COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Are Closing Dates Extended Due to Construction Sites Closing?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Force Majeure, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Arbitrator, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On April 3, 2020, the Ontario government ordered that further non-essential businesses must close by April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. including closing down most construction sites in order to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The number of essential businesses was reduced from 74 to 44.  The list of essential businesses can be found here. Construction sites related to the healthcare sector, provincial infrastructure such as transit, and projects related to the production of ventilators and other products directly related to fighting COVID-19 were permitted to remain open.  Residential construction sites were permitted to remain open where: (i) a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhouses; (ii) an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums; or (iii) the work started before April 4, 2020. Given the expansive definition of essential residential construction sites, it appears that all existing residential construction sites are … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Varying child support or spousal support obligations

Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.Child Support, Coronavirus, Custody and Access, Family Law, Spousal Support0 Comments

Given the recent COVID-19 crisis, the circumstances of many individuals may have changed. As a result, spouses or parents may be looking to vary their child support or spousal support obligations. In Ontario, you can file for or change child or spousal support through the court, or by a written agreement. By Motion to Change Where a party applies to the court to change child or spousal support, the moving party i.e. the party who brings the application, must show that there has been a change in material circumstances.  Such material circumstances may include a reduction in income of the paying spouse, loss of employment or evidence of undue hardship. Spousal Support Once a court makes a spousal support order, either spouse may  bring a motion to change to decrease or increase the  quantum of support.  If there has been a change in material circumstances such as one spouse losing their job or the recipient … Read More

The Impact of Covid-19 / Coronavirus On Franchise Disclosure Obligations

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Interruption, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, COVID-19, Force Majeure, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Government Action, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

The Covid-19 / Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted social and economic life globally and here in Ontario. It is apparent that the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting closures and physical distancing measures implemented by various governments will have a considerable impact on investment decisions in the franchise context. In this blog we consider the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on current and shortly anticipated franchise disclosure obligations. The Crucial Role Of Franchise Disclosure The franchise disclosure obligations which arise during a franchise purchase or franchise renewal process are critical for both franchisees and franchisors. It provides crucial information to a franchisee so that they can make a fully informed investment decision, and sets the groundwork and expectations on behalf of the franchisor to ensure the relationship is off to a good start and lasts to the mutual benefit of both parties. Updating Franchise Disclosure With Covid-19 / Coronavirus Impact Considerations Franchisors who are … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Urgent Hearings for Enforcement Matters

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Creditors Rights, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Fraud Recovery0 Comments

Further to my blog posts in respect to scheduling urgent hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for commercial lease matters and real estate closings, an urgent hearing was recently granted in an enforcement matter involving a contempt hearing against a judgment debtor. In Morris v. Onca, 2020 ONSC 1805, the judgment creditor had obtained default judgment in November 2019 for repayment of funds obtained by fraud.  The judgment creditor took steps to enforce the default judgment, including conducting examinations in aid of execution, but the process was frustrated by the judgment debtor’s refusal to answer relevant questions and his failure to comply with court orders to produce documents.  The judgment debtor did not dispute the adjudged amount was owed to the judgment creditor but provided numerous excuses for his failure to pay the default judgment and to produce documents in accordance with court orders. The judgment creditor had previously … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: What Constitutes an Urgent Family Law Matter?

Kimberley WiltonCoronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Mobility Issues, Preservation Orders, Separation0 Comments

On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a Notice to the Profession advising that all scheduled family law hearings were adjourned until further notice. Similarly, as of March 20, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice adjourned all scheduled family law hearings until May 29, 2020.  Both courts continue to hear urgent and emergency family law matters. According to the March 15, 2020 Notice to the Profession, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will only hear urgent family law matters such as: requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent (e.g., a restraining order, other restrictions on contact between the parties or a party and a child, or exclusive possession of the home); urgent issues that must be determined relating to the well-being of a child including essential medical decisions or issues relating to the wrongful removal or retention of … Read More

COVID-19 – Why You Should Update Your Will

Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.Divorce, Separation Agreements, Wills and Estates0 Comments

During the COVID-19 crisis, individuals should take the time to review their affairs to ensure that their Wills accurately represent their current personal circumstances and wishes. When a marriage or common law relationship breaks down, parties often assume that this breakdown automatically results in the nullification of any relevant clause in their Will, however, this is simply not the case. Married Couples Where a former spouse of a divorced couple dies, leaving part or all of their estate to their former spouse, the Succession Law Reform Act automatically comes into force upon divorce to sever clauses in relation to the former spouse; the Will shall operate as if the former spouse predeceased the testator, unless a contrary intention is shown. If the spouses have separated, but not divorced, the separation has no impact on the Will and any of the estate left to such an individual will be inherited. Unless … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Urgent Hearings for Real Estate Closings

