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Ontario suspends limitation periods, directs bar to serve documents via e-mail

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 @ 3:12 PM | By Amanda Jerome


On March 20 an order-in-council was made under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, suspending limitation periods and procedural time periods in Ontario.

According to the order, “any provision of any statute, regulation, rule, by-law or order of the government of Ontario establishing any limitation period shall be suspended for the duration of the emergency, and the suspension shall be retroactive to Monday, March 16, 2020.”

The order also provides that “any provision of any statute, regulation, rule, by-law or order of the Government of Ontario establishing any period of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding in Ontario, including any intended proceeding, shall, subject to the direction of the court, tribunal or other decision-maker responsible for the proceeding, be suspended for the duration of the emergency.” This is also retroactive until March 16.

According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, another emergency order has been issued under the same Act which changes how documents are served on the Crown and “related entities.”

According to the Ministry’s guide on serving documents, “documents for civil (non-criminal) cases to be served on the Crown and related entities must now be served by e-mail.”

This applies to documents served on:

  • The Crown
  • Ministers of the Crown, including the Attorney General of Ontario
  • The Children’s Lawyer
  • The Public Guardian and Trustee and
  • The Director of the Family Responsibility Office.

The guide dictates that, “effective immediately, the following documents for any civil (non-criminal) proceeding, administrative proceeding or intended proceeding must be served by e-mail until further notice to: cloc.reception@ontario.ca for originating processes (e.g., a notice of claim, a statement of claim, a notice of application or other document that initiates a proceeding) to be served on the Crown or any Minister of the Crown including the Attorney General of Ontario; clbsupport@ontario.ca for a Notice of Constitutional Question to be served on the Attorney General of Ontario; frolegalservice@ontario.ca for any legal document required to be served on the Director of the Family Responsibility Office; OCL.LegalDocuments@ontario.ca for matters required to be served on the Children’s Lawyer including service on any other person where a document must be left with the Children’s Lawyer; PGT-Legal-Documents@ontario.ca for matters required to be served on the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee including service on any other person where a document must be left with the Public Guardian and Trustee; the e-mail address of the counsel of record for the Crown, Minister, Family Responsibility Office, Children’s Lawyer or Public Guardian and Trustee in any ongoing proceedings (for any documents other than originating processes).”

The Ontario Court of Appeal has also directed that, as of March 23 and “until further notice,” its intake office, records office and judges' reception counter services will be closed.

“All filings can be mailed, sent via e-mail to coa.e-file@ontario.ca or dropped off outside the Intake Office,” the court’s website states.