The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Your legal circumstances are important to us.
These are SullivanLaw’s tips on what legal services may be available to you at this time.
SullivanLaw is Available to Assist You
The Ontario government has designated law firms as an essential service during this state of emergency. SullivanLaw is pleased to assist you with any legal matters as we work remotely, and continue to be available by email and telephone. The following information details the legal services available during these unprecedented times.
Court-Ordered Extension of Deadlines and Time Limits
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has passed a blanket order affecting all civil and family matters to pause statutory and regulatory deadlines under its jurisdiction. It is backdated to March 16, 2020 when all deadlines were postponed. This means that a time defined in a statute or the rules of court to take a step, file an action, serve a document, or set the matter down for trial is suspended until further notice.
This does not affect court-ordered deadlines which still have to be respected.
Construction Lien Limitations
On April 9, 2020, the Ontario Government revoked the suspension of limitations under the Construction Act (formerly known as the Constructions Lien Act). Deadlines are strict for construction matters – a lien from the last date of supply, to register a lien, to perfect a lien (start an action), to the date to set a matter down for trial. Service deadlines will be affected as well. Deadlines and limitations are re-started as of April 16, 2020.
For example, if you had 30 days to register a lien on March 15, you have 30 days from April 16 to register that lien. Don’t cut it close. Get liens registered ASAP.
Only Emergency Matters Heard
Access to the courts remains intact but only urgent matters can be heard at the moment. As important as something may be to a client, the Court has a very restricted definition of an emergency. However, there has been some indication that more matters will be considered in mid to late April. All court hearings have been put off by a month or more.
Matters Without Time Limits or Deadlines
SullivanLaw can begin preparing matters without a deadline, like drafting an family law court Answer or civil law Defence, considering a lawsuit, making an offer to settle, or preparing for the next step like a motion or case conference. Other out-of-court steps can be taken, like discoveries and mediation, but the logistics of conducting those are challenging given social distancing.
Wills and Powers of Attorney (POA)
On April 7, 2020, the Government of Ontario passed temporary regulations allowing witnessing of a Will by video. Some conditions apply. If you want to discuss your Will or powers of attorney, there is no bad time to get those updated.
If you or a friend, co-worker, or family member has a legal concern, please contact us to discuss.
Rebecca at (613) 730-8865 ext. 16 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Timothy at (613) 730-8865 ext. 15 or by email: email@example.com