COVID-19 And The Law - Hummingbird Lawyers LLP

COVID-19 and the Law

COVID-19 and the Law

Welcome to the COVID-19 and The Law updates page of Hummingbird Lawyers LLP. Click on one of the yellow links to see the updates of each department.

Wills & Powers Of Attorney To Be Witnessed By Video

The Province of Ontario has extended the emergency order allowing Wills & Powers of Attorney to be witnessed by video until December 21st, 2020. If you need these documents, but do not want to meet in person, Hummingbird Lawyers can help.

November 21, 2020

Important Update on the Reinstatement of Builder Repair Periods

Tarion Warranty Corporation reinstated builder repair periods, warranty claim submissions and reconciliations on August 27 ending their suspension because of the Provincial Emergency order.

That due between March 16 and September 11, 2020, have a September 11, 2020 deadline to submit them.

During this time, Tarion will provide information and guidance to help homeowners across the province.

If you have questions, call the Customer Service team at 1-877-982-7466 or

August 28, 2020 | Andrew Fortis

What does the End of Temporary Suspension of the Limitations Period Really Mean?

As the Province of Ontario slowly takes steps to shake off the Covid-19 induced hibernation, the Temporary Suspension of the Limitations Period is set to end on September 14, 2020, pursuant to Ont. Reg. 457/20: Limitation Periods.

But what does it all mean?

It means that the temporary suspension acted like a stopwatch. Any limitation period or period of time within which a step must have been taken in a proceeding during the temporary suspension period under the Ont. Reg. 73/20 will resume running on September 14, 2020, and the period from March 16, 2020 to September 13, 2020 will not be counted. For ex. If a step had to be completed by March 30, 2020, being 14 days after the start of the Temporary Suspension on March 16, 2020, the time to complete such a step will run out 14 days after September 14, 2020.

August 27, 2020 | Ioulia Vinogradova

Liability Waiver Update for Shared Residences

Standard liability waivers may not cover Covid-19 infections contracted while in an apartment, condominium or student residence.
Talk to Hummingbird Lawyers LLP for the latest advice on protecting your company against potential legal issues resulting from the Coronavirus.

Liability Waiver Update for Shared Residences

July 10, 2020 | Mitchell Singer

Commercial Rent Evictions To Be Banned For Small Businesses In Ontario

Ontario moratorium on commercial rent evictions may be coming soon to assist small businesses. Landlords are encouraged to apply for CECRA if eligible.

Read more

June 10, 2020

Where do I submit my Application to be appointed as an Estate Trustee?

In Ontario, pursuant to the Section 7 of the Estates Act R.S.O 1990 c. E.21 the Application for a Certificate of appointment of Estate Trustee with or without a Will must be filed with the Superior Court of Justice in the county or district in which the deceased resided at the time of death. During COVID-19 various Courts have various procedures in place. Please contact our Estates Team to guide you through this process during COVID-19.

April 28, 2020 | Ioulia Vinogradova

Commercial Rent Assistance For Small Business Tenants

While COVID-19 has impacted everyone in one way or another, small businesses on the hook on commercial leases are one of the hardest hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday April 24, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced a partnership with all provinces and territories to lower rent for small businesses affected by COVID-19 by 75 per cent. This government initiative is being implemented under a program referred to as the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

Based on the current information available at this time, it appears commercial landlords have the onus of applying for the CECRA program, which includes a forgivable loan to qualifying commercial landlords to cover 50% of rent payments for the months of April, May and June.

To qualify for CECRA, both commercial landlords and tenants need to meet pre-established conditions as set out by the government. Part of the government’s requirement is the need for a Rent Forgiveness Agreement between the commercial landlord and the small business tenant. More information on the details of the program are available here.

The CECRA program is expected to be operational by mid-May. As with other newly announced COVID-19 programs, there are a number of details that have yet to be addressed by the respective federal and provincial governments. Further details of the CECRA program are expected to be announced soon.

Contact our Business and Corporate lawyers to assist with navigating the new CECRA program or any other commercial landlord and tenant issues during these uncertain times.

April 27, 2020

Virtual Witnessing Of Wills And Powers Of Attorney - Counterparts

On April 7, 2020, the Province of Ontario allowed for virtual witnessing of Wills and Powers of Attorney during the COVID-19 emergency as long as one of the two witnesses is a lawyer or a paralegal.

