Blog: COVID-19

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…

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…

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…

Resolving Residential Tenancy Disputes during the COVID-19 Eviction Ban

The Ban

British Columbia has banned almost all evictions from March 30, 2020 during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Now, these reasons to evict tenants are no longer valid:

non-payment of rent; cause (repeated breach of rental agreement); end of employment (e.g., caretaker); landlord’s own use of the property; and tenant no longer qualifying for tenancy (e.g., subsidized rental unit).

Limited exceptions allow landlords to still apply to end tenancies, where the tenant has:

significantly interfered with landlord’s or other occupant’s use of the property; seriously jeopardized health or safety of the landlord or other occupant; or caused extraordinary damage…

LTSA Launches LandTransparency.ca Website

Prior to COVID-19 consuming the entirety of the daily news cycle, a major focus for property owners in the Province was the anticipated Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”).

As part of the 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability in British Columbia, this legislation – the first of its kind in North America – was to establish the Land Owner Transparency Registry (“LOTR”): a publically accessible registry to record beneficial ownership rather than the current recording of only legal ownership.

News regarding LOTA has understandably slowed in light of the global focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Land Title and Survey…

To Pay, or Not To Pay? – Vancouver Delays 2020 Property Tax Deadlines in COVID-Era

As Canadians are continuing to deal with the financial stresses brought on by COVID-19, municipal governments, like the City of Vancouver, are no exception. In a recent press conference, Mayor Kennedy Stewart stated that the City is losing millions every week in revenue due to the effects of COVID-19 and the corresponding social distancing measures. The City continues to experience 80-100% decreases in revenue streams areas such as parking, by-law fines, gaming and recreation centres.

Included in the City’s stream of revenue, valued at approximately $324 million, are the collections from annual property taxes. These are taxes paid by…

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