March 26, 2020 – 5:13 PM- LAO Letter to the Bar re: supports

Dear Presidents and Library Staff,

Your FOLA Legal Aid Committee has been actively engaged in teleconferences and discussions directly with Legal Aid Ontario and other stakeholders and we are pleased to share the attached letter to the Bar from David Field, LAO President and CEO.

Our efforts will continue to support counsel and any suggestions or comments are welcome and can be sent to be me terrylbrandon@sympatico.ca.

Terry Brandon

FOLA Legal Aid Chair

March 26, 2020 -12:21 PM FOLA 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.

 

Law Society CPD

Our last update included a link to the Law Society free audio webcast on Friday, March 27 entitled “Your Real Estate Practice and the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know Right Now”.

We understand that the live program is now full.  The Law Society is replaying the program on April 1, 2 and 3. See the LSO CPD calendar here for more details.

 

Banking Issues

We have reached out to the Law Society for assistance and we understand that they are contacting the financial industry and federal and provincial politicians regarding the following concerns:

  • Most banks are not accepting scanned documents for mortgage closings – and mortgage instructions require lawyers to be in the physical presence of borrowers, so even if we meet remotely, we need to be physically in the same room to sign the documents.
  • Lenders are not allowing lawyers to wire mortgage discharge funds, even though many bank branches are closed and those that are open are working on reduced hours.
  • Some lenders are now requiring all refinances to go through FCT or FNF, meaning borrowers will not have any legal representation.

There is a global pandemic with health and safety protocols to be followed. Remaining inflexible, requiring people to put themselves at risk and denying borrowers legal counsel is unconscionable.

Title Insurance

We strongly urge lawyers to think about the title insurers they are working with – is your preferred title insurer actively lobbying banks and government to remove lawyers from the real estate transaction? Are they marketing their ability to perform legal services that you ordinarily provide?  If so, the premiums you send them are funding these lobbying and marketing efforts.

There are title insurance companies, like TitlePLUS and Stewart Title, who are actively working to keep lawyers involved in real estate transactions, especially during these unprecedented times. 

DRA

Section 10 of the Document Registration Agreement (reproduced below) requires original documents to be provided within 2 business days of closing. You may want to consider amending this to either eliminate the need to send originals or extend the time frame.

10. This Agreement (or any counterpart hereof), and any of the closing documents hereinbefore contemplated, may be exchanged by telefax or similar system reproducing the original, provided that all such documents have been properly executed by the appropriate parties. The party transmitting any such document(s) shall also provide the original executed version(s) of same to the recipient within 2 business days after the Closing Date, unless the recipient has indicated that he/she does not require such original copies.

Sending Closing Funds

Because many lawyers are now wiring purchase funds to the other lawyer whenever possible, a separate cheque is not being written to the mortgage lender for the discharge amount – the full balance is being delivered to the vendor’s lawyer with reliance on their undertaking to payout and discharge the mortgage. 

The Law Society guidelines recommend a separate cheque payable to the lender for the discharge amount to protect against fraud – lawyers who receive the funds but don’t pass them along to the lender, and consequently never receive a discharge.  You may be aware that there have been a few lawyers over the years who have gotten into some kind of trouble and who did this. It has been rare, but it has happened.

Given the current situation, there may be a greater risk of this happening if deals are not closing and people begin to feel desperate. Bills still need to be paid, and if there are fewer transactions closing, there may be a temptation to “borrow” the money sent for a discharge. 

If you are sending the full balance due to the lawyer on closing, you may want to consider amending your closing procedure to request evidence that the funds have been forwarded to the lender.

Corporate Amalgamations and Amendments

We have been advised that the only ServiceOntario office accepting amalgamations or amendments for Ontario companies, which need to be filed in person at the counter, is the Bay Street office in Toronto.

Land Transfer Tax pre-payments

We have also been advised that the Ministry of Finance is also no longer accepting payment of Land Transfer Tax at the Oshawa office. Pre-payments of LTT were done when you didn’t want to include the consideration on the transfer but rather simply include a statement that LTT was pre-paid.  For workarounds, you should contact the Ministry of Finance.

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

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.

March 25, 2020 – 2:27 PM – Update – Land Registry Offices/LSO Program

FOLA source file

Dear Presidents and Library Staff,

Attached is a further real estate update that we would ask that you distribute to your members.

Eldon Horner & Merredith MacLennan

FOLA Real Estate Co-Chairs

March 25, 2020 – 11:28 AM-Daily call update and the latest response update

Please find attached a copy of the summary of the sector call with the Courts this morning and an updated copy of the response report. 

A few quick notes (and don’t forget to read the reminders at the bottom): 

  1. I want to stress that the Law Society views all of the questions sent my way and, while you may not see your question/issue addressed on the response doc, it is very likely that they have addressed it on their FAQ page. 
  2. We will be changing our reporting format moving forward as this is all getting rather unmanageable and we really want to ensure that response reports are easy for you to read (I appreciate they are not ideal right now).  Stay tuned and your patience and understanding is very much appreciated. 
  3. Many of you have submitted questions that have been addressed.  In such cases, we are going to endeavour to provide direct links so that you can locate those responses yourselves.    
  4. Remember – you can view all important links on our website here.  If you think we are missing anything, please do let me know!    My email (incase this email was forwarded to you) is katie.robinette@fola.ca).  No phone calls please.

Important reminders: 

  1. If you are receiving this and have sent in a question that has been adequately resolved, please do let me know.  We will remove it from the list. 
  2. If your question has NOT been sufficiently addressed or you require further clarification, please let me know – and be as specific as possible as to how we can best provide as detailed a response as possible.

