Canada: Virtual Meetings: A Growing Possibility

Last Updated: June 17 2015
Article by Katie Lazier and Jon McPherson (Summer Law Student)

Technology is improving at a rapid pace, which has an obvious and corresponding effect on the mediums through which we communicate.  Recent developments in telecommunications technology have increased the ability of a corporation to manage the ease and flow of communication between its decision-makers, employees and service providers.  This has the direct effect of increasing both the efficiency and the effectiveness of organizations. One such development is technology that permits corporations to hold electronic meetings that are comprised of numerous individuals participating from various locales.  This conferencing technology has proven to be valuable to charities and non-profit organizations (NPOs) that maintain a broad public membership.  This article canvases some of the practical and legal considerations that charities and NPOs should consider when holding virtual meetings.

Practical Considerations

Virtual or electronic meetings reduce travel costs, travel time, and scheduling challenges often associated with in-person meetings, and facilitate and increase attendance and participation. Virtual meetings also have the ability to increase the number of individuals who are willing to serve as directors or participate as members of an organization, since they reduce the time commitment required to attend meetings in person.

Corporations deliberating whether to transition to a virtual meeting platform must take into consideration the extent to which all of their members have access to the particular platform.  For example, for web-based platforms, an organization would need to establish in advance whether all of its members have access to computers as well as reliable internet connections to ensure they are able to attend an online meeting.

While there are sometimes costs associated with certain virtual meeting platforms, these costs may prove to be significantly less than those associated with in-person meetings.  At times, costs of in-person meetings may include the costs of renting a meeting space, catering food, and travel.

A corporation considering whether to hold virtual meetings should canvass the array of platform developers to determine which meeting platform has features that best suit its specific needs.   For instance, many (but not all) meeting platforms can help track which individuals attend the meeting.  This is valuable when determining quorum of the meeting.  If the corporation has a large membership base, the corporation will need a platform that allows it to manage the flow of communication among the large number of individuals.  Some platforms allow participants to virtually "raise their hand", as well as permit the chair to set a queue of speakers.  These features are useful when an organization wishes to optimize participation and ensure that meetings are conducted in an orderly fashion and on time.  Some virtual meeting platforms feature the ability to record meetings.  This is a convenient and potentially invaluable tool for corporations that often experience the problem of inaccurate, incomplete or widely disputed meeting minutes (or for those wishing to preempt such conflict).   Corporations must also consider whether the platform allows members to vote in a manner that is consistent with any and all applicable legislative provisions. 

Corporations should be aware of the potential limitations or difficulties associated with virtual meetings.  Although a corporation may be tempted to transition wholly to virtual meetings, some meetings should still be held in-person. Contrary to in-person meetings, electronic meetings have the downside of eliminating the initial face-to-face conversation and networking that often serve to facilitate a more personable working relationship and which many enjoy. In some cases, virtual meetings may also give rise to a loss of confidentiality, as it can be difficult to confirm who else is in the virtual location or whether the meeting moderator has shared their meeting log-in information, either directly or indirectly, with another party.  New technologies are also often associated with a steep learning curve, which may be frustrating for meeting participants and may initially result in a lack of participation and/or efficiency. Corporations considering whether to implement a particular meeting platform are advised to engage in a practice run and consider a back-up plan if there are technical difficulties.


Unless its bylaws provide otherwise, members of a corporation incorporated federally under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA), are permitted by the CNCA to attend meetings by "telephonic, an electronic or other communication facility that permits all participants to communicate adequately with each other during the meeting".  Members attending a meeting by these virtual means are permitted to vote electronically on the platform the corporation has a made available for such purpose.

However, the regulations to the CNCA, require voting be carried out in a way that both enables the votes to be verified and provides the voter with anonymity.  These requirements may prove difficult to meet.  Corporations should ensure the platform chosen for the meeting allows them to comply with these regulations.

The corporate legislation in many other Canadian provinces also permit the members of non-profit corporations to attend electronic meetings. Corporations should review all applicable legislation before choosing the appropriate virtual platform.

Miller Thomson LLP's Charities and Not-for-Profit Law lawyers can assist in highlighting the unique issues specific to your corporation that should be considered when choosing whether to hold virtual or electronic meetings, including, but not limited to ensuring your corporation meets the legal requirements of a virtual meeting in the jurisdiction in which it operates.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Katie Lazier
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.