Federal Court of Appeal rejects the Attorney General of Canada’s position on the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) as creating “intolerable uncertainty”

Under section 6 of the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) (the “Act), time limits established by federal legislation for starting or taking steps in a civil proceeding are suspended for a maximum period of six months, as of March 13, 2020 and ending on September 13, 2020 or on an earlier date fixed by order of the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

By letter dated September 1, 2020, the Attorney General of Canada advised the Federal Court of Appeal that section 6 of the Act suspends retroactively all “time limits […] established by or under an Act of Parliament” from March 13, 2020 to September 13, 2020 and that “orders and directives issued” by the courts in respect of time limits or establishing deadlines for procedural steps are ousted by the Act.

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Farewell to the Suspension Order: Limitation Periods and Procedural Timelines to Resume Running in Ontario on Monday, September 14, 2020

Limitation periods and procedural deadlines in Ontario have been suspended since March 16, 2020 pursuant to Ontario Regulation 73/20 (the “Suspension Order”) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, RSO 1990, c E.9 (the “Act”).

Further to our blog post dated June 7, 2020, the Suspension Order was extended to September 11, 2020, which was the maximum renewal period allowed under the Act.

Ontario is gradually reopening its businesses, services, and public spaces. The Ministry of the Attorney General has therefore decided to revoke the Suspension Order. Limitation periods and procedural timelines will resume running on Monday, September 14, 2020 in accordance with Ontario Regulations 457/20 and 458/20 made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, SO 2020, c 17.

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Ontario Superior Court of Justice grants Leave to Amend a Plaintiff’s Claim to Add a Ride-Sharing Platform as a Defendant in a Motor Vehicle Claim

In Ledoux v. Lee, 2020 ONSC 1659 (“Ledoux”), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice summarized the legal principles that apply on a plaintiff’s motion to add a party as a defendant in a motor vehicle claim where the proposed defendant argues that the claim is time-barred. The court confirmed that the plaintiff is required to prove two things: first, that the claim was discovered on a date that is less than two years before the motion; and second, that reasonably diligent efforts were made to discover the claim prior to this date.

The plaintiff, Ludovic Ledoux, was injured in a motor vehicle accident on July 5, 2016 when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle operated by the defendant, Byeongehon Lee.

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Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19)

Further to our blog post dated May 25, 2020, federal legislation providing for a COVID-19 related temporary suspension of federal limitation periods and procedural time limits in civil litigation has now been enacted — Bill C-20: An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures obtained Royal Assent and enacted the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) (the “Act”) on July 27, 2020.

Under the Act, time limits established by federal legislation for starting or taking steps in a civil proceeding are suspended for a maximum period of six months, as of March 13, 2020 and ending on September 13, 2020 or on an earlier date fixed by order of the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

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Ontario Superior Court of Justice Applies Misnomer to Substitute Plaintiff

In Picov and Picov Farms Ltd. v Generac Power Systems Inc. et al., 2020 ONSC 852 (“Picov Farms”), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice applied the doctrine of misnomer to grant an order amending the Statement of Claim to remove the existing plaintiffs and substitute in their place a different legal entity as the new plaintiff.

On December 25, 2013, a fire occurred in an electrical generator located at 57 Fifth Concession Road East in the Town of Ajax (the “Property”). In December 2015, the plaintiffs, Barry Picov and Picov Farms Ltd. (“Picov and Picov Farms”), commenced an action in time for damages caused by the fire.

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Suspension Order Extended to September 11, 2020 and Decoupled from Duration of Emergency Declaration

On June 5, 2020, the Lieutenant Governor in Council amended Ontario Regulation 73/20 (the “Suspension Order”), made under section 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, RSO 1990, c E.9 (the “Act”), which temporarily suspends limitation periods and other procedural deadlines.

There are four important amendments to the Suspension Order:

  1. the duration of the Suspension Order is decoupled from the duration of the emergency declaration. This is a welcome amendment and addresses the need for predictability and notice. Indeed, further to our blog post of May 29, 2020, we had supported a going forward “delinking” of the Suspension Order from the duration of the state of emergency in order to remove the confusion arising from dual clocks when determining the expiry date of the suspension.
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Extension of the Suspension Order to June 14, 2020

We have previously reported on the suspension of limitations periods and procedural deadlines in Ontario effective March 16, 2020 pursuant to Ontario Regulation 73/20, as amended (the “Suspension Order”) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, RSO 1990, c E.9 (the “Act”). The Suspension Order is subject to limitations in its duration and scope, as discussed in our earlier posts, which are listed at this link.

With respect to duration, the Suspension Order will continue in effect until June 14, 2020, because:

  • by its terms, the period of suspension under the Suspension Order is tied to the “duration of the emergency.”
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