Blog: COVID-19

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…

COVID-19: I Can’t Get Two Witnesses for My Will, Help!

UPDATE – this post is now out of date. Please see our updated post of May 21, 2020

As discussed in a previous post on this blog; while some other provinces have relaxed the in-person witnessing requirements for estate planning documents at this time, British Columbia has not. If you get creative, will-makers can fulfil these requirements while still respecting social distancing protocols. However, for those required to self-isolate strict compliance will be impossible. They simply won’t be able to execute their Will in the presence of two witnesses. What’s a would-be will-maker to do?

Will-makers can…

APRIL 30 – UPDATE TO CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE (CECRA)

On April 24, 2020, the federal government reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the CECRA program for qualifying small businesses. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that morning that eligible small businesses affected by Covid-19 will be receiving 75% in rent relief. Those details along with further particulars from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”) include the following:

Eligible Tenants. The commercial tenants eligible for this program will be those that are paying no more than $50,000 gross per month in rent AND have either temporarily ceased operations (i.e. generating no revenues) or have…

COVID-19: Executing a Will in a Pandemic

UPDATE – this post is now out of date. Please see our updated post of May 21, 2020

With reports of the COVID-19 pandemic prompting floods of people to update their Wills, or finally write one, just how easy is it to comply with the formal requirements for making a Will during the current state of emergency?

For a Will made in British Columbia to be valid, it needs to be signed by the will-maker in the presence of two witnesses, who both need to sign too (still in each other and the will-maker’s presence).  There are strict rules…

CANADA EMERGENCY COMMERCIAL RENT ASSISTANCE (CECRA) UPDATE

The federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the CECRA program for qualifying small businesses. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning that eligible small businesses affected by Covid-19 will be receiving seventy-five percent (75%) in rent relief. Details released this morning include the following:

Eligible Tenants. The commercial tenants eligible for this program will be those that are paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and have either temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in revenues. This will also include non-profit organizations. Further details are…

Probate in BC during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The current COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the day-to-day operations of the British Columbia Supreme Court. The British Columbia Supreme Court suspended all regular operations as of March 19, 2020, and adjourned all non-urgent matters until May 29, 2020, or until the Court directs otherwise. Please review the most current Court updates here.

Probate

The Courts perform many important functions, including probating wills as part of the administration of an estate. In granting probate, the Court certifies that the will, or document submitted as a will, is valid and confirms the appointment of the executor(s). A grant of probate…

Federal Government Launches Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

As many small businesses across Canada are struggling to keep the lights on as the world continues to contend with the COIVD-19 pandemic, a measure of help may finally be on the way.

On March 27, the federal government announced additional measures to support businesses and not-for-profits. More information on Canada’s COIVD-19 Economic Response Plan, can be found at  https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

A number of lenders have subsequently been in consultation with the government on these measures, designing them specifically to help small and medium sized employers with their most pressing needs and position our economy to recover.  As a result, the government has…

Underscoring Urgency: Family Matters in the COVID Crisis

On March 18, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia announced a suspension of all regular operations to protect the health and safety of court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19, with only essential and urgent matters to be heard.  A copy of the notice may be found here.

In the family law context, the Court outlined what is essential and urgent, including:

Orders relating to the safety of a child or parent due to a risk of violence or immediate harm (e.g., a protection order, conduct orders, or exclusive possession of…

Builders Lien Limitation Periods Are Back!

Parties on all sides of construction contracts including, owners, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and consultants should be aware that the recent suspension of limitation periods has been softened.  On March 26, 2020, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued Ministerial Order no. M086 titled Limitation Periods (COVID-19) Order (the “Original Order”). The Original Order temporarily suspended certain limitations periods in the province of British Columbia, and had been slated to continue until the current state of emergency declared on March 18, 2020 expired or was cancelled.

On April 8, 2020, by way of a further Ministerial Order no….