Jan. 20, 2021 – 1:58 PM – FOLA’s Weekly Update

Please find attached, this week’s Sector Call Report, which can also be found online 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.

Jan. 20, 2021 – 7:53 AM – Updated St. Catharines Courthouse Quick Bites

Jan. 18, 2021 – 1:35 PM -FOLA Real Estate Update

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 large number of calls and emails from real estate lawyers across the province in response to the announcement by Do Process that transaction fees for The Conveyancer® and Unity® are increasing to $129 effective January 18, 2021. 

We have sent a letter to Do Process, a copy of which is available here.  We have consulted with the LSO as well and the reality is that DoProcess is a private for-profit business which is entitled to price its products as it wishes. We urge all solicitors to express their concerns directly to the company.

Condominium Buyers Guide

Effective January 1, 2021, purchasers of new construction condominiums must be provided with Ontario’s Residential Condominium Buyers’ Guide, published by the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO). See here for further details.

New Regulator for Ontario New Home Builders

On February 1, 2021, the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) will assume the registration/licensing responsibilities currently held by Tarion.  According to its website:

  • The Home Construction Regulatory Authority will be responsible for regulating and licensing the people and companies who build and sell new homes in Ontario.
  • The HCRA will enforce high professional standards for competence and conduct in the home building industry, giving new home buyers confidence in one of the biggest purchases of their lives. The HCRA will also improve consistency across the sector, curtailing unethical and illegal builders and fostering a fair marketplace.
  • In addition to licensing, the HCRA will provide educational information for consumers on their home buying journey.
  • The HCRA will manage the Ontario Builder Directory (OBD) – which is the official source of background information about each of Ontario’s more than 5,000 licensed builders/vendors.

Ontario Standard Closing Documents

At the May 2017 FOLA Plenary, all 47 Ontario county and district law associations unanimously approved and endorsed the Standard Closing Documents prepared by the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate for use in residential resale transactions. These standard documents are available on the Working Group website. Letters of Support for the Standard Closing Documents were also received from LawPRO and the Director of Titles.

As set out in the Rationale Document, the benefits of using the standard closing documents include:

1.     Less paper, no repetition, and more efficiencies, as the content of the documents can easily be confirmed as being either unamended or modified;

2.     Less time needed to negotiate the content of closing documents;

3.     Adherence to province-wide standards;

4.     Clients’ rights and obligations are protected based on the APS;

5.     Either party can easily prepare the documents for the other side; and

6.     No need to delete inapplicable paragraphs as they are worded conditionally.

Government Consultations

·        Potential Permanent Changes to Enable Digital and Virtual Processes under the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Business Law and Condominium Statutes – details available here

Comments due date: February 8, 2021

·        Improvements to Ontario’s New Home Warranty and Protection Program (ONHWPA Phase 2) – details available here

Comments due date: February 12, 2021

·        Proposed Code of Ethics and Discipline Committee and Appeals Committee Regulations to be made under the New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017 – details available here

Comments due date: February 13, 2021

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.

Jan. 15, 2021 – 8:48 AM -Ontario Court of Justice Update re. Scheduling of Family Law Matters

The COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Law Matters at the OCJ has been revised. For more information, please see: https://ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/covid-19-family-matters/

In light of Ontario’s Emergency Order, the new Scheduling of Family Law Matters directive eliminates the reference to certain appearances being presumptively in person and waives the requirement to file sworn documents, beyond unsworn affidavits of service.

Electronically signed documents are acceptable for filing.  There is an additional resource by Pro Bono Students Canada for litigants who are unable to afford a lawyer but do not qualify for LAO services. The new Scheduling directive is effective as of January 14, 2021.

Katie

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

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

Jan. 14, 2021 – 8:14 AM – Stay at Home Order/Amendments to O.Reg.82/20 Posting

Some of your members have been asking about the new Stay-at-Home Order.  You can view the full News Release here.   Also, late last the Attorney General’s staff sent me some of the stay at home emergency orders that have been filed and posted to e-laws. They can be accessed here.  These are “source law” so the Ministry of Health regulation that is changing some of the requirements in the stage 1 order is an amending regulation – consolidated law will be updated later, usually in a few days.

And to pre-empt a common question, there will not be a regulation regarding the suspension of limitation periods coming out this week. There are capabilities for e-filing, virtual hearings, etc. that did not exist back in March 2020.

I hope this helps.  Please do forward to your members.

Katie

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

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

Jan 13, 2021 – 5:25 PM – Superior Court of Justice update to Notice to the Profession and Public

The SCJ’s Notice to the Profession and Public was updated today to account for the new provincial restrictions announced yesterday. It is available on the SCJ website here.

