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Further Update on Operational Changes Impacting Alberta Courts

03-Apr-20

By the McLennan Ross Litigation Team

Courts:

  • On March 30, 2020, the Government of Alberta enacted a Ministerial Order suspending limitation periods in certain Alberta legislation from March 17, 2020 – June 1, 2020. The limitation period or period of time resumes running on June 1, 2020 and the temporary suspension period shall not be counted.
    • The Ministerial Order also stipulates that any period of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding or intended proceeding is suspended subject to the discretion of the court, tribunal or other decisions makes from March 17, 2020 – June 1, 2020.
    • The Ministerial Order and a full list of the legislation affected by the suspension can be found here.
  • In the context of litigation, as the Ministerial Order suspends the period of time in which any step must be taken in a proceeding, the suspension period must be factored into any application under Rule 4.31 and 4.33 to dismiss a claim for delay.
  • Due to the reduction in activity resulting from the COVID–19 pandemic, the Court of Queen’s Bench will be hearing urgent matters on a case by case basis. A list of the potential matters that can be heard can be found here. The Court invites Counsel to submit requests where appropriate to address urgent legal needs the matters listed are not an exhaustive list.
  • To accommodate the needs of the public and reduce the spread of COVID–19, the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General has made new Orders in Council with respect to electronic documents and their usage in the Provincial Court of Alberta.
  • The new changes  made pursuant to the Electronic Documents Regulation appending the Provincial Court Act, RSA 2000 c. P-31 include the following:
    • The definition of and application of electronic documents;
    • Documents that are required to be made in writing or require a signature;
    • Electronic documents as original documents;
    • Signatures in electronic documents;
    • Oaths and solemn affirmations;
    • Electronic document retention; and,
    • Exceptions to the use of electronic documents.
    • More information can be found here.
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