CCI-Review - 2020/2021 - #1

COVID - 19—These are the Stages of Our Lives - by Kristi Sargeant - Kerr, LL.B., Director

However, resident safety remained the priority, which frequently led to a tricky balancing act. Again, as a result of ongoing commu- nications between Boards of Directors and Managers, difficult decisions were made as to whether to proceed with interior and exterior construction pro- jects, reopen amenities, reschedule reg- ular maintenance work, etc. In making these decisions, Boards had to consid- er whether something was essential, whether physical distancing was possi- ble, the ability to maintain cleanliness, all while trying to stay apprised of the evolving nature of the government directives. It must not go unnoticed that making these decisions was thankless at times as just when a Board had made a com- plicated decision, the landscape would often change the next day and some- times even later the same day and they would need to start over. Such was the case with proceeding with Annual General Meetings as many Boards that initially decided to postpone their AGMs until they could be held in person, then had to re- evaluate their decision when it became clear that a by-law would not be re- quired to hold them electronically and/ or that the emergency declaration would not be lifted in the near future. Decisions then had to be made as to whether the owners would be comfort- able proceeding in this fashion and if so, significant time and effort was spent on what the electronic format would look like to ensure that the meetings remained valid while educat- ing owners on this new process.

With the Ontario Legislature having ended the state of emergency as of July 24, 2020, and the Province having en- tered Stage 3 of our long road to re- covery, we thought it would be helpful to look back on each stage and their impact on condominiums in the Lon- don area, regardless of whether you live in a townhome, tower or free- standing unit.

Initial State of Emergency

Kristi M. Sargeant-Kerr , LL.B. joined the law firm of Scott Petrie LLP as a partner in 2017. Kristi spe- cializes in all aspects of con- dominium law, including management and litigation. She made this transition after years of personal inter- est in the condominium field and a keen interest and involvement in mediation and arbitration at numerous administrative Boards and Tribunals since her call to the bar in 2003. Kristi is currently the Secretary of the London and Area Chap- ter Board of CCI.

After the declaration of emergency was announced on March 17, 2020, condo- miniums of every type scrambled to undertake emergency planning and determine what steps were required in order to keep their residents safe. To say this was a stressful period of time during which very difficult decisions were made by all Boards of Directors and Condominium Managers is an un- derstatement. However, as a result of increased and open lines of communication between Boards, Managers and their profes- sionals, residents were provided with timely, factual updates with the goal of keeping them as safe, calm and in- formed as possible. As we all know now, these steps in- cluded the closure of non-essential common areas and amenities, in- creased cleaning protocols and the use of PPE, prohibitions on open houses and new requirements for showing units for sale or lease, the delay of all but emergency repairs and renovations, and, initially, postponing all owners’ meetings.

Stage 1:

As of Friday, May 19, 2020, the Lon- don and Area region entered Stage 1 of the reopening of the Province. The impact of this on condominiums was significant as we began to see the eas- ing of some of the restrictions in place.

Stage 2:

As the London and area region moved into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 , 2020, condominiums saw even more easing on restrictions, including those on so-

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