Update on Remote Execution of Wills in BC

We previously reported on how the Government of British Columbia responded to COVID-19 by temporarily allowing the remote execution of Wills, setting out the requirements for doing so in a ministerial order that is only applicable so long as the Provincial State of Emergency is in effect (see our previous blog post of June 17, 2020).

We are pleased to advise that the Government of British Columbia introduced legislation last week to make remote execution of Wills a permanent fixture in this province.

If it passes, Bill 21 – 2020 will amend the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act,…

CECRA Program Extended Throughout July

The federal government has just announced the extension the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program to cover the month of July. This extends the Program’s eligibility by one month beyond the original three months of April, May and June

As per our previous blog posts, the CECRA Program offers forgivable loans to qualifying small businesses (those that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic) who lease commercial space from qualifying landlords. Ultimately, the federal and provincial governments will cover 50% of the gross rent, the eligible tenant would pay 25% and the landlord would forgo the remaining 25%.

Although…

BC Government Introduces “Benefit Companies”

The Government of British Columbia intends to amend the Business Corporations Act (“BCBCA”) to include a new type of company – a benefit company. This amendment is set to take place on June 30, 2020.

A benefit company is a for-profit corporation that dedicates itself to conducting responsible and sustainable business and to promoting a public benefit(s). A public benefit includes any activity that positively impacts a group outside of the corporation’s shareholders. For example, an educational group, the local community, the environment, or a charitable organization. A list of possible ‘public benefit’ activities can be found here.

Benefit…

Categories: Business Law

COVID-19 Response and Preparedness for clients and employees of Owen Bird Law Corporation

At Owen Bird Law Corporation, our first priority is the health and safety of our clients and our people. Throughout the pandemic we have implemented precautionary measures to ensure continuity of service while keeping our clients and people safe. We continue to closely monitor the progression of COVID-19 and the related guidance from Public Health authorities and WorkSafeBC.  OBLC has put a Safety Plan in place to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in our office. This plan will be updated as circumstances change.

Categories: Announcements

No Eviction for Eligible Commercial Tenants Unless Landlords Apply for CECRA

When the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) Program was first revealed, two issues were highlighted by the public concerning eligibility:

The requirement that the relevant commercial property had been used to secure a mortgage loan; and that commercial tenants were at the whim of their respective landlords to apply for the Program.

The former concern has recently been addressed by the Federal Government by eliminating the requirement for a mortgage to be registered and, as of today, it appears the latter issue has also been remedied.

This morning, the Provincial Finance Minister, Carole James, announced a new emergency order…

Owen Bird Welcomes Scott Urquhart

Owen Bird Law Corporation is pleased to announce that Scott Urquhart has joined our firm as the newest member of our Insurance and Construction Dispute groups.

Called to the Bar in 2006, Scott is a litigator with extensive experience at all levels of British Columbia’s courts. In addition to practicing in the areas of insurance, civil litigation and construction law, he also has successful trial and appellate experience in commercial and fraud litigation.

Growing up in the Cariboo, Scott worked in mills and on cattle ranches, paying his way through University while working in BC’s oil and gas…

Categories: Announcements

UPDATE on COVID-19: EXECUTING A WILL IN A PANDEMIC

We previously commented on this blog that the laws of British Columbia had not been relaxed to allow for remote or “virtual” execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements during the COVID-19 pandemic (see our posts of April 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020).

That has now changed. The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has now issued ministerial orders with respect to the remote execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements in British Columbia.

These orders are effective May 19, 2020, until the current Provincial State of Emergency is over. At the…

No Need For a Mortgage – Update to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) Program

Scrutinized criteria regarding the eligibility of the CECRA Program appears to have been subtly addressed in recent days.  The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”) – the entity charged with administering the Program – had previously published criteria for eligible commercial landlords and tenants on their website. Among those conditions stood the requirement for the commercial property (which housed the affected commercial tenant) to have been used to secure a mortgage loan.

Previously, CMHC’s webpage contained a footnote next to this requirement with the following:

For those property owners who do not have a mortgage, an alternative mechanism will be…

Employer Obligations Continue to Apply Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

This post is current as of May 7, 2020. Since the situation is rapidly evolving, it is important for employers to continue to check government websites and other information sources to ensure they make decisions with information that is as up to date as possible. The information contained in this blog is relevant only to non-union workers in provincially regulated industries covered by the Employment Standards Act.

On March 23, the BC legislature enacted several changes to the Employment Standards Act. As at the date of this article, these changes have not reduced nor eliminated an employer’s obligations when laying off employees…

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