March 15, 2021 – 6:13 PM -Small Claims Court update & New Court of Appeal Consolidated Practice Direction

Chief Justice Morawetz’s Consolidated Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding the Small Claims Court was updated today.

Effective today:

•            there is no more date restriction on settlement conference requests;

•            parties may now request any type of motion on notice to other parties; and

•            some filing requirements have been clarified.

AND

STAKEHOLDER NOTICE – CONSOLIDATED COVID-19 PRACTICE DIRECTION (MARCH 15, 2021)

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has announced that it has released a new consolidated practice direction regarding COVID-19 and that it will be launching a new website in the coming weeks. Details about these developments are below.

Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 15, 2021, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released a new practice direction that will come into force on March 29, 2021. It will be called the Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic. A copy of the consolidated practice direction is attached to this email. It can also be found at this link. The French version of the consolidated practice direction can be found at this link.

The consolidated practice direction updates, consolidates and replaces all existing Court of Appeal COVID-19-related practice directions and notices. It applies to all proceedings before the Court of Appeal, including civil, family and criminal matters.

The Court of Appeal will update the consolidated practice direction as circumstances require. Amendments will be listed in Appendix A to the consolidated practice direction.

Updated topics in the consolidated practice direction include:

•            Compendiums: During the COVID-19 pandemic, parties are permitted to file an Oral Hearing Compendium to assist the Court in following the argument during the hearing of appeals. The Oral Hearing Compendium consists of: (i) an outline of anticipated oral argument of 500 words or less, and/or (ii) extracts of those documents or cases essential to the hearing that the parties intend to refer to during argument. Oral Hearing Compendiums must be filed at least five business days before the scheduled hearing date: see Consolidated Practice Direction, at paras. 23-24.

•            Manner of Electronic Filing: The practice direction specifies the file sharing services that parties may use to file their electronic materials with the Court. The accepted file sharing services are Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and Enterprise Attachment Transfer Service: see Consolidated Practice Direction, at para. 50.

•            Scheduling of Hearings: In light of the significant disruptions and stresses in the personal and professional lives of counsel and litigants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, counsel and litigants are reminded that they expected to be flexible and reasonable when scheduling appeals and motions and to have due consideration for the personal circumstances of others: see Consolidated Practice Direction, at paras. 55-56.

•            Urgent Appeals Only During July and August 2021: Given the very significant impact of the pandemic on court operations, the Court of Appeal will only be hearing urgent appeals in July and August 2021. Requests to schedule an appeal during this time on grounds of urgency must be made to the designated List Judge: see Consolidated Practice Direction, at paras. 57-59.

•            Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form: This form has been updated. The updated version can be found at this link. The form asks parties to indicate if any publication ban or other court order prohibits the publication of the full name of any individuals in the title of proceedings. In criminal appeals, if the appellant has been granted judicial interim release pending appeal, the form now asks the parties to write out the wording of the surrender condition: see Consolidated Practice Direction, at Appendix B.

•            Surrender Condition in Judicial Interim Release Orders (Criminal Matters Only): In light of the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, the Court has changed the standard wording of the surrender condition for release orders pending appeal. The new standard wording is:

The appellant will surrender into custody at the institution from which the appellant is released, or such other institution as may be specified in the order, by 7:00 a.m. on the morning the judgment is to be released or such other day as is specified in the order, whichever is earlier. 

Unless otherwise ordered by a judge, this wording must be included in all new release orders pending appeal made by the court starting on March 29, 2021. Appellants on existing release orders may apply to vary the surrender condition in the order to reflect the new standard wording. Such applications should be brought well in advance of the hearing date: see Consolidated Practice Direction, at paras. 117-123.

New Court of Appeal Website

The Court of Appeal for Ontario will be launching a new website. The new website will be released in the coming weeks and will be accessible at the address of the existing website, https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

March 10, 2021 – 1:51 PM -FOLA Weekly Update

Please find attached, a copy of this week’s Sector Call Update.  It can also be found here.

