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. 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 heard on February 7, 2020, the … Read More

Contract Arbitrator – Event Cancellation Dispute Arbitrator, Force Majeure Clause Dispute – Reasonable Fees and Good Availability – Gilbertson Davis LLP Arbitration and Mediation Chambers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAgency Arbitrator, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Brokerage Arbitrator, Business Arbitrator, Business Dispute Arbitrator, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Arbitrator, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Condo Arbitrator, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Employment Dispute Arbitrator, Energy Arbitrator, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Franchise Arbitrator, Infrastructure Arbitrator, International Commercial Arbitrator, International Joint Venture Arbitrator, Internet Arbitrator, Investment Arbitrator, IT Arbitrator, Joint Venture 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

Contract Dispute Arbitrator  An arbitrator, or an arbitration tribunal, obtains jurisdiction to adjudicate and decide a dispute from an agreement / contract which has been made by the parties to the arbitration. This jurisdiction is not typically provided by legislation, though there are exceptions, such as the arbitration provision deemed by statute to be included in a condominium declaration. Even if there is no arbitration clause in the contract or agreement made by the parties and a dispute arises, then parties to that contract may still agree to have their dispute determined by arbitration. The parties to a contract may prefer to have a dispute determined by arbitration, since it is presumptively a confidential process, it may be faster and less expensive than going to court, or they may wish to participate in the selection of the adjudicator. Common Contractual Issues Arbitrated – Cancellation and Force Majeure Clause  One of … Read More

Measures of Last Resort – The Benefits of Exit Provisions in Shareholder’s Agreements

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Corporate Disputes, Family Business Disputes, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Oppression Remedies, Sale of Business Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

The benefits of a shareholder’s agreement may not be fully considered when parties are intending to go into business together and become joint shareholders in a corporation. Perhaps the mood is optimistic and none of the participants anticipate that things might sour between them down the road. Sometimes corporations are formed absent such an agreement. However, among other benefits, these agreements become particularly useful in managing risk and guiding shareholders through governance issues and disputes that may arise, efficiently so as to minimize disruption to the corporation’s business. Absent a shareholder’s agreement, shareholders in a closely held corporation that cannot see eye-to-eye regarding the operation and path of the corporation, may become stuck in a deadlock where decision-making is effectively stifled due to a stalemate between them. Shareholder’s agreements can serve to provide mechanisms to address deadlock, protect the voice and rights of minority shareholders, provide a road map for … Read More

Legal Consequences of COVID-19 / Coronavirus on Commercial Contracts

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cross-Border Litigation, Distributors | Dealers, Fashion Industry, International Joint Venture Arbitrator, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Manufacturers | Re-Sellers, Marine | Maritime | Aviation, Sale of Goods, Textiles and Apparel0 Comments

Impact of COVID-19 / Coronovirus Events on International and Domestic Commercial Contracts  The reports from China show that COVID-19 / Coronavirus not only has a tragic impact on the lives of very many, but has already caused the consequential events of closure of manufacturing, halting exports and affecting transportation operations. This can be caused by forced movement of labour, government-ordered closure and / or state sanction and embargo, or the business decision to cease production. Interruption of Supply, Outsourcing and Transportation of Goods   This often has serious consequences for Canadian companies dependent upon foreign supply, outsourcing of manufacturing and the international carriage of goods. The central question is often whether or not the performance of a supply, outsourcing or transportation contract is legally suspended or excused because of the events surrounding the spread of COVID-19 / Coronavirus. Frustration | Impossibility  International trade and transportation contracts may not expressly refer to … Read More

Limitations in real estate agent’s opportunity is repudiation of contract

Fatima VieiraCommercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination0 Comments

Fatima Vieira B.A., M.A., LL.B. In Barresi and 6491243 Canada Inc. v. Jones Lang Lasalle Real Estate Services, 2019 ONCA 884  the Ontario Court of Appeal considered the test for repudiating a contract. Jones Lang Lasalle (“Lasalle”) was a real estate investment management company. Ryan Barresi (“Barresi”) was a real estate broker. Barresi and Lasalle entered into an agreement whereby Barresi was to be the Ottawa Practice Lead for investment property transactions. One year after entering into the contract, Lasalle advised Barresi that he could only pursue transactions in Ottawa up to a $10 million ceiling, even though the agreement imposed no such ceiling and transactions over $10 million would be exclusively available to another party, National Retail Investment Group (“NRIG”), which would involve Barresi only as Lasalle saw fit. The trial judge found that these two limitations undermined Barresi’s reason for entering into the contract with Lasalle, which was … Read More

