CAT rules on access to proxies
The CAT (Condominium Authority Tribunal) has released another important decision on the right of owners to access records. Cangiano v. Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 962 is a dispute over the owner's right to receive "legible and unaltered" copies of the proxies used at the AGM. The condominium refused to provide unaltered copies because the proxies contained personal information, but offered to provide redacted copies for $27.60. The owner sought an order directing the condominium to provide her with un-redacted copies of the proxies. The CAT member reviewed the provisions of the Act and regulations, including section 55(4) of the Act which describes exclusions to the owner's right to examine records. The member also reviewed section 13.11(2) of O.Reg. 48/01 which states:
(2) The following are prescribed records for the purpose of clause 55(4)(d) of the Act:
4. Any portion of a ballot or proxy form that identifies specific units in a corporation or owners in a corporation, unless a by-law of the corporation provides otherwise.
The CAT member found the provisions of the Act and regulations clear: owners are not entitled to information contained in the proxies that identifies units or owners unless a by-law of the condominium permits it. There was no evidence of such a by-law for this condominium corporation. The member made an interesting comment that will be determined by a future case:
the AGM sign-in registry might provide the Applicant with the information she is seeking. I am not ordering the Respondent to release this document. No request for this record has been submitted to the Respondent and the Respondent has not had the opportunity to consider its release. I do note, however, that the right to examine or obtain a copy of this record may be subject to the exclusions set out in s. 55(4) of the Act.
Only time will tell if the CAT determines that owners are not entitled to review the registration list of owners from an owners' meeting because it contains information related to specific units or owners. The condominium was successful in defending the owner's claim. The condominium sought costs of about $3,000 that it incurred to defend itself. The CAT member reviewed Rule 30.1 of the Tribunal's Rules which permits the Tribunal to order costs, except legal fees incurred by a party unless there are exceptional reasons. The condominium claimed that the owner knew that she was not entitled to un-redacted copies and filed a "unmeritorious" application causing the condominium to incur costs. The CAT member was not persuaded that the owner's claim was frivolous or not filed in good faith. As such, the member ordered no costs. The decision was released a mere ten days after the hearing (which was conducted in writing) was completed. So far the CAT appears to be the quicker and more economical alternative to Superior Court that was promised. Time will tell if this continues as the volume of claims increases and its jurisdiction is expanded to more complex disputes.
If you would like to read the full case it is available on CanLii: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncat/doc/2018/2018oncat7/2018oncat7.pdf