Ontario Bans Commercial Evictions During COVID-19: Seven Things You Need to Know

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

As predicted in our previous blog, B.C. Bans Evictions if Commercial Landlords Fail to Apply to CECRA: A Similar Ban Coming to Ontario?, the Ontario Government announced yesterday that it had passed legislation to protect commercial tenants from evictions and having their assets seized by their landlord during COVID-19. After British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan took steps in the last two weeks to protect small business tenants from landlords that choose not to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, Ontario Premier Doug Ford finally followed through on his promise to protect small business tenants during COVID-19. On June 18, 2020, Bill 192,  Protecting Small Business Act, 2020 (the “Act”) received Royal Assent, and officially amended the Commercial Tenancies Act to prohibit landlords, that are or would be eligible to receive assistance under the CECRA program, from evicting tenants or exercising distress remedies in the period from … Read More

Toronto Debt Recovery Lawyers | Enforcement of Judgment Lawyers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCivil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Finance Litigation, Fraud Recovery, Gift Law, Lenders | Borrowers, Loan and Guarantee, Promissory Note Claims0 Comments

Domestic and, US and Other Foreign Debt, Judgments and Awards We are often consulted or retained in connection with recovery of large local debt or foreign debt, including casino debt, or to seek recognition  and enforcement in Ontario, Canada, of judgments, orders, or arbitration awards obtained in Ontario, other provinces of Canada, US and other foreign jurisdictions. We are sometimes retained to work with the assistance of lawyers practicing debt recovery in other jurisdictions, including, those located offshore. Claims on Loan Guarantee We can advise and represent those claiming payment on a guarantee, and those named as guarantor of a loan. Loan or Gift? | Loan or Investment? Disputes sometimes arise when either a payment advanced or transfer is alleged to be a loan rather than a gift, or alleged to a loan rather than an investment, or vice-versa. We have relevant experience in both domestic and cross-border litigation. Injunctions and Other … Read More

B.C. Bans Evictions if Commercial Landlords Fail to Apply to CECRA: A Similar Ban Coming to Ontario?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Real Estate Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Although the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) opened for applications last week, complaints about the program have continued from both small business tenants and commercial landlords. Small business tenants have complained that landlords continue to refuse to apply to CECRA, the eligibility requirement for a revenue loss of at least 70 percent was too high and the number of months of relief should be expanded.  Today, Ontario extended the state of emergency until June 30, 2020 although Premier Doug Ford stressed that the gradual and safe re-opening of the economy would continue.  It is unlikely most eligible tenants will be able to make their full rent payment on July 1, 2020, even if they receive rent relief for the months of April, May and June, 2020 under CECRA.  Landlords have complained that the application process is too confusing, costly, time-consuming and risky.  Under CECRA, landlords are required complete … Read More

Commercial Leases and Relief From Forfeiture: A Second Chance For Tenants During COVID-19?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Real Estate Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Today is the first day landlords can apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) as reported in our blog last week entitled COVID-19 | Ontario-Canada Emergency Rent Assistance Program – Part 2. Although commercial rent relief is now finally available for the months of April, May and June 2020, it has been over two months since non-essential businesses in Ontario were required to close.  The gradual re-opening of some non-essential businesses, under strict guidelines, was only announced over the last few weeks.  According to a recent survey by CFIB, 48% of Ontario small businesses suffered a drop in revenue of 70% or more, and 77% of Ontario small businesses suffered a drop in revenue of 30% or more.  It is highly unlikely that these small businesses will survive the COVID-19 pandemic without further assistance. In addition, it has been widely reported that some commercial landlords will not … Read More

COVID-19 | Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program – Part 2

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Further to our blog entitled COVID-19 | Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, CMHC has finally released further details about the OCECRA program including the opening date of the applications portal on May 25, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. EST. Amidst reports that many landlords were refusing to apply for the OCECRA program, Premier Doug Ford pleaded with landlords to participate in the OCECRA program, stating: “It is not going to be forever.  It is going to be for a few months.  Help people out.  You have an obligation to do that as a landlord”.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided a more business-oriented argument for landlords to participate in the OCECRA program, stating: “With many people discovering that we can work from home … there may be a lot of vacancies in commercial buildings over the coming months and years.  Who knows exactly what the post-pandemic world will look like exactly?”. … Read More

A Primer on Using Electronic Signatures in the Age of COVID-19

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Internet | Technology0 Comments

