It is the morning of July 1st. I nervously open one eye, and then the other, and look at my phone to see what day it is (lately when I wake, I cannot seem to recall), and I breathe an audible sigh of absolute relief and say to myself “we made it”.
The Condominium Act requires condominium corporations to attempt to hold their Annual General Meeting within six (6) months of their fiscal year end. The sad reality for condominium managers is that the vast majority of corporations have a December 31st year end, prompting June to be the most chaotic month imaginable for managers that manage more than one condominium corporation (which is the ever-increasing norm as developers continue to build new condominium communities faster than we seem to be cranking out newly licensed managers capable of running the condominium property manager show solo). For some senior management personnel, the month of June may be packed with dozens of owner meetings (in addition to regular board meetings and workloads). The June 30th timeline crunch is just fine for stand alone single tower condominiums in the cities where there are hundreds of suites under one roof, one Board of Directors, one manager and with just one AGM per year. Outside of cities, the scramble is on annually to fit in many, many smaller condominium sites with suites ranging in number from 16 up to about 30 and each has the same needs individually as one stand alone tower at AGM season – and in other areas.
“Why June?” You may ask. “Why can’t you split the meetings between May and June?” Well, the Condominium Act plays a role in that decision as well. The end of June is only 2 months from the end of April (“tax season” as it is known for Auditors). Auditors will generally not start working on condominium financial audits until May due to their focus on their annual business corporation and personal client tax filing deadlines. Coupled with the requirement to have audited financial statements for most Annual General meetings (unless your corporation is under 25 units and all owners have agreed in writing to dispense with the audit requirements each year as permitted by the Act), and the required statutory timelines for owners to receive the meeting package in advance – ideally with their financial statements included, the month of June is the inevitable best worst case scenario for all to choose when selecting the meeting date for the year.
Yesterday I attended three (3) different AGMs. The second, to accommodate my attendance in time for the third amidst site emergencies, had to be done virtually from my car in the parking lot of the venue for the third. There I sat with my feet propped in the only way I could physically manage to fit myself and my laptop comfortably, my iced coffee (which I almost did not give myself the luxury of stopping for, along with a chicken wrap – the first thing I had eaten all day) serving as the only prop that could keep my phone upright to allow me to see the attendees on zoom while I took minutes on my computer. I could not help but snap a photo of the moment and post it online later that night with the hashtag #isitioveryet … One of the funniest moments of the AGM I attended from my car yesterday was when one of the panellists made a quip about poor auditors having to attend up to 3 AGMs in one day some time at this point of the year. While I do not mean to say that the audit presentation is not difficult and time consuming, I will say it is generally a brief presentation followed by a Q&A on the statements. The manager may have to chair the entire meeting including handling uncomfortable questions, dealing with potentially contentious elections, mediating neighbour disputes, presenting lengthy annual reports on annual operations in many facets, and more. Suffice to say, it is a lot – especially if you must do it more than once a day, for weeks on end.
I have a very radical idea to make June ‘condominium manager appreciation month’. Bring your manager a coffee or a sandwich, give them a smile (and maybe a compliment on something positive around the site), and try to remember they are humans too. And, while it may not show, they are having a VERY busy month and will be embracing July 1st with great relief and joy at having made it through – in some fashion. Be kind above all else and think of the other’s needs, please.