It is interesting that Ontario's Condominium Act gives the right for
official candidates and their representatives to go
door-to-door in condominium buildings and in gated communities so they
can communicate to the residents.
Some condo boards and managers appear to have a hate-on against
democracy. They go so far as to deny canvassers for registered candidates in
municipal, school board, provincial and federal elections from having
access to the building so they can canvass voters and drop off campaign
They may completely ignore Section 118 and 119 (1) of the Condominium
Act and refuse entry or only relent and allow the canvassers in when
they are reminded of the penalties involved.
first issue candidates have to overcome is the reluctance of the
manager to give the candidates a copy of the Owners Register.
|The Act is silent
The Act is silent when it comes to condominium corporation elections.
One can assume that access to the owners by other owners who are
canvassing for elections and petitions was understood by Queens Park as
being so fundamental to the democratic principles that make up
condominium living, that such a provision was thought unnecessary.
Well, in many condos, undemocratic principles is as common as they are
Once the candidates have received an owners list, or went to the
municipal offices and got a list off the tax records, the candidate or
their supporters need to confirm that the records are accurate.
This can only be done by knocking on doors and asking the residents if
they are owners or renters. If they are renters, you need to ask for
the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of the owner. If you
are very lucky, you will be given this information.
You may find out that the official owners register if full of
permission to drop literature
Candidates are often told that they are not allowed to leave their
campaign leaflets in the doorways.
They are spied on by the security
guards and/or the manager who use the security cameras to monitor their
The guards, superintendent or the manager then rushes up to the floors
where the candidate's supporters are working and demands that they stop.
One excuse is that the literature is causing litter in the
hallways and extra work for the cleaning staff. (Even if true, isn't a
few pieces of paper on the floor a small price for democracy?)
Same problem. This time the manager may claim that the canvassers are
frightening the owners by banging on their doors. The manager may also
claim that the canvassers are making false, defamatory and
inflammatory statements that are unduly alarming the occupants and the
residents are begging management to protect them from being disturbed
in their own homes.
These reports are grossly exaggerated and of course the complainers
support the incumbents and are often told what to say.
One candidate's experiences
"Each year (in the month of March) elections are held during the
corporation's AGM. Nominations are accepted in the month of January,
and those who fail for any number of reasons to register their names,
can nominate or be nominated by other owners during the AGM.
Due to a mysterious mishap that the management company failed to
explain, I did not receive my notice of election/nomination in January.
I was forced to join the election race late at the end of February.
To reach other unit owners in the building and inform them about my
candidacy and my reasons for running, I distributed printed election
related materials on two occasions.
On 24 February 2014 I received a letter from the management advising me
in a polite manner to “Cease and desist” from distributing door-to-door
printed election materials. The letter invoked the following paragraph
from the corporation's by-Laws:
“No business solicitation, canvassing or distribution of flyers either
by business or individual, including Residents, is permitted on the
property, without the specific permission of the Resident Services
In a follow-up email I was advised by the senior property manager that
in the future, before distributing any printed material in the
building, I have to submit a letter of intention to the Board with the
exact copy of what I plan to distribute to my fellow unit owners, and
wait until the Board reaches a decision.
The Board holds meetings once a month, thus it cannot guarantee any time-frame for the response."
FOB access to the residential floors
In many new condos, access to the residential floors are restricted to
only the residents who live there and to the corporation's staff.
The condo manager, the directors, the security guards or that
superintendent may go floor-to-floor to canvas for proxies but the
challenging candidates are often denied access to all residential
floors with the exception of the one that he lives on.
The directors and corporation staff can go door-to-door as they are
just trying to get sufficient proxies to get a meeting quorum but any
assistance in this by challenging directors is often refused.
When candidates try to talk to the owners or pass out campaign
literature in the lobby, mail room, laundry room or in the hallways,
the manager claims that residents are complaining that the candidates
are interfering with their right to quiet enjoyment of the common
elements and threatens the perpetrators with legal costs from the condo
lawyer if they don't immediately stop.
Of course, the incumbents are free to talk to the owners wherever they
wish because they are conducting corporation business.
At some condos. the police may be called and asked to lay trespassing charges against
the canvassers. I don't know of any charges actually being laid but
volunteers are badly frightened by this experience.