Although Ontario is currently taking steps to gradually re-open the economy, it is expected that physical and social distancing measures will remain in effect for the foreseeable future (or at least until a vaccine is developed). If legal professionals, companies and individuals were not already using electronic signatures to conduct business prior to COVID-19, this may be an opportune time to consider switching from in-person signing and delivery of paper documents to remote signing of electronic documents.  Electronic signatures are recognized as legally binding, provided certain requirements are met, and can be a more convenient and cost-efficient way to conduct business.  Electronic signature software such as DocuSign and Adobe Sign are popular. In Ontario, the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 17 (the “Act”) governs the use and legal validity of electronic signatures.  The Act expressly provides that a legal requirement that a document be signed or endorsed is … Read More

COVID-19 | Ontario Announces More Businesses to Reopen During First Stage

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Following on our previous blog last week entitled COVID-19 | Ontario Allows More Businesses To Reopen Soon, the Ontario government announced today plans for stage 1 to reopen the province, including allowing more businesses to reopen and/or relaxing restrictions on the delivery of goods and services. While the reopening of more businesses is welcome news after eight weeks in quarantine, Premier Doug Ford warned that individuals must still continue to practice social and physical distancing, and businesses should only reopen if they are ready to comply with the strict public health guidelines.  We cannot risk moving one step forward, but moving two steps back. The following is a list of some businesses that may reopen or expand their services on the following dates: May 16, 2020  Golf courses may open to the public but clubhouses only for washroom access and restaurants only for take-out (previously, golf courses could only prepare … Read More

Confidentiality, Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation Clauses In Contracts

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Breach of Confidentiality Clause, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Disputes, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Contracts, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Confidentiality Agreement, Confidentiality Clause, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Injunction & Specific Performance, Joint Venture Disputes, Management Contracts, Mareva Injunction, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Norwich Order, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Sale of Business Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation clauses often show up in a variety of business contracts including employment and executive contracts, shareholder, and director agreements, as well as, independent contractor agreements, joint venture agreements and mergers, to name a few. A question that must be considered by contracting parties to such agreements is: What is the enforceability of these types of restrictive covenants? This question particularly becomes important when parties may part ways and a breach of the clauses is suspected or confirmed. These clauses are premised on the assumption that the relationship between the parties will result in the sharing of proprietary and sensitive business knowledge, contacts and relationships related to the operations of a business, which the company seeks to protect, particularly once the relationship between the parties ends. Non-competition clauses usually restrict one’s ability to engage in a competing business. Non-solicitation clauses prohibit one from soliciting stakeholders and contacts … Read More

Corporate Governance Considerations During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Interruption, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, By-laws, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Coronavirus, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, COVID-19, Derivative Actions, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Oppression Remedies, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Sale of Business Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Corporate governance issues are top of mind for directors and businesses who are attempting to navigate through the Covid-19 Pandemic related closures and emergency measures. Boards of Directors still need to operate and make decisions in the best interests of the corporation, and this can involve tough decisions, particularly where there is little guidance as to how measures to lift Covid-19 related restrictions will play out. By example, while it may be in the best interest of investors and shareholders that the Board act to lay off employees in the short term, the impact of staff shortages when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted may pose it’s own challenges. Many businesses must consider how to hold governance meetings during Covid-19 times. On March 30, 2020, Ontario passed an Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), (Ontario Regulation 107/20) entitled “Meetings for Corporations” making temporary changes to the Business Corporations … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Rent Relief for Small Businesses Is Coming

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

On April 16, 2020, the Federal government announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program to assist small businesses with their rent payments during the COVID-19 crisis. The CECRA program will provide loans and/or forgiveable loans to commercial property owners who will be expected to pass on the benefit to small businesses by lowering or forgoing rent for April (retroactively), May and June 2020.  Further details of the program are expected to be released soon and the program will be administered by the provincial and territorial governments. Although the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had issued an Order on March 19, 2020 suspending the eviction of residents from their homes (unless ordered otherwise under an urgent motion), there was no similar protection against evictions for commercial tenants which included many small business owners. Commercial rent payments are typically the second largest operating expense for most small businesses after payroll … Read More

Small Business Relief Resources During COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Lending, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Creditors Rights, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Distribution Agreements, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Force Majeure, Franchise | Licensing, Government Action, Loan and Guarantee, Mortgage Enforcement, Mortgage Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

On April 14, 2020, the Ontario legislature passed a bill during an emergency sitting to extend the state of emergency to May 12, 2020. The state of emergency in Ontario was initially declared on March 17, 2020, and subsequently extended to April 14, 2020.  Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, any further extensions must be passed by the legislature, and can only be extended for additional periods of no more than 28 days.  On May 12, 2020, the state of emergency was extended to June 2, 2020 (Updated: May 12, 2020). Although the extension of the state of emergency does not automatically apply to individual orders such as the closure of non-essential businesses, it is expected the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses will be extended as well to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, many small businesses (deemed essential) have voluntarily closed due to safety concerns for their … 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 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

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