Corona Divorce: Worldwide Increase in Divorce Rates and Inquiries After Coronavirus Quarantine

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Child Support, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Marriage Contracts, Separation, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

Divorce rates and inquiries have dramatically increased across the world because of lockdowns brought by governments intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. The stress of the pandemic, coupled with being confined in close quarters for weeks, added financial worries and increased childcare responsibilities are thought to be behind this increase. Back in March, Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, one of the UK’s most eminent family law lawyers told her peers at Westminister: “The prediction amongst divorce lawyers is that following self-imposed confinement it is very likely that the divorce rate will rise.” She further noted: “”One only has to imagine what it’s going to be like when families are sealed in a property for a long period of time.” As China emerged from lockdown in March, numerous cities across China reported large increases in divorce filings. Specific numbers are not available as China only releases statistics on divorces annually. Saudi … 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

Five Reasons Why You Should Choose Collaborative Divorce

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Child Support, Collaborative Family Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Marriage Contracts, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

One: It’s Faster Traditional litigation can be a lengthy, time-consuming process, and it can take years to reach a resolution. With litigation, the courts decide when and how a matter moves forward. Even at the best of times, many courts have a large backlog. Since mid-March 2020, the courts in Ontario have suspended regular operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the courts have continued to hear emergency matters and have recently expanded their scope of operations, they will not resume normal operations until July 6, 2020 at the earliest. There inevitably will be a large backlog when the courts reopen. Most collaborative professionals, along with mediators and arbitrators, continue to work during the pandemic by offering their services virtually. Two: It’s More Economical Collaborative divorce often costs less than going to court. The court process is expensive, and its costs are unpredictable. Traditional litigation requires a lot of preparation, … 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

The Impact of COVID-19 / Coronavirus on Family Law

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Child Support, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Interjurisdictional Disputes, Mobility Issues, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

The current COVID-19 pandemic has dominated our working and private lives. It is not surprising that the pandemic has greatly impacted all areas of family law and has created unprecedented challenges for separated parents. Self-isolation and social distancing orders have presented a host of challenges for parents dealing with access and parenting arrangements. Many parents have lost jobs or suffered other economic losses during the pandemic which has left them unable to fulfill their current support obligations. An increase in domestic violence has been another unfortunate result of the pandemic, which may increase the need for restraining orders and peace bonds. While the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice have suspended regular operations, they continue to hear urgent family law matters. The closure of the courts highlights the need for cooperation between parents and their counsel during these times. At Gilbertson Davis LLP, we have … 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

COVID-19 | Ontario Allows More Businesses To Reopen Soon

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Leasing, Construction | Builders, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Creditors Rights, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Force Majeure, Franchise Law, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

Following on the Ontario government’s announcement last week allowing a select few businesses to re-open earlier this week, there was another announcement yesterday allowing more businesses to re-open under the same strict public and health safety guidelines. The following is a list of businesses that may re-open, and their scheduled re-opening dates over the next week: May 8, 2020:  Garden centres and nurseries can re-open for in-store payment and purchases (previously, these businesses could only offer curbside pick-up and delivery); May 9, 2020:  Hardware stores and safety supply stores can re-open for in-store payment and purchases (previously, these businesses could only offer curbside pick-up and delivery);  May 11, 2020:  Retail stores with street entrances can re-open but they can only offer curbside pick-up and delivery (previously, non-essential businesses were required to be closed). Small businesses that are planning to re-open are reminded to follow public and health safety guidelines including The … Read More

Are Examinations by Video Conference the “New Normal” During COVID-19?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Investment | Financial Services, Investment Fraud, Professional Liability, Securities Fraud, Securities Litigation0 Comments

On March 17, 2020, Ontario declared a State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ushered in a new era of physical and social distancing rules.  Individuals are required to maintain a minimum distance of two metres from any other person who is not a member of the same household.  Gatherings of more than five people are banned unless they are members of a single household. Since March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular operations, including hearings for civil matters except urgent and time-sensitive motions and applications and other limited matters such as consent motions in writing.  Most of these hearings are conducted in writing, or remotely by telephone or video conference, due to physical and social distancing rules.  In-person hearings would only be granted in very limited circumstances. Although the Court may be closed for the time being, civil litigants and their … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Expects to Further Expand the Scope of Matters to be Heard Virtually

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Collaborative Family Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Hague Conventions, Separation0 Comments

On May 5, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons and the Media advising of the Continued Suspension of in-court matters to July 6, 2020. This Notice further advised the Superior Court will continue to hear matters virtually and expects to shortly further expand the scope of matters that will be heard virtually. 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. However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice continued to 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 … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Access to children with additional health risks