On April 22, 2020, virtual witnessing of Wills and Powers of Attorney can be done in counterparts. This allows each witness and the maker of the Will and Powers of Attorney to sign a separate identical copy of the documents, which together form the complete Will and Power of Attorney.

In response to this news, we are actively working to stay current with the procedural guidelines as part of the Hummingbird Virtual Estate Planning process. To know more about our process, contact a Wills & Estates lawyer today. For your estate planning needs, fill out our Personal Intake Form For Estate Planning to get started today.

April 27, 2020 | Jonathan Kiang

FAQ About Dispute Litigation And COVID-19

With the continuing spread of COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding it, you may have questions about your legal rights and your ability to access the courts if you have a dispute that needs to be resolved by way of litigation.

These unprecedented times have disrupted the courts as we know them. Although the regular operation of courts in Ontario has been suspended, your claim is still important and requires attention.

If you are involved in a dispute and looking for a lawyer, Hummingbird Lawyers is here to assist you. Whether it be through litigation in the courts or guiding you through a negotiated dispute settlement, the Hummingbird Litigation team has got you covered.

Please contact our Litigation Department, to arrange a consultation with an experienced Hummingbird Litigator. You can also reach a lawyer in this department by contacting Hummingbird Lawyers is committed to serving you during these exceptional circumstances. We look forward to assisting you soon. Together we can get through this.

see FAQ About Dispute Litigation During COVID-19.

April 23, 2020 | Jonathan Barr

How Do Market Fluctuations From COVID-19 Affect Net Family Property (NFP) Calculations?

One of the most concerning issues in family law, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, is the anticipated sharp decline in the value of assets since the date of separation. In Ontario, married spouses equally share the wealth they have accumulated during their marriage. The wealth accumulated during the marriage by each spouse is called “net family property” (NFP). In order to calculate the NFP for each spouse, we look at the value of assets and debts, as crystallized on the date of separation. In very simple terms, and subject to some exceptions, the spouse who has a higher NFP (meaning, who has accumulated more wealth) is required to pay one-half of the difference between the parties’ respective NFPs to the spouse with a lower NFP.

Now imagine a case where the parties separated last July and they are trying to calculate the equalization payment using the value of their assets then. For jointly owned assets, both parties equally share the decline in the value of a property. However, that is not the case for solely owned assets. For instance, if the matrimonial home is the wife’s name alone, which was worth $1,000,000 in July 2019 but it is now valued at $850,000, then does that mean the husband receives one half of the value on the date of separation (that is, $500,000) or one half of the current date ($425,000)? It would seem unfair if the wife alone had to incur the loss in the value of her property, while the husband benefited from the pre-COVID valuation of the same property, wouldn’t it?

Luckily, section 5(6) of Ontario’s Family Law Act provides for unequal division of property in exceptional circumstances, such as unforeseeable fluctuations in the market after separation. However, for this section to apply, the asset owner (the wife in our example above), will have to meet a very high threshold test for an unequal division her NFP. The Ontario Court of Appeal has stated that the circumstances of the case must be so that an equal division of the net family properties would “shock the conscience of the court.” Section 5(6) was applied successfully in the case of Serra v. Serra after the 2008 market decline, which had significantly reduced the value of the husband’s textile business.

If you are currently considering a property settlement in your family law matter, make sure you consult with experts, such as evaluators, to understand the effects of the ongoing and future market fluctuation on the value of your assets. Also, speak with your family law lawyer to see if you can come up with creative solutions in how to structure a property settlement that can address your financial needs now, but also protect you from making a bad deal.

April 22, 2020 | Ella Aiaseh
Click a department to view the latest updates.

Thank you for reading. Your health is important to us. At Hummingbird Lawyers LLP, we are committed to the quarantine and social distancing measures currently in place. We continue to be fully operational during this time as our entire firm is able to work remotely (including phone, fax, and email). Our staff have been working around the clock to ensure Canadians have access to our legal services from the comfort of their own homes. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or if you need assistance with your legal matter.

Disclaimer - The information provided herein is for general informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The information contained herein may not be applicable in all situations and may not, after the date of its presentation, even reflect the most current authority. Nothing contained herein should be relied or acted upon without the benefit of legal advice based upon the particular facts and circumstances presented, and nothing herein should be construed otherwise.