coming year in accordance with SPA s.103, if the meeting is an annual general meeting;

    The treasurer can make the motion to open the discussion. This is the motion for the operating budget. Along with the proposed amounts for each category of expenditure, the budget includes the proposed disposition of the prior year's surplus and the proposed amounts for OF and CRF strata fees. Passing the budget approves the surplus disposition and sets the amounts for both strata fees.

  12. deal with new business, including any matters about which notice has been given under SPA s.45;

    This is a reference to SPA 45 (3) “all of the matters that will be voted on at the meeting . . .”. This is largely the part where the CRF proposals are dealt with. The wording for each proposal will have been included in the notice for the meeting. Each motion should be introduced by a council member, probably with additional background information on the proposal. Some proposals, if for a large amount or a complex issue, will best be supported by a handout or by previously distributed information or by a presentation with visual support. Motions requiring only a simple majority will also be dealt with in this part. The wording for simple majority motions can be put forward by one of the council members. Setting this up in advance will help move the meeting along.

  13. elect a council, if the meeting is an annual general meeting;

    The chair can first announce the end of term (SSB s.10) of the council members and then call for nominations. If nominations don't exceed the maximum size of council, council membership can be acclaimed. If more than the maximum number offer to serve an election will be held to determine the members selected. Council officers are selected by the members of council at the first council meeting (SSB s.13).

  14. terminate the meeting.

    Adjournment must be moved, but no seconder is needed.

Minutes of general meetings must be prepared and retained by the strata corporation (SPA s.35 (1)(a)). Copies must, within 2 weeks, be made available to owners on request (SPA s.36 (1 )&(3)). Transparency will be served if the owners are informed of the minutes shortly after the meeting.

Within 2 weeks of the meeting, the owners must be informed of any changes to their strata fees (SPA s.106).

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