Voter suppression

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 literature.

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.
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 in Pyongyang.

Voters list

The first issue candidates have to overcome is the reluctance of the manager to give the candidates a copy of the Owners Register.

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 inaccuracies.

Refused 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 movements.

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?)

Canvassing door-to-door
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:
XII. Soliciting
“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 Office.”
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.

Canvassing in common areas
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.

Criminal charges?
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 many volunteers are badly frightened by this experience.

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