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  • Petar Guzina

September 14, 2020 End of Suspension of Limitation Periods

On September 14, 2020, Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 457/20 will come into effect and the suspension of limitation periods in Ontario will end. O. Reg. 457/20 revokes O. Reg. 73/20 which is the regulation that suspended all limitation periods in Ontario. O. Reg. 73/20 was originally made under the authority of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. However, when the last extension of the declaration of an emergency was allowed to lapse at the end of July 2019, all active regulations were continued as valid under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19). [On a side note, I wish there was a way to get governments to stop using the naming of laws as tools of self-promotion; this act could just as accurately have been named the Extending Emergency Measures Without Having to Meet the Criteria for Declaring or Extending an Emergency Act.]

Limitation periods were suspended retroactively to March 16, 2020, and will resume running on September 14, 2020.

On its website, the Landlord and Tenant Board offers an explanation of how the Board will consider limitation dates falling within the suspension period. If a limitation period was set to expire during the suspension period, the number of days between March 16 and when it was supposed to expire are added starting September 14, 2020, to determine end of the limitation period.

What of limitation periods that arise within but are not set to expire between March 16 and September 14, 2020? The Board website offers no example of how such a scenario will be interpreted by the Board. It may be that the limitation period will not start to run until September 14, 2020.

One must be careful to note that the issue is not as clear-cut as simply suspending all limitations until September 14, 2020. The Board makes the following statement on its website:

The Emergency Order also suspends certain deadlines contained in the LTB’s Rules of Procedure such as the 30-day deadline for requesting reviews of LTB orders or requests to correct an order due to an administrative error. It also applies to procedural directions and orders issued by the LTB such as a direction to file and exchange evidence between parties by a certain deadline. However, the Emergency Order also provides that the LTB may decide in a particular case that the deadline should not be suspended.

The regulation allows discretion to be applied Board-wide or on a case-by-case basis. It is not yet clear if the Board will issue directives to implement a Board-wide approach to particular deadlines.

Given the Board's discretion respecting some deadlines, it is imperative that parties act promptly in securing their legal rights at the Board. It is always best to obtain legal advice before taking any actions as a misstep early on can cost time and money.

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