New Rent Relief Program Announced to Replace CECRA

Some good news for commercial tenants: the red tape which plagued the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program has been reduced in favor of an easy-to-access application process that replaces the system of numerous prescribed documents required under CECRA.

On October 9, the Federal Government announced details regarding relief to commercial tenants who have experienced reduced revenues due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This new program will become the successor to the CECRA program originally announced in May of this year and officially now concluded as of September 30, 2020.

In its place, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will…

Land Owner Transparency Registry to Launch November 30, 2020

It was recently announced that much anticipated Land Owner Transparency Registry (the “Registry”) will become effective as of November 30, 2020 (the “Effective Date”) with the Province approving Order in Council No. 549, bringing into force almost all provisions of the governing legislation: the Land Owner Transparency Act (the “Act”).

The purpose of the Act is to mandate reporting for indirect ownership of land in the Province which shall be maintained in the Registry and publicly accessible. Prior to the Effective Date, only legal ownership of lands was recorded which meant that disclosure of ownership began and ended at the…

Owen Bird Estate Litigator James Zaitsoff Provides Commentary on Court of Appeal Success

Owen Bird estate litigator James Zaitsoff was recently successful in the Court of Appeal in Bergler v. Odenthal 2020 BCCA 175.  In Bergler, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld a trial decision which held that a secret trust existed, with the result that the person who would have received all of the deceased’s assets on an intestacy actually held the assets in trust for another person (our client).

James was invited to provide his case comments in the July 2020 edition of Take Five, a monthly publication highlighting the most interesting civil cases emerging from the B.C….

Categories: Announcements

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…