Is it a Gift or a Loan?

Josef FinkelCivil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Gift Law0 Comments

Have you loaned money to a friend or relative who now refuses to repay you and alleges that the loan was actually a gift? Or are you on the other side of this problem wherein your friend or relative gifted you a sum of money a while ago but is now demanding repayment? These issues come up most often in the private sphere where parties to a transaction do not habitually document all of their ventures. Nevertheless, verbal loan or gift agreements of this sort are still enforceable. Litigation involving a disagreement about whether a transaction was a loan or a gift is typically commenced by the transferor (i.e. the person who has transferred the funds) who claims that the transfer was a loan and not a gift. If you require assistance in either commencing such a claim in the Superior Court of Justice or defending against same, we have … Read More

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

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

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

COVID-19 | Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program

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

On April 16, 2020, the Federal government announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) but could not provide further details because discussions with the provinces and territories were required for the administration and implementation of the program. Today, the Ontario government announced the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) and provided further details on the eligibility requirements and the terms of the forgiveable loan.  The OCECRA is expected to be operational in mid-May 2020, and will provide commercial rent relief for the months of April and May (retroactively) and June 2020. We summarize the OCECRA as follows: Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program – Updated May 7, 2020 What is the purpose of OCECRA?  To provide relief to landlords and small business tenants affected by COVID-19 by providing forgivable loans to landlords to cover 50% of the gross monthly rent for April, May and June 2020. Who … Read More

Ontario Extends Mandatory Closure of Non-Essential Businesses

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Dispute Arbitrator, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Creditors Rights, Employment, Franchise Law0 Comments

On April 23, 2020, the Ontario government announced that all emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, including the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses, have been extended until May 19, 2020 (Updated: May 7, 2020). A list of the extended orders and the current revocation dates are found here. Although the closure of non-essential businesses is necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses have been closed for over a month and will be closed for at least another two week period with no or very minimal revenue coming in.  A survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) indicated that 40% of Canadian small businesses were worried the pandemic would force them to permanently close.  These small businesses, which form the backbone of the economy, are unlikely to survive without further assistance from the federal, provincial and municipal governments and/or cooperation from landlords, … Read More

Ontario Courts Suspend Civil Jury Trials Due to COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Arbitration, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Condo Litigation, Construction Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Family Law, Force Majeure, Franchise Law, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On April 20, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a Notice to the Profession, Public, Accused Persons and the Media Regarding the Suspension of Criminal and Civil Jury Trials to advise that criminal and civil jury trials will be suspended until September, 2020, at the earliest. Since March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular operations, including adjourning all civil matters except: (a) civil motions and applications deemed to be urgent and time-sensitive by the court; (b) outstanding warrants issued in relation to a Small Claims Court or Superior Court civil proceeding; and (c) the following expanded civil matters, subject to each region’s notice and effective April 6, 2020: (i) pre-trial conferences that were cancelled between March 16 and May 31, 2020, and to be held for the purpose of settlement; (ii) Rule 7 motions or applications for approval … 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

Toronto COVID-19 / Coronavirus Lawyers and Legal Services

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-190 Comments

COVID-19 Practice Group In the rapidly evolving pandemic, the lawyers at Gilbertson Davis LLP have promptly published blogs and other online content concerning the effects of COVID-19 on matters within our respective practice areas. COVID-19 Litigation and Arbitration Resources  These are conveniently indexed and accessible through our COVID-19 webpage. If your concern relates to: Contracts and COVID-19 Event Cancellation Due to COVID-19 Condo Law and COVID-19 Family Law and COVID-19 Real Estate | Commercial Leasing and COVID-19 Construction and COVID-19 Wills and Estates – Coronavirus COVID-19 and the Courts Arbitration During the Pandemic you may find Coronavirus / Covid-19 Litigation & Arbitration Resource here. Contact Gilbertson Davis LLP If you have enquiries or require legal advice or representation concerning events arising from the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic, please contact the Intake Coordinator at Gilbertson Davis LLP at 416 979 2020, ext 223, by email info@gilbertsondavis.com, or though the Contact Us … 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

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

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: 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