Part Two – Timing is Everything in Real Estate Agreements of Purchase and Sale

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

I had written a previous blog on the “time is of the essence” clause in real estate agreements where it was discussed that the strict adherence to any agreed upon time limits was generally the case. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, Fortress Carlyle Peter St. Inc. v. Ricki’s Construction and Painting Inc., serves as a reminder that the “time is of the essence” clause is not absolute and unfettered, and there are preconditions that must be satisfied for a party to rely upon and insist on time being of the essence. The facts are not overly complicated in this case.  The respondent was a condominium developer in the process of acquiring properties for a proposed project in downtown Toronto.  The developer entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (“APS”) with the vendor to acquire the subject property.  Although the APS required the vendor to provide estoppel certificates five days prior … Read More

Partnership Disputes Between Professionals – Dentists, Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Architects and Engineers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Business Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Joint Venture Disputes, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professional Services0 Comments

Partnerships Professionals often carry on their professional practice as partners in a partnership or limited liability partnership. Partnerships can be created simply by conduct and the application of the Partnership Act or by a simple or complex partnership agreement. Joint Venture Contract – Fiduciary Duties? In other cases professionals associate in practice by participation in a contractual joint venture which, depending on the agreement and the circumstances, may or may not at law also be a partnership but, in any event, may attract the duties and obligations of partners, including fiduciary duties. Sharing Space Lastly, some professionals may consider that they are only sharing space with other professional and may be very surprised to find that the arrangement gave rise at law to unexpected obligations. Duty of Honest Performance The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew, though not a case about partnerships, nonetheless has a wide-ranging impact … Read More

Fork In the Road: Critical Considerations by Condominium Corporations in Anticipatory Failed Closings

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Contracts, Condo Construction, Condo Litigation, Contract Disputes, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

In 1179 Hunt Club Inc. v. Ottawa Medical Square Inc., 2019 ONCA 700, the purchasers, Ottawa Medical Square Group, entered into an Agreement for Purchase and Sale to purchase condominium units owned by the vendor, 1179 Hunt Club Inc. The value of the commercial condominium units in the Hunt Club Project was $5.6 million dollars. Five days before closing, the purchasers, sent a request to the vendor, requesting an extension of time as the purchasers had not yet finalized their arrangements for financing. Three days before closing, the vendor advised that it would insist on closing, and if the purchaser could not close, it would exercise its rights and remedies under the Agreement for Purchase and Sale. On the date of closing, the vendor learned that the Land Registry Office had made an error in assigning parcel identification numbers. Although this error was ameliorated later that day, this mishap, prevented … Read More

Can a Pre-Incorporation Contract Prevent the Forfeiture of a Deposit on the Failed Closing of a Property?

Gilbertson Davis LLPCommercial Contracts, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

In Benedetto v. 2453912 Ontario Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal considered whether a pre-incorporation contract could prevent the forfeiture of a deposit provided pursuant to an agreement of purchase of sale of real property. In this case, the purchaser signed an agreement for purchase and sale of real property, indicating that he was signing as a buyer “in trust for a company to be incorporated without any personal liabilities”. The purchaser then provided $100,000.00 as the deposit to secure the purchase of the property. The purchaser subsequently advised that he would not be closing on the transaction and sought the return of the deposit. The vendor refused and commenced civil proceedings resulting in a summary judgment motion, which was held in favour of the vendor. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the findings of the lower court and indicated that: A forfeited deposit does not constitute damages for breach … Read More

Court Stays Injunction Claim in Favour of Arbitration / Refuses to Consolidate Arbitration Proceedings Without Consent of All Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Insurance0 Comments

In Loan Away Inc. v. Western Life Assurance Company, 2018 ONSC 7229, the plaintiff had an agreement with the defendant by which the plaintiff sold the defendant’s insurance policies in return for payments by the defendant.  The defendant ceased making payments and the plaintiff commenced an action against the defendant for an injunction to require the defendant to make the payments to the plaintiff and to prevent the defendant from terminating the insurance policies that the plaintiff had sold on the defendant’s behalf. The defendant relied upon an arbitration clause in its agreement with the plaintiff to stay the action.  The plaintiff argued, among other things, that the claim should not be stayed because the arbitration clause contained arbitration clause contained an exception for requests for a temporary restraining order or other forms of injunctive relief. The plaintiff argued that its request for a permanent injunction fell under the category … Read More

