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LIENS - Obtaining a lien - Registration - Time limits - Extension

Wednesday, April 07, 2021 @ 6:20 AM  

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Appeal by the defendant from a master’s decision dismissing the defendant’s claim that a certificate of pending litigation (CPL) filed against its property was filed late. On May 19, 2020, the plaintiff commenced the action. On May 25, 2020, the plaintiff filed the CPL against the property of the defendant. In February or March 2020, a pandemic was declared by the government of British Columbia with respect to COVID-19. On March 26, 2020, the provincial Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued Ministerial Order M086 under the declared state of emergency arising from the pandemic. It included a “Limitation Periods (COVID-19) Order.” On April 8, 2020, the Minister issued Ministerial Order M098. The defendant claimed before the master that the CPL had to be filed by May 7, 2020. The plaintiff said the CPL had to be filed by May 27, 2020, and it was filed on May 25, 2020. The master concluded that the effect of MO86 was to extend the limitation period applicable to the plaintiff by 20 days. She disagreed with the defendant that MO98 eliminated that extension.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. MO86 suspended all limitation periods from March 26, 2020, to the date when the state of emergency ended (as yet unknown). MO98 repealed MO86 and replaced it with new limitation orders. The government’s intention was that MO98 would not apply prior to April 8, 2020. MO98 did not apply retroactively to eliminate what MO86 did. If the government’s intention was to retroactively eliminate the effect of MO86, that would have been a significant event and it would have been stated in clear language. The master’s analysis and conclusion were correct. The limitation period applicable to the plaintiff was extended by MO86 for about 20 days.

Canada Hanjiang Construction Ltd. v. Lee's Noodle House Ltd., [2021] B.C.J. No. 247, British Columbia Supreme Court, J. Steeves J., February 11, 2021. Digest No. TLD-April52021003