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Creditors Rights, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Following on my blog on scheduling urgent hearings for commercial lease matters, this blog is on the scheduling of an urgent hearing involving a real estate closing. In Ali v. Tariq, 2020 ONSC 1695, the applicant had sold her property and discovered that a writ of execution had been registered against her property during routine searches performed for the closing.  Apparently, her former father-in-law had obtained default judgment against her in small claims court and obtained a writ of execution at around the time of her divorce.  A writ of execution filed in the county or district in which the property is located will effectively prevent the sale of the property until the judgment is set aside or fully satisfied.  After the applicant’s offer to pay the sale proceeds into her lawyer’s trust account was rejected, the applicant sought an urgent hearing before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under … Read More

Remote Arbitration Hearings | Remote Court Hearings – Emerging Protocols for COVID-19 / Coronavirus

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Business Dispute Arbitrator, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-19, International Commercial Arbitrator, Marine Arbitrator0 Comments

“It is the duty of all the parties to seek to co-operate to ensure that a remote hearing is possible.” ~ Justice Teare  (Commercial Court, a Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, England and Wales) Protocols on the use of video conferencing in arbitration and court hearings are emerging: Remote Arbitration Hearings The Seoul Protocol on Video Conferencing in International Arbitration was drafted and discussed by a panel of arbitration practitioners in 2018, consisting of Kap-You (Kevin) Kim as moderator (Partner, Peter & Kim), Yu-Jin Tay (Partner, Mayer Brown), Ing Loong Yang (Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP) and SeungMin Lee (Partner, Shin & Kim), and has been revised to reflect comments from the Seoul International Dispute Resolution Center (released March 18, 2020). Remote Court Hearings  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Practice Directions and Notices regarding COVID-19 (updated March 31, 2020) has published the Notice Regarding Videoconference … Read More

Divorce and Separation: Who gets the family pet?

Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.Commercial, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Separation, Separation Agreements0 Comments

Upon separation or divorce, a contentious issue is often which party gets to keep the family pet. Despite furry friends often being just as important to the family as children, Ontario’s courts have refused to make custody orders in respect of family pets. Justice Timms in Warnica v Gering stated “Whether in the Family Court or otherwise, I do not believe that any court should be in the business of making custody orders for pets, disguised or otherwise…  Obviously, I acknowledge that pets are of great importance to human beings.  Strong bonds develop between them and the human beings that look after them.  To some people, the relationship with their pets takes on a significance exceeding that of any other.  They go to extraordinary lengths to preserve that relationship; even at a cost that some would say is disproportionate.  Some may consider them to be children; however, they are not children.” … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Alternatives to Family Court

Kimberley WiltonAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Arbitration, Child Support, Collaborative Family Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Family Law, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

As of March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice suspended all regular operations for an indefinite period. Similarly, as of March 20, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice suspended all regular operations until May 29, 2020. Both courts continue to hear urgent and emergency family law matters. Without access to the courts, family law litigants can still avail of a number of different options to resolve their family law disputes. Indeed, there are numerous forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). With consent, parties at any stage of litigation can agree to settle their issues outside of court with ADR. These processes can be a cheaper, faster, and less acrimonious way to settle family law disputes than traditional court litigation. Collaborative family law is an out-of-court resolution process which puts families first. With collaborative practice, parties work together, with their lawyers and other neutral professionals, such as family professionals … Read More

Covid-19 Pandemic Closures: Considerations For Commercial Tenants And Landlords

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Building | Property Management, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Force Majeure, Franchise | Licensing, Government Action, Injunction & Specific Performance, Insurance, Property Management, Real Estate Litigation, REIT Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

What can commercial tenants and landlords do to protect themselves from the impact of Covid-19 related closures on commercial lease obligations? Here are some tips for businesses who are in the difficult situation of having to deal with potential defaults on commercial rent obligations related to closures or reductions due to the Covid-19 situation. 1. Review The Lease Agreement Carefully For Potentially Relevant Clauses In Ontario, the commercial landlord-tenant relationship is governed by the Commercial Tenancies Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.7., (the “Act”) which outlines the relationship, rights and obligations between commercial landlords and tenants. However these relationships are heavily governed by the commercial lease agreement in place between the landlord and the tenant, which can take precedence over the Act based on the agreement of the parties. Review the Act and more importantly, review your commercial lease agreement carefully to appreciate whether the agreement contemplates the type of situation … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Short-term Rentals May Be Necessary and Important for Persons in Need of Self-isolation

Fatima VieiraCommercial Contracts, Condo Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-190 Comments

By Fatima Vieira, B.A., M.A., LL.B The province has enacted a declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public. The governments of Ontario and of Canada have also required anyone who has travelled outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days when they return. People who are self-isolating should not go to work, should stay home and avoid contact with others. However, the issue arises as to: can or should people who are self-isolating return to their homes if shared with other people if other options are available? Short-term rental accommodations could present a critical solution to those people who are not symptomatic but are self-isolating because they are required to as returning travelers from outside Canada. Short-term rental accommodations could also present a critical solution to those who are not symptomatic but are isolating, short-term, from others in their households who are symptomatic … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: How to Schedule an Urgent Civil or Commercial List Hearing

