Urgent Matters Bulletin
On March 15, 2020, Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz issued a Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Civil and Family Proceedings in response to the COVID-19 situation. The Notice, which applies to all Superior Court of Justice proceedings in Ontario, states that regular court operations have been suspended. As a result of the suspension, only certain, urgent matters are being heard by the court at this time.
The Notice stipulates that the following types of matters will continue to be heard during the suspension:
- Certain matters related to public health and safety;
- Certain family and child protection matters;
- Certain civil and commercial list matters that may result in “immediate and significant financial repercussions” if the matter is not heard; and
- “Any other matter that the Court deems necessary and appropriate to hear on an urgent basis.”
What matters are being heard?
We provide some examples of cases that the Court has determined to fall within the above types, such that they should be heard during the suspension.
- Matters with health and safety considerations: York Condominium Corporation No. 419 v Black, 2020 ONSC 2066 (dispute between a condo corporation and condo resident over continuing renovations to a condo unit, which required multiple tradespeople and third parties to attend at a building that housed a high number of senior citizens); Almeida v Morgan, 2020 ONSC 2192 (motion under the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 to allow a medical professional to administer treatment to Mr. Almeida pending Mr. Almeida’s appeal of a decision from the Consent and Capacity Board);
- Matters related to national politics: Karahalios v Conservative Party of Canada, 2020 ONSC 1820 (disqualification of candidacy for the Conservative Party of Canada);
- Matters related to privacy rights of minors: Rogerson v Havergal College, 2020 ONSC 2022 (public material filed with the Court contained private information about a minor, which was contrary to an order that had previously been made in the proceeding to protect the privacy of the children involved);
- Certain matters involving commercial or residential tenancy rights: Morguard Corporation v Corredor, 2020 ONSC 2166 (enforcement of a residential eviction order that was made prior to the suspension of court operations where the tenant was being evicted as a result of alleged criminal behaviour towards other residents); Slimmon-Weber v Racco, 2020 ONSC 2169 (ongoing commercial tenancy dispute that began in 2019; the hearing and Chambers appointment were adjourned as a result of the Notice to the Profession; respondent landlord took the position that the adjournments did not require him to stay any eviction proceedings);
- Matters involving property disputes: Saine v Niagara Escarpment Commission, 2020 ONSC 2151 (applicant seeking to appeal a finding that there is no jurisdiction to vary conditions of a development permit; the appeal process must be commenced prior to the expiry date of the permit, which was April 13, 2020; if the permit expires before the appeal process is commenced, the applicant would be forced to begin the entire process again, after having already dedicated over a decade and significant money to the process); Wang v 2426483 Ontario Limited, 2020 ONSC 2040 (dispute related to the upcoming closing of a pending real estate transaction); and
- Compliance with existing court orders: Hrvoic v Hrvoic, 2020 ONSC 1711 (party not complying with an order to repay money to a line of credit in the context of contentious civil and family proceedings); Morris v Onca, 2020 ONSC 1690 (judgment debtors ignoring court orders to repay funds to the judgment creditor).
Since the March 15 Notice, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has released various Notices and Orders related to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and court operations. A full list of the Notices and Orders issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, including ongoing updates and regional notices, can be found here.
Adrienne Boudreau, Sotos LLP
Adrienne is a partner at Sotos LLP. Her practice focuses on all areas of commercial litigation with an emphasis on franchise litigation. Adrienne can be reached directly at 416-572-7321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauren Baker, Sotos LLP
Lauren Baker is an articling student at Sotos LLP. Lauren joined Sotos after graduating from the Queen’s University Faculty of Law in June 2019.