Katie

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

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

Jan. 13, 2021 – 6:34 PM -Updated Message from Ontario Court of Justice regarding COVID-19

The COVID-19 message on the Ontario Court of Justice website (https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/) was updated today. For your information, the revised message is set out below.

Message re COVID-19 (Updated January 13, 2021)

The health and safety of all court users remains a top priority for the Ontario Court of Justice as it continues to provide meaningful access to justice despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Ontario Court of Justice provides essential justice services to the public and remains open during these difficult times.

In light of the government’s January 12, 2021 declaration of a second state of emergency, the Court stresses the importance of limiting in-person attendance at courthouses.  The Court is committed to facilitating the conduct of proceedings by remote technology (video or phone) wherever possible and urges all judicial officials, parties and counsel to use remote proceedings unless an in-person appearance is required to ensure meaningful access to justice.

The Court has encouraged all judicial officials, when exercising their authority, to be flexible and to respect why an individual may not be able to attend a court hearing in person, and to consider all reasonable alternatives to conducting a proceeding in person.  Similarly, the Court encourages counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings or other arrangements are made by opposing counsel or parties.

Based on expert advice from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Court will continue to accommodate in-person appearances where they are required to ensure meaningful access to justice.  In consultation with public health officials, the Ministry of the Attorney General has implemented a broad range of health and safety measures at all courthouses open to the public. It remains of critical importance that all who attend a courthouse in person be vigilant in maintaining the public health and safety protections in place at each court facility.For information about the health and safety measures implemented at Ontario’s courthouses, please see the Ministry of the Attorney General website.

If you are unsure whether your case is being held by video or telephone or in person, please contact your lawyer or, if you do not have a lawyer, contact the courthouse where your case is being heard using the contact information on this website.

For information about Ontario Court of Justice notices, directives and policies in response to COVID-19, see COVID-19 Notices and Information.

Katie

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

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

Jan. 13, 2021 – 2:04 PM -FOLA’s Weekly Update

Please find attached, this week’s Sector Call Report, which can also be found online here.  I have also attached the most recent Q&A document but appreciate many of the questions and responses are out of date.  Sector call participants will be working over the next week or so to clean this up. 

Also – moments after our call, I received a summary of all notices issued by Legal Aid Ontario in the month of Dec 2020.  I have also attached that and will be making updates to our Legal Aid section of our website over the weekend.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Jan.11, 2021 – 11:29 AM – Superior Court of Justice updates

A few updates regarding Superior Court of Justice and Small Claims Court notices and practice directions hit my inbox this morning.  See below and share with your members:

Gowning for counsel and attire modifications – Effective January 18, 2021, amendments the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction specify in paragraph 59 the court attendances (in person) at which counsel are not required to gown. Paragraphs 60 and 61 specify that counsel may modify their traditional court attire in order to accommodate personal circumstances.

Class actions – Effective January 18, 2021, amendments the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction specify in paragraph 43 that costs outlines must be filed in certification and other motions. Amendments to paragraph 44 create a new Class Proceedings Judge’s Book of Authorities with links to the CanLii website. Counsel need not include in their filed books of authorities any of the cases contained in the Class Proceedings Judges’ Book of Authorities. However, extracts from those authorities which counsel intend to refer should be included in the filed book of authorities.

Best Practices Guide for Class Proceedings – The Class Actions Bench and Bar Liaison Committee drafted a Best Practices Guide to assist both counsel and judges by providing suggested topics and processes to be considered in connection with the case management of class actions. This guide is available on the SCJ website at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/civil/resources/guide-case-management-class-actions/

Toronto Commercial List and Estates List Filing Direction – Amendments to the Toronto Commercial List and Estates List Filing Direction clarify requirements for filing documents with the court and uploading them to a document sharing platform in advance of hearings.

CaseLines FAQ – The CaseLines FAQs have been updated. FAQ 7 sets out the court’s new document naming protocol. FAQ 8 indicates that tabs and bookmarks are now functional in CaseLines. The document is available at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/supplementary-notice-september-2-2020/faq-caselines/

Small Claims Court adjournment order – An order of Chief Justice Morawetz further adjourning certain Small Claims Court proceedings to March 1, 2021 is now on the SCJ website at https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/continued-suspension-scc-operations/

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

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

Jan .8, 2021 – 3:41 PM – Updated Zoom Connections and Conference Call Lines

Please distribute the attached Niagara Zoom Connection document.  These changes are effective January 11th, 2021:

  • Video Remand will take place virtually in Courtroom #3 starting at 10:45 am
  • St. Catharines Bail Assist (contested hearings) will take place virtually in Courtroom called SBA.