Also -another gentle reminder to send the survey that was sent earlier this week to your members.  Responses are coming in (which is great!), but we really need all members to complete this.   As a reminder, the link can be found here.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Mar. 3, 2021 – 2:07 PM – FOLA’s weekly update

Please find attached, a copy of this week’s Sector Call Update.  It is also available on our website here.  Please share with your members.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 26, 2021 – 9:39 AM – SCJ Note to Bar Associations and Legal Organizations

Based on recent medical information provided to Chief Justice Morawetz,  the SCJ  is amending the Notice to Profession in one respect: the 10 person per courtroom cap will be removed. The SCJ received confirmation that the cap is not necessary with the other protective mechanisms in place.

All other measures will remain in place for the time-being, including conducting only in-person  proceedings that are absolutely necessary. 

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/notice-to-the-profession-and-public-december-22-2020/

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 24, 2021 – 6:37 PM – SCJ notice: CaseLines, e-filing, fee payment

Chief Justice Morawetz’s Supplementary Notice to the Profession and Litigants in Civil and Family Matters Regarding the Caselines Pilot, E-Filing, and Fee Payment, updated today, is now on the SCJ website here.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 24, 2021 – 1:44 PM – FOLA Weekly Update

Please find attached, a copy of this week’s Sector Call Update.  It can also be found here.  Please share with your members.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 17, 2021 – 1:49 PM -Weekly Update (includes information about the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021 – introduced yesterday in the Legislature)

Please find attached, a copy of this week’s Sector Call Update.  It can also be found here.

Contained within this update is a note about the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021, introduced by the AG yesterday in the Legislature.  More information about this Bill can be found on our website here.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 16, 2021 – 8:48 AM – Updated PPE and Critical Supplies Policy

Effective Tuesday February 16, 2021 the PPE Policy in all MAG facilities has been strengthened.  The updated policy exceeds current public health recommendations and has been reviewed and supported by our leading provincial health and safety authorities, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s office, Ministry of Labour, Training & Skills Development, and Treasury Board Secretariat.  

 For quick reference, the updated policy incorporates the following key changes:

  1. All visitors/members of the public attending a MAG facility are required to exchange their personal source control face covering for a MAG provided source control face covering (accommodation exceptions still apply).  Personal face coverings are no longer permitted.
  1. Visitors/members of the public will not be required to exchange their personal source control face covering in the following instances only:
    1. The person is wearing a visibly higher level of mask (i.e.: an N95 respirator that does not contain exhalation valves).
    2. Delivery persons (i.e.: mail, courier, supplier, cash-in-transit provider, etc.) entering a facility to pick up or drop off packages.
    3. Contractors required to wear their employer assigned protective equipment for the performance of their duties.
  1. Visitors/members of the public can temporarily remove their face covering in the following instances only:
    1. At the judiciary’s discretion when testifying or making submissions in court.  Source control face coverings must be immediately put back on afterwards.
    2. To exchange a personal source control face covering for a MAG provided one.
    3. To exchange a source control face covering for a MAG provided transparent face covering if needed to receive accessible services (i.e.: Sign Language, lip reading, etc.).
    4. To consume food or drink.  Consumption must occur 2 meters (6 feet) away from all other individuals and the source control face covering must be put back on immediately after consumption.
    5. As may be necessary for health and safety or to provide/receive medical aid.

Please communicate these changes to all affected persons who may enter a courthouse.

Thank you

Ryan Easson

Manager of Court Operations

59 Church Street, On

L2R 7N8

Feb. 12, 2021 – 6:58 PM- Real Estate Update

Dear Real Estate Representatives, Presidents and Library Staff,  

In an effort to keep real estate lawyers updated with the ever-changing situation, we have further information to be shared with the real estate lawyers in your association.

Conveyancer®/Unity® Fee Increase

We have received a reply to our January 18, 2021 letter to Do Process regarding the fee increase for The Conveyancer® and Unity®.  A copy of the response from Do Process can be found here.

