Proxies – being in two places at once

M.R. writes:

Dear Paul:

Our AGM package came with a message advising us that we
could appoint a proxy. Can you explain what a proxy is in simple terms?

Paul replies:

Dear M.R.:

A proxy is a legal document by which you give someone the
authority to act on your behalf. As it relates to you as a condo owner, you are
asking someone to represent you because you will not attend your AGM. For
example, you will be attending your daughter’s graduation in another city on
the day of the AGM. The meeting notice indicated that the assembly would be
voting on a motion to close the party room and convert it into an exercise room.
If you were present at the meeting you would vote against the change. A proxy
provides you with the means to have someone vote on your behalf. Like a power
of attorney might give a relative or close friend the power to make legal and
financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, a proxy
serves the same purpose, but usually for a limited duration such as a meeting
from which you will be absent.

A proxy is made in writing. Some jurisdictions or your
governing documents may have a special form that must be used. A proxy provides
your information and identifies the person who will act for you. It should also indicate what the proxy is for and when it expires. You may assign a proxy to someone to vote in favour of one and only one resolution of interest. This means that once the proxy holder has
voted in favour of the motion, their duty has ended. Unfortunately, there is no way to ensure that the proxy holder would vote the way you would like them to once they are at the meeting. Or, more likely, a proxy could state that the holder may do anything that you can do at a meeting including vote, present a resolution, second a motion and speak to a motion unless restricted by the proxy instructions. Once the meeting is finished, the proxy is no longer valid. You must be careful in preparing proxies. Unless it contains a specific expiry date, the proxy may be valid until revoked. When proxy matters get
complicated, make sure to consult with an attorney. 

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Paul T

    At present, there are no laws in Canada that limit the number of proxies one unit owner could hold. It is correct that one person holding a large number of proxies could determine the outcome of a vote.
    Until legislation is changed, you could consult a lawyer and determine if it would be legal to place a limit on the number of proxies one individual can hold in the Bylaws. Less I am mistaken, in Australia, there is a law that limits the number of proxies to one for condos with 20 units or less and to five percent of total ownership for condos with more than 20 units. For now, there is not much that we can do.

  2. Louisa Ryz

    What is disturbing to me about proxies is when owners, who are not at all involved in their condo affairs, give their proxy to another owner and say “vote however you think best”. If enough proxies are given to the same person, it could possibly decide the vote in that direction. Can anything be done to prevent such a thing from happening?

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