That’s it!  Have a fantastic day!


Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

647-280-9340

March 25,2020 -6:33 AM – LAO Summary Legal Advice

FOLA source file

Dear Presidents and Library Staff

The Legal Aid Notice with respect to changes to summary legal advice services is now posted on the FOLA website at

https://fola.ca/legal-aid

It can also be found on the Legal Aid Ontario website at:

March 24, 2020 -11:20 AM – Expansion of the Civil Claims Online Service

Ministry of the Attorney General Court Services DivisionOffice of the Assistant DeputyAttorney General McMurtry-Scott Building720 Bay Street, 2nd FloorToronto ON  M7A 2S9Tel.:     416 326-2611Fax.:    416 326-2652Ministère du Procureur général Division des services aux tribunauxBureau de la Sous-procureure généraleadjointe  Édifice McMurtry-Scott720, rue Bay, 2e étageToronto ON  M7A 2S9Tél. :     416 326-2611Téléc. : 416 326-2652 

Our Reference #: A-2020-83

Via Email

Please find attached a Notice to the Legal Profession regarding the expansion of the Civil Claims Online service on March 23, 2020.

The online service expansion will assist lawyers and litigants with accessing justice services during these unprecedented times when court counter services are required to be reduced to protect the health and safety of the public and staff. While filings will be accepted through the online system, until normal operations resume, only those matters that are scheduled by the judiciary for an urgent hearing will proceed. Court services will be available for urgent hearings and service will be limited for non-urgent matters.

As set out in the Notice, the Civil Claims Online service should not be used to file documents in a proceeding that has been declared by the judiciary to require an urgent hearing pursuant to the Superior Court of Justice’s Notice to the Profession, the Media and the Public dated March 15, 2020 or pursuant to the Commercial List Users Committee Notice dated March 16, 2020.

We would appreciate your assistance with distributing the notice to your members.

Thank you.

Sheila Bristo

Court Services Division

Ministry of the Attorney General

March 24, 2020 – 11:41 PM Daily Call update and response update as of end of day March 23

Please find attached a recap of today’s call and the latest edition of responses to some of your members’ questions over the past few days.  Please do circulate.  Also – as an FYI – as of Friday, these daily calls will become weekly calls and will take place (as of now) on Wednesdays at 10am. 

Your members are still encouraged to email me at any time with issues/questions as I will still be forwarding a daily report into our Rapid Response team for answers and/or clarification. 

All the best and happy Tuesday!

PS – as always, our website is updated daily and, as you may have seen from your inbox, there have been a few emails from us today.  All of them are online here.


Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

647-280-9340

MARCH 24, 2020 – 1:43 PM: Notice to Profession RE: Central South Family Matters during Covid-19 shut down

Good afternoon Central South Bar Associations,

Please see the attached Notice to Profession dated March 24, 2020 RE: Family and Child Protection matters during the Covid-19 shut down. Please note this notice replaces the notice of March 18, 2020.

I would ask that you please distribute this notice to your colleagues.

Yours very truly,

HSA

Harrison S. Arrell

Regional Senior Justice

45 Main St.E., Suite 721

Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2B7

Te: 905 645 5323

Fax: 905 645 5374

March 24,2020 – 10:56 AM -Notice to Stakeholders re: Service on the Crown and Related Entities

FOLA source file

Dear Presidents and Library Staff

Below is an email from the Ministry of the Attorney General with respect to changes to how documents are to be served on the Crown and related entities. 

We would appreciate if you would circulate this email with the attachment to your members.

From: JUS-G-MAG-Policy-Correspondence (MAG) [mailto:MAG.PolicyDivision@ontario.ca]
Sent: March-24-20 10:34 AM
Subject: Notice to Stakeholders re: Service on the Crown and Related Entities

We wanted to let you know that the Lieutenant Governor in Council has issued an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that changes how documents are served on the Crown and related entities.

Effective immediately, documents to be served on the Crown and related entities in any civil (non-criminal) proceeding, administrative proceeding or intended proceeding must be served by email, in accordance with the instructions set out on the following website: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/guides/Guide_to_Serving_Documents_EN.html#_Toc441141484

This applies to documents served on

  • the Crown
  • Ministers of the Crown, including the Attorney General of Ontario
  • the Children’s Lawyer
  • the Public Guardian and Trustee and
  • the Director of the Family Responsibility Office.

A copy of the order is attached to this email.

The Order in Council will also be posted on this website: https://www.ontario.ca/search/orders-in-council  and on e-Laws, as a regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e09?search=emergency+management.

We would appreciate you disseminating news of the order to your members. 

Please do not attempt to reply to this e-mail. 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

Order Regarding Limitation Periods and Procedural Time Periods

Dear Presidents and Library Staff,

Please see below the email FOLA received this evening from MAG with respect to suspending limitation periods and procedural time periods.  The Order referred to in the email is attached.

We would appreciate if you would forward this on to your members.

Mike Winward

FOLA Chair

From: JUS-G-MAG-Policy-Correspondence (MAG) <MAG.PolicyDivision@ontario.ca>
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 7:49 PM

We wanted to let you know that the Lieutenant Governor in Council made an order under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act suspending limitation periods and procedural time periods. The suspension is retroactive to March 16, 2020.  Please find a copy of the order attached here.

The Order in Council will also be posted on this website: https://www.ontario.ca/search/orders-in-council  and on e-Laws, as a regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e09?search=emergency+management.

We would appreciate you disseminating news of the order to your members.

Please do not attempt to reply to this e-mail. 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