We have created this page to provide resources on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and assist our community in addressing the risks posed by this crisis. For legal advice or support, please send a detailed request here and we will be in contact with you as soon as possible.
What We’re Doing
We are here to serve you, and sincerely appreciate your understanding in rescheduling any appointments to visit our offices and in following guidelines to minimize in person meetings.
The provision of legal services is an essential business under the current provincial directive. We are grateful for this, and for the continued ability to be able to provide our community with timely legal guidance and support.
Our office will remain open so long as it is permitted by government authorities and safe to do so. The safety of our employees, clients, and everyone in our community is our top priority and concern.
Please know that we have been proactively limiting in-person client meetings and employing our existing and enhanced technology for video and teleconferencing to facilitate meetings. Our lawyers are responding to emails and calls in real time, as contacted, and can work with you to communicate and transact as works best for everyone. Documents delivered to our office will be received and quarantined for a safe period before being opened. Our staff and lawyers are equipped to work remotely and we will be able to serve your business and legal needs with continued service should a physical office closure become necessary.
The Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice have suspended operations effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and until further notice. All criminal, family and civil matters scheduled to be heard are adjourned, with limited exceptions for urgent matters. Various administrative tribunals have followed suit and are limiting adjudication. Where procedural rules or court orders require the regular filing of documents during this emergency period, and it becomes impossible to file at the courthouse or the courthouse is believed to be unsafe, parties can expect the Court to grant extensions of time once the Court’s normal operations resume. Parties must still comply with orders and rules requiring the service or delivery of documents as between parties. In the event that courthouses become closed or are inaccessible due to safety concerns, and to preserve limitation periods under the Limitations Act, there continues to be ability to file claims. Cunningham Swan will ensure that all matters effected by the suspension are addressed appropriately. Our litigation lawyers are closely monitoring the evolving situation and will ensure continuing deadlines are met.
Criminal or civil jury selection and jury trials scheduled to be heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice are suspended until at least September 2020.
Effective April 6, 2020, most Court locations will begin to hear a limited range of additional matters, beyond “urgent” matters. Click the link above to review the complete list.
Justices Trousdale, Tranmer, and Mew issued a Notice to the Profession and Parties for the City of Kingston and Counties of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington outlining the plan for anticipated return to operations for the Superior Court of Justice at Kingston and Napanee. Kingston and Napanee Courts planning for a June 2020 resumption.
The unprecedented COVID-19 response continues to impact Ontario courts and tribunals, whose operations were suspended on March 16, 2020. We will continue to update the blog linked above with new information on the Ontario courts as things progress.
The Government of Ontario announced that it will be allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen May 4th as long as they comply with strict public health measures.
In this post, we outline the general purposes, benefits (for both lenders and borrowers), key provisions, risks and pitfalls of forbearance agreements.
Any business that is not included on the updated list is required to close its physical location by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2020.
As part of the BCAP suite of financial assistance programs for businesses, two main streams of emergency business loans are available. Click the link above for more details.
The closure order does not prevent a non-essential business from operating online, by telephone or by mail/delivery, or from operating if its employees can work remotely.
All businesses that are not listed under one or more of the above-referenced categories in the Regulation are required to close
As of March 27, 2020, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) has announced that although it remains open, clients should expect significant delays in all CIPO services.
What do you do if your contract does not have a force majeure clause and one party wants to avoid further contractual performance? In Ontario, the equitable doctrine of frustration may apply to relieve a party from further contractual obligations.
What happens when your business or one of the businesses you receive goods or services from can no longer perform under contract? A force majeure clause in your contract may be invoked as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to excuse non-performance of contractual obligations, but must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Labour & Employment Support
The CEWS application window will open on Monday, April 27 at 6:00 am. You can apply using your CRA My Business Account or, alternatively, you can apply using a separate online application form that will be available.
We have provided a summary of the various OMERs plan provisions that may be applicable.
Over the past few weeks, the Ontario government has issued Regulations under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
The Prime Minister has announced coming changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, new benefits for low-income essential workers, and additional financial supports for small businesses.
On April 11, 2020, the federal government passed legislation entitled A Second Act Respecting Certain Measures in Response to COVID-19 to create the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”).
Information on eligibility requirements, functionality, and subsidies for both the The Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers and The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Review of the Prime Minister’s announcement on April 8th, 2020 regarding changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy,the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and Federal Work Sharing Agreements.
April 1st update provided by Finance Minister Bill Morneau regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, as well as some additional details about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
March 27th: Information on leaves, lay-offs and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Employers are wondering how to proceed with their employees during COVID-19. We created an interactive guide to help you do exactly that. Click the link above to see our detailed decision tree.
Employers are wondering how to proceed with their employees in both the short-term and long-term. We have outlined best practices for your convenience- click the link above to learn more.
On April 14, 2020, the Coronavirus Support and Protection Act, 2020 was passed which allowed for certain regulations to be created under the Planning Act while also amending the Development Charges Act, 1997 (“DCA”).
The Province has confirmed our earlier interpretation of Regulation 73/20 – all limitation periods in the Planning Act are effectively suspended.
The Province passed Bill 187 to allow electronic participation in council, board and committee meetings.
Contractors and owners should be aware that the suspension of the courts in Ontario has not otherwise impacted limitation periods in construction disputes.
Family Court Judges in Ontario are increasingly expressing concern over parents who fail to take the COVID-19 protocols seriously and are putting increasingly harsh Orders in place to manage it.
Carolyn Shelley and Lesley Kendall, who are qualified mediators, arbitrators and parenting coordinators, are equipped to offer a complete range of virtual and online Alternative Dispute Resolution options.
The process of separating from a spouse/partner can be an incredibly difficult time. For many of these individuals, the onset of COVID-19, and the collective social and physical distancing efforts the world has undertaken may feel like an insurmountable barrier to moving forward. But, for most separations, it need not be.
To protect the health and safety of court staff and users, the Courts in Ontario have suspended all regular operations. The Courts will only hear urgent family law matters, but the decision of what is urgent is left to the judges.
COVID-19 is posing many challenges currently. Those challenges are amplified when trying to co-parent children.
COVID-19 Online Self Assessment
How to self-isolate properly
How to wash your hands
EI Sickness Benefit application page
Work Sharing Program application for employers
Increased Canada Child Benefit information