A copy of our original letter to Do Process is available here

Wire Transfers – Fee Payments

As we noted in a previous update, the Law Society has posted information for lawyers about wire transfers in its Covid-10 FAQs and has echoed FOLA’s position that absent an agreement to the contrary, each lawyer is responsible for the wire transfer fees deducted by their own financial institution.

The relevant Law Society FAQs are available here and here.

New Residential Lease Form

The province has updated the standard form of residential tenancy agreement required to be used for most private residential rental. Effective March 1, 2021 the new version (dated December 2020) must be used. The new lease form is available here.

Tarion’s Consumer Advisory Council

Tarion’s Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) provides ongoing advice on proposed operational, policy, or other changes impacting consumers buying new homes and is currently looking for new members. The application deadline is February 24, 2021.  Further details are available here.

Ongoing consultations

  • Alternative Financial Services: High-Cost Credit Consultation Paper. Comments close March 30, 2021. Details are available here.

If and when we receive further information of interest to the real estate bar, we will pass it along. 

Stay up to date with FOLA’s real estate information at https://fola.ca/real-estate-law.

Merredith MacLennan and Eldon Horner

FOLA Real Estate Co-Chairs

Please note: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

Feb. 12, 2021 – 6:53 PM – CSD Notice to Legal Profession: Regulations establishing a small estate process O. Reg. 110/21 made under the Estates Act and O. Reg. 111/21 made under the Courts of Justice Act

Earlier today, the Ministry of the Attorney General filed two regulations to establish a small estate process in Ontario:

  • O. Reg. 110/21, made under the Estates Act establishing a small estate value of up to $150,000, effective April 1, 2021.

The regulations, which come into force on April 1, 2021are described in Ontario Regulatory Registry notices at: 21-MAG005 and 21-MAG006.

A small estate process was enabled by amendments to the Estates Act introduced through the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2020. The amendments to ss. 1, 7(4), 36(3)(4)(5) of the Estates Act have been proclaimed to come into force on April 1, 2021.

The RCP amendment regulation establishes a simplified probate process for estates valued at up to $150,000 as an alternative to the existing probate system.

New rule 74.1 allows for a court issued Small Estate Certificate with the equivalent legal effect to a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee, except that authority is limited to the estate assets specifically listed in the application. The rule specifies the requirements for applications for a Small Estate Certificate, including the requirements for filing, for notice to persons entitled to share in the estate and for applying to seek authority for estate assets that are discovered after the issuance of a Small Estate Certificate.

The RCP amendments are expected to reduce costs and simplify the process to apply for probate of small estates through:

–       a new, simpler application form;

–       the removal of certain requirements in the existing probate process (for example, it is not necessary to obtain a commissioned affidavit of service); and 

–       estate court user guidance on the process to apply for probate of a small estate.

.

The simplified rules in the RCP and the Estates Act amendments also allow for expeditious processing by court staff by:

  • reducing the number of documents that are required to be reviewed;
  • allowing missing information and documentation to be identified quickly through a new form to request filing of documents and the streamlined format of the application forms; and
  • removing the need for a bond for small estates, with a few exceptions, thereby reducing the volume of motions to dispense with a bond.

Please note: The small estates limit of $150,000 will apply for the purpose of determining eligibility to apply to the court for a Small Estate Certificate. It does not impact the Estate Administration Tax Act exemption limit of $50,000.

Additional information is available at:

EN: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60331/ontario-making-it-easier-and-less-costly-to-manage-small-estates

FR: https://news.ontario.ca/fr/release/60332/lontario-rend-la-gestion-des-petites-successions-plus-simple-et-moins-couteuse

Further inquiry can be directed to the following addresses, quoting the reference # attached to your response/ in the subject line:

     E-mail: attorneygeneral@ontario.ca

     Address: Ministry of the Attorney General

                    McMurtry-Scott Building

                    720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
                    Toronto, ON
                    M7A 2S9

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.