Dominican Republic Vacation Claim Examined in Di Gregorio v. Sunwing Vacations Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Negligence, Summary Judgment, Travel & Tour Operators, Travel & Tourism0 Comments

In Di Gregorio v. Sunwing Vacations Inc., the appellants purchased a vacation package to attend the Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa through their travel agent, Sunwing Vacations Inc. (“Sunwing”). While on vacation, the balcony railing gave way resulting in the appellants sustaining injuries. The motion judge was found to have erred in not conducting a jurisdictional analysis pursuant to Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda. The Court of Appeal stated that the relevant connecting factor is that the claim pleaded was based on an Ontario contract. The alleged tortfeasors do not need to be party to the contract, as all that is required is that a “defendant’s conduct brings it within the scope of the contractual relationship and that the events that give rise to the claim flow from the contractual relationship” as stated in Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melancon LLP v. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. The Court of … Read More

When is Oral Evidence Required to Resolve Credibility Issues in Summary Judgment Motions?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in 2212886 Ontario Inc. v. Obsidian Group Inc., 2018 ONCA 670, involved the appeal of a partial summary judgment decision in a dispute between the franchisor and a franchisee of Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill.  In this case, the franchisee operated a Crabby Joe’s franchise for a year and a half prior to serving a notice of rescission of the franchise agreement on the franchisor. Claims The franchisee claimed that the disclosure document provided was materially deficient and it was entitled to rescind the franchise agreement within two years of execution of the franchise agreement under section 6(2) of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (“the Act”).   The franchisee claimed for rescission damages under section 6(6) of the Act and also damages for breach of contract and breach of the fair dealing obligations under the Act.  In response, the franchisor brought a counterclaim for a declaration that the franchise agreement was validly terminated and a … Read More

Entire Agreement Clause Upheld in Manorgate Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Construction | Builders, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Entire Agreement Clauses are meant to prevent negotiations that occurred prior to the contract being formed from influencing the Court’s interpretation of the terms set out in the final contract. In other words, past discussions are to have no bearing on the understanding of the contractual terms. In theory, a fully integrated agreement of this kind supplants any earlier oral or written agreements. There is competing jurisprudence in which Entire Agreement Clauses have been both effective and ineffective. However, Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners is a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision where an Entire Agreement Clause was effective. In Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the Motion Judge’s decision that the Entire Agreement Clause in the relevant agreement, regarding architectural consulting for a construction project, operated as a complete defence to the appellants’ claim of alleged negligent misrepresentation. The Entire Agreement Clause … Read More

Shareholders’ Remedies under the OBCA: An Overview (Part 2/2) 

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Oppression Remedies, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

When a shareholder’s rights are breached, there are a variety of legal remedies available under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (“OBCA”). For more information on shareholders’ rights, please click here to see part 1 of this post. Oppression Remedy It is first important to note that as per the Ontario Court of Appeal decision Maurice v. Alles, the standard two-year limitation period set out in the Limitations Act applies to oppression remedy claims. The “clock starts to run” when the oppressive conduct first began, meaning that individuals must not delay if they wish to pursue an oppression remedy. The oppression remedy under s. 248 of the OBCA is broad in nature, and there is a large amount of judicial discretion afforded in its application. The oppression remedy can be an especially strong tool in protecting minority shareholders. When the Court determines that there has been oppressive conduct, unfairly prejudicial conduct, or conduct that disregards the interests of any shareholder it may make an order to resolve the matter in a variety of ways. … Read More

Shareholders’ Rights under the OBCA: An Overview (Part 1/2) 

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (“OBCA”), shareholders of a corporation have a variety of rights. Outlined below are a few rights that all shareholders should be aware they possess. Please click here to see part 2 of this post on shareholders’ remedies. Voting Rights The board of directors, under s. 115 are ultimately responsible for managing or supervising the management of the business and affairs of a corporation. Major business decisions also involve the participation of the board of directors, though sales, leases, or exchanges of all or substantially all the property of the corporation that is not in the ordinary course of business requires the approval of shareholders (s. 184(3)). Shareholders also have voting rights that allow them to control the makeup of the board of directors (s. 119(4)), and also the ability to remove directors under s. 122(1) (though this is subject to exceptions under s. 120(f)). Shareholders have additional voting rights under … Read More