Extension of the Suspension Order to May 12, 2020

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Limitations 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”). The Suspension Order was amended on April 9, 2020 by Ontario Regulation 137/20 to create two carve-outs, including most notably effective from and after April 16, 2020 the Construction Act, RSO 1990, c C.30and the regulations made under it.

The Suspension Order is subject to limitations in its duration and scope, as discussed in our earlier post.

With respect to duration, the Suspension Order will continue in effect until May 12, 2020. By its terms, the period of suspension under the Suspension Order is tied to the “duration of the emergency.” The initial period of emergency ran until March 31, 2020 and was extended to April 14, 2020 (see Ontario Regulation 105/20), which therefore correspondingly extended the effect of the Suspension Order from March 31, 2020 to April 14, 2020. Under the Act, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario may further extend the period of emergency on the recommendation of the Premier of Ontario for periods of no more than 28 days.[1] As such, on April 14, 2020, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario extended the emergency by 28 days. The Suspension Order thus continues in effect until May 12, 2020. Please note that the duration of the Suspension Order is distinct from that of various “emergency orders” made under section 7.0.2(4) of the Act, which were recently extended to April 23, 2020. 

With respect to scope, the Suspension Order applies to limitation periods and other procedural deadlines that are established by Ontario statutes, regulations, rules, by-laws and orders of the Government of Ontario. The suspension of limitation periods appears to be absolute. By contrast, the suspension of procedural deadlines, is subject to the discretion of the court, tribunal, or other decision-maker responsible for the proceeding. In this regard, certain Ontario courts have published guidance on the exercise of the court’s discretion dealing with procedural deadlines: Practice Direction Concerning Extensions of Time in Civil Proceedings in the Court of Appeal for Ontario; and Notice to the Profession – CYFSA Statutory Timelines and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act published by the Ontario Court of Justice.

[1] Act, s. 7.0.7(3).