In the context of the pandemic and the difficulty and even impossibility for meeting in person, the Minister of Heath and Social Services adopted ministerial order number 2020-029 on April 26, 2021, permitting meetings or assemblies that take place in person to be held using a means that enables all members to communicate directly with each other. As a result, meetings of co-ownership boards and meetings of co-owners were permitted for the first time to conduct their meetings virtually. Moreover, this order provides: “THAT, when a secret ballot is required, it may be held by any means of communication agreed on by all persons who are entitled to vote or, failing that, by any means enabling both that votes be gathered in a way that they may be verified afterwards and the preservation of the secret nature of the vote”..
As of the end of April 2020, these meetings, assemblies and votes can therefore be held by any technological means allowing the co-owners and administrators, if necessary, to communicate adequately, either by Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Skype, etc.
This order is however part of the health emergency decreed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, makes it temporary, as this authorization is valid only until the end of the emergency or until revoked by the Minister.
To remedy the temporary nature of this authorization, the Committee on Labour and the Economy of the National Assembly of Québec tabled Bill 103, i.e. the Act to amend various legislative provisions mainly for the purpose of reducing red tape (“Bill 103”). Under the terms of this bill, the Civil code of Québec will be amended by the addition of articles 1084.1, 1088.1 and 1089.1 to allow, particularly, meetings of boards of directors and general meetings of the co-owners to be conducted using means allowing all participants to communicate directly with one another Virtual general meetings of co-owners and meetings of the board of directors will therefore continue to be permitted after the end of the health emergency.
Given that the proposed articles of the Civil code of Québec do not expressly specify hybrid meetings of the board of directors and general meetings, we may wonder whether future declarations of co-ownership will contain provisions authorizing this hybrid formula.
As of the date of this article, Bill 103 had not yet been adopted and was, on November 10, 2021, at the Committee stage.