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B.C. civil resolution tribunal extends deadlines, waives fees during pandemic

Wednesday, April 08, 2020 @ 12:40 PM | By Ian Burns

The British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is extending statutory deadlines and waiving fees for those struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CRT announced April 8 it will consider extending deadlines for applications and dispute responses upon request. The CRT, which operates online 24/7, has the authority to resolve disputes involving strata property, societies and co-operative associations; small claims valued at $5,000 and under; and motor vehicle personal injury cases valued at $50,000 and under.

The CRT says it has extended deadlines for respondents who are impacted by the pandemic until at least May 15. For this reason, the CRT will not process new applications for default decisions and orders from March 18, until at least May 15. A default decision is when the CRT decides in favour of an applicant because the other party did not respond to the dispute by the deadline.

The CRT’s announcement adds that anyone who needs the tribunal to consider waiving, suspending or extending a mandatory time period is encouraged to contact the tribunal immediately, with their dispute number and the reason for the request, by e-mail or phone. The CRT can consider altering timelines only during a declared state of emergency. Once the state of emergency ends, regular deadlines will apply.

The CRT waives fees for those who cannot afford to pay them. CRT fees, for items such as filing an application for dispute resolution, adding third-party claims or filing a notice of objection over a decision, range from $25 to $200.

People with low incomes do not have to pay CRT fees. If a person cannot afford CRT fees due to a COVID-19 related loss of income, but do not yet fit the fee waiver guidelines, they can contact the CRT with their dispute number and the CRT will consider their request. People can also ask for a fee waiver at any time in the CRT process if their circumstances change.

The CRT said it is monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it progresses and may extend the May 15 timeline further in the interest of fairness.