Ontario’s new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017 (the “ICAA”) came into force on March 22, 2017.
The new ICAA contains a number of changes from its predecessor, including:
- Adoption of the the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (also known as the “New York Arbitration Convention”). Essentially, Ontario has confirmed that it will recognize and enforce an arbitral award made in a state which is party to the Convention.
- Changes to the limitation period in which a proceeding must be commenced to enforce an arbitral award. Both the ICAA and the Ontario domestic Arbitration Act, 1991 now provide for a 10 year limitation period to commence a proceeding to enforce an arbitration award. (The ICAA previously provided for a two year limitation period.)
- Adoption of the 2006 amendments to the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on 21 June 1985 (the “2006 Model Law”). The 2006 Model Law provides, among other things, that:
- An arbitral tribunal may grant interim measures to preserve the status quo, prevent harm or prejudice, preserve assets or preserve evidence;
- An interim measure shall be recognized and enforced by the Ontario Courts, regardless of where the interim measure was issued;
- A party may seek a preliminary order from an arbitral tribunal without notice to the other party (also known as an ex parte order);
- The Ontario court has the same power to issue an interim measure in relation to arbitration proceedings as it has in relation to court proceedings.