Gilbertson Davis LLPCOVID-19, Custody and Access, Mobility Issues, Separation0 Comments

Sharing custody of a child or children can be difficult at the best of times. With the additional stress of the COVID-19 crisis, shared custody and access adds further strain to this relationship. Parents are forced to make difficult decisions about their child’s wellbeing  while balancing parenting arrangements often ordered by the courts, and additional challenges posed by mandatory public health protocols. Parents with children who have additional needs or are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 are likely to face additional difficulty during this crisis with the court becoming involved where parties cannot resolve their conflicting views. Many parents have sought to suspend access or seek sole custody of their child during the crisis, citing fears for their child’s health. The onus is on the party seeking to restrict access to provide specific evidence or examples of behaviour or plans by the other party that are inconsistent with … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Urgent Hearings in Small Claims Court

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

Since March 16, 2020, all hearings in the Ontario Small Claims Court have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Although the Superior Court of Justice has had procedures in place to bring an urgent civil or commercial list hearing since March 15, 2020, the Small Claims Court was left without the ability to hear urgent motions and garnishment hearings until today. Today, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice released the updated Notice Regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations to outline the procedure to request an urgent hearing in Small Claims Court and to provide guidance on the type of matters a judge may find to be urgent.  Urgent  hearings may include: Cases in which a judgment debtor has an outstanding warrant for arrest issued in relation to a Small Claims Court proceeding; or Time-sensitive cases that would result in immediate and serious financial hardship … Read More

COVID-19 | Ontario to Permit Some Businesses to Reopen on May 4

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Leasing, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Force Majeure, Government Action, Loan and Guarantee, Mortgage Enforcement, Mortgage Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

On May 1, 2020, the Ontario government announced that a select few businesses will be allowed to re-open on Monday, May 4, 2020 but with strict public health and safety measures in place.  Most of these businesses are seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. This announcement follows from the release earlier this week of the three-staged Framework for Reopening our Province which included stage 1 to reopen certain Ontario businesses gradually under strict guidelines in order to allow the economy to return to some sense of normalcy while continuing to safeguard the public and limit health risks. The following is the list of businesses that may be re-opened on May 4, 2020: Garden centres and nurseries – but they are restricted to alternative methods of sale such as curbside pickup and delivery; Lawn care services and landscaping services; Essential construction projects including shipping and logistics; broadband, telecommunications and digital … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus and Family Law: Parenting Arrangements when Parents are Essential Workers

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Mobility Issues, Separation0 Comments

Co-parenting can be challenging during the best of times. Co-parenting during a pandemic presents a host of additional challenges. Today, parents are placed in the challenging position of having to continue to abide by their current parenting arrangements, ensuring the health and safety of their children and family, while also following public health directives. It is not surprising that during this pandemic, parents who are front-line or essential workers may face additional challenges with their parenting arrangements. Out of concern that a parent who is an essential or front-line worker may place the children at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, the other parent may seek to limit or suspend that parent’s access to the children. Fortunately, the courts have released several decisions during the past month which have dealt with this very issue and which provide some guidance for parents facing similar challenges. In A.A. v R.R., … Read More

COVID – 19 / Coronavirus – Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds

Gilbertson Davis LLPCoronavirus, COVID-19, Divorce, Family Law, Separation0 Comments

During the COVID-19 crisis, many families may be struggling with the strict self-isolating protocols put in place as a result of the global pandemic. However, individuals who are being subjected to emotional or physical abuse should be aware of their options both during and after the COVID-19 crisis to ensure both their and their children’s safety. 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 a child; dire issues regarding the parties’ financial … Read More

A Guide to Urgent Residential Eviction Orders and Enforcement During COVID-19

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Building | Property Management, Civil Litigation, Commercial Leasing, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On March 19, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice suspended the eviction of residents from their homes, pursuant to eviction orders issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board or writs of possession, during the COVID-19 pandemic, unless ordered otherwise in an urgent motion. On the same day, the Landlord and Tenant Board suspended all hearings related to eviction applications and suspended the issuance of eviction orders, unless the matter related to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or a serious safety threat. Urgent Eviction Order or Urgent Enforcement? 1.  If the landlord requires an urgent eviction order, then the landlord should proceed to file an urgent application with the Landlord and Tenant Board. 2.  If the landlord already has an eviction order (or writ of possession) and requires urgent enforcement, then an urgent motion should be made to the Superior Court of Justice under Rule 60.17 of … Read More