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In response to the COVID-19 health implications, on March 17, 2020 the Ontario Government made an emergency order under section 7.1(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, suspending limitation periods and procedural deadlines in Ontario proceedings (“Emergency Order), retroactive to March 16, 2020.

The implications of 7.1 (2) of the Emergency Order are twofold:

  • Any limitation period shall be suspended for the duration of the emergency, and the suspension shall be retroactive to Monday, March 16, 2020; and
  • Any period of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding in Ontario, shall be suspended for the duration of the emergency, and the suspension shall be retroactive to Monday, March 16, 2020, subject to the discretion of the relevant Tribunal or Board.


As of April 15, 2020, the following information has been released:

(i) The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (“LPAT”)

  • The LPAT has suspended all hearings, whether in person, written or by teleconference, until further notice.
  • The LPAT have suspended all steps to be undertaken (timelines) until further notice.
  • As of April 3, 2020, the LPAT will schedule settlement hearings through teleconference or written submissions, on a case-by-case basis.

(ii) The Board of Negotiation

  • The Board of Negotiation has directed that BONs will continue via teleconference.

(iii) Hearings of Necessity

  • Where possible, Hearings of Necessity are proceeding via teleconference.

(iv) Superior Court of Justice

  • Unless the presiding judge orders otherwise, all hearings including teleconferences and video conferences are adjourned until further notice.
  • However, where procedural rules or court orders require the regular filing of documents during this emergency period, and it becomes impossible to file at the courthouse or the courthouse is believed to be unsafe, parties can expect the Court to grant extensions of time once the Court’s normal operations resume.
  • Parties must still comply with orders/rules requiring the service or delivery of documents as between parties.

(v) Urgent Motions

The courts will hear urgent motions in the following circumstances:

  1. Matters related to Public Health and Safety and COVID-19;
  2. Family and Child Protection matters; and
  3. The following Civil and Commercial List (Toronto) matters:
    1. urgent and time-sensitive motions and applications in civil and commercial list matters, where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result if there is no judicial hearing.
    2. Outstanding warrants issued in relation to a Small Claims Court or Superior Court civil proceeding.
  4. Any other matter that the Court deems necessary and appropriate to hear on an urgent basis. The Bar and the public are advised that these matters will be strictly limited.

The Court has discretion to decline to schedule for immediate hearing any particular matter described in the above list, if appropriate.

Recently, Toronto Superior Court of Justice has extended its powers to also hear:

  • Select Pre-Trial Conferences (that were cancelled in March and are trial ready); and
  • Rule 7 applications, Rule 7 motions, (parties under a disability) and other applications and motions in writing that are proceeding on consent of all parties.

(vi) Land Registry Office

  • The Land Registry Office has been deemed an essential service and remains operational.