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a Notice to the Profession advising that all scheduled civil hearings were adjourned until further notice.  The Notice to the Profession provides a procedure to schedule urgent and time-sensitive motions and applications where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result without a hearing.  When motion or application materials are filed, by email to the appropriate courthouse, seeking an urgent hearing, the triage judge will determine whether or not the matter is urgent and should be scheduled for a hearing. There have been a few recent endorsements reported in respect to the scheduling of urgent commercial lease matters. Urgent Motion – Relief From Forfeiture In Oppong v. Desoro Holdings Inc., 2020 ONSC 1697, the applicant sought relief from forfeiture to set aside the landlord’s termination of the lease.  Although the application was brought promptly and scheduled to be … Read More

Nick Poon Comments on Frustration and Force Majeure Clauses for The Huffington Post

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Force Majeure, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, Travel & Tour Operators, Travel & Tourism0 Comments

Nick Poon was recently asked to comment on the doctrine of frustration and force majeure clauses in the context of travel refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Huffington Post article is found here: You Can Still Get a Refund for a Flight Cancellation During Coronavirus Pandemic. If you require legal advice and representation in respect to contract termination and cancellation, frustration of contract and force majeure clauses and/or travel and tourism, please contact us for an initial consultation.

Arbitration & Court Closure Due to COVID-19 / Coronavirus

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAgency Arbitrator, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Arbitration, Arbitrators, Brokerage Arbitrator, Business Arbitrator, Business Dispute Arbitrator, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Arbitrator, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Condo Arbitrator, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Employment Dispute Arbitrator, Energy Arbitrator, Franchise Arbitrator, Infrastructure Arbitrator, International Commercial Arbitrator, International Joint Venture Arbitrator, Internet Arbitrator, Investment Arbitrator, IT Arbitrator, Joint Venture Arbitrator, Labour Arbitrator, Licensing Arbitrator, Marine Arbitrator, Maritime Arbitrator, Partnership Arbitrator, Partnership Dispute Arbitrator, Real Estate Arbitrator, Reinsurance Arbitrator, Sale of Goods Arbitrator, Shareholder Arbitrator, Shareholder Dispute Arbitrator, Technology Arbitrator, Transportation Arbitrator0 Comments

Litigants and lawyers requiring timely resolution of disputes and who have no or limited access to the courts for trials or other hearings because of COVID-19 / Coronavirus related court closures, or for whom a public court-centered proceeding is inappropriate, may wish to consider arbitration as an alternative to litigation. In-person, video or teleconferencing determinations of arbitrated disputes at reasonable rates can resolve procedural and substantive issues more quickly than our courts in the current COVID-19  / Coronavirus related crisis, and very often in ordinary circumstances where congested dockets unfortunately preclude expedited case determinations. With the consent of the parties to litigation, and at virtually any stage of the litigation, an ad hoc arbitration can be arranged. Arbitration may be the forum best suited to the resolution of your dispute across a broad range of practice areas. Please see the Gilbertson Davis LLP Arbitration & Mediation Chambers webpage, and  other … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Can I take my child out of the province or out of the country?

Elisha Hale, LL.B (Hons) Dip.Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Separation0 Comments

Given the recent COVID-19 crisis which has caused significant upheaval for many families across the world, many parents may be considering the impact of COVID-19 on their ability to travel or relocate with their child. Relocating or travelling with a child following the breakdown of a relationship is a commonly contested issue as any relocation by one party may make access or visitation with the child difficult. The relocation may be due to a new job, moving closer to family following the separation, moving to a new school or simply for a change of scenery; regardless of the reason, parties should be aware of their rights, and the other parents rights, to move their child or children out of the province or to another country. The leading Supreme Court of Canada case on this issue is Gordon v. Goertz,  which developed a two-fold test to determine whether the move should … Read More

Cyberbullying in Family Law

Kimberley WiltonCustody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Spousal Support0 Comments

Cyber-bullying is a growing concern in family law litigation. Some provinces already have legislation to deal with such issues. While Ontario currently does not, in recent years Ontario courts have recognized new common law remedies to address these issues. In Yenovkian v. Gulian, 2019 ONSC 7279, Justice Kristjanson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recognized the act of publicly placing a person in a false light as a new cause of action under the tort of invasion of privacy. Yenovkian involved an extremely acrimonious separation and custody dispute involving two children, one of whom has special needs. Shortly after separating in 2016, the Respondent, Ms. Gulian, took the parties children to England and refused to return to Ontario. The Applicant, Mr. Yenovkian, engaged in a cyberbullying campaign spanning several years against his estranged wife. This campaign included videotaping court-ordered access visits with the children, without the children’s knowledge and … Read More