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Suspension of Limitation Periods in Alberta during COVID-19
Suspension of Limitation Periods and UPDATE to Managing Condos in the COVID-19 Situation
Please note that this is not legal advice, and all situations should be thoroughly reviewed with counsel before measures are adopted.
Suspension of Limitation Periods in Alberta during COVID-19 Situation
The Government of Alberta has issued temporary amendments to various legislation during the COVID-19 public health state of emergency. On April 9, 2020, the Minister of Service Alberta issued this Ministerial Order which temporarily affects the Condominium Property Act and regulation ("Act"), the Residential Tenancies Act and various other statutes, for 60 days, or as otherwise directed. The sections of the Ministerial Order that apply to condominiums in Alberta can be found at paragraphs 17 and 18. Please email us for a comparison table of the changes.
The earlier Ministerial Order of March 17, 2020, suspended the limitation period under the Limitations Act, and several other statutes, from March 17, 2020 to June 1, 2020, or as otherwise directed. This means condo corporations wishing to file claims will have more time to do so.
AGMs via Video Conference
In our earlier article "Managing condos in the COVID-19 Situation", we pointed out that the Act does not actually prohibit virtual AGMs; the Act just doesn't speak to it all. It is worth noting that the Ministerial Order dated April 4, 2020, provides the following comments on virtual meetings:
- 17(5) The requirement for an annual general meeting to be held under section 30 is suspended. For clarity, this does not preclude a condominium corporation from holding an annual general meeting through remote means, such as videoconference, teleconference or other means. (Underlining added.)
At first blush the commentary suggests the Government permits virtual AGMs; However, we believe this is a temporary exception supporting the emergency measures