The lawyers and staff of Barbeau Evans LLP are continuing to operate remotely, primarily from home, as we do our part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While our offices are operating on this basis, we will be responding to your phone calls and e-mail messages as we always have, and we will do all we can to provide the level of service which you have come to expect from us.
The Provincial Government has designated the work of lawyers and paralegals to be essential services. As such, we are permitted to remain open, in instances where remote business practices are not feasible. In that regard, we shall follow the orders and guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Programs to Help with COVID-19
We have set out below, certain resources for individuals, families and businesses, which may be of assistance to you during this time.
1) Federal Support for Individuals and Families
A summary of programs (with related links) to specific Federal COVID-19 pandemic relief programs for individuals and families, can be found here.
2) Federal Support for Businesses
A summary of programs (with related links) to specific Federal COVID-19 pandemic relief programs for Businesses, can be found here.
3) Provincial Support for Individuals and Businesses
A summary of programs (with related links) to specific Provincial COVID-19 pandemic relief programs for Businesses, can be found here, and as set out below:
- The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a one-time $1,000 payment for people who lost income
- A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families
- Employers must excuse workers for sickness without requiring a doctor’s note
- Taking unpaid, job-protected leave due to COVID-19
- Government of Canada support for workers
- WorkSafeBC resources for workers
- Some provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced
- What you must do if employees fall ill, are absent from work or your business is unexpectedly disrupted
- Economic resources for businesses
- Government of Canada support for businesses
- WorkSafeBC resources for employers
- BC Arts Council support for the arts and culture sector
Some Changes to BC Legal Practice
1) Virtual Commissioning
“Virtual” commissioning of affidavits for use in Civil and Family court proceedings were approved on March 20, 2020. Unfortunately, the Land Title Act does not allow for the remote or virtual attendance, for the purpose of witnessing a signature. The Supreme Court of BC has held that the words “appear before” require a physical presence before the officer, and not an appearance by means of videoconference technology (First Canadian Title Insurance Company v. The Law Society of B.C., 2004 BCSC 197).
2) Suspension of Limitation Periods
The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has made a Ministerial Order under s. 9 of the Emergency Program Act that suspends limitation periods and time periods for commencing a civil or family action, proceeding, claim or appeal in B.C. The suspension is effective as of March 26, 2020 and continues until the date that the declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 expires or is cancelled.
3) Update Regarding Execution of Affidavits
The Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Provincial Court have expanded the process for commissioning affidavits in circumstances where it is not possible or is medically unsafe for the deponent to attend before a commissioner to apply to affidavits for use in Court Proceedings generally. Lawyers will have to determine that circumstances require virtual commissioning of an affidavit and follow the procedure in the Courts notices.
4) Provincial Courts
The Provincial Court of British Columbia has issued a Notice to the Profession and Public that it has suspended regular operations at all of its locations and that some court locations have been closed. Urgent matters will proceed in “Hub Court” locations.
Our office in Vancouver will remain generally closed, until further notice for the well-being of you, members of our firm and the community at large. In adherence to recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer, we are limiting all face-to-face meetings in our office unless they are essential.
We will remain in touch with you during these challenging times, and we remain available to you, to meet your personal and business legal requirements.
With vigilance and community in mind, we will overcome these challenges.
Paul S.O. Barbeau
We hope that you find these articles and updates to be of interest and that you enjoy these and other Barbeau Evans LLP blog posts. If you would like to discuss any aspect of what you read, please contact Paul S.O. Barbeau at (604) 688-4900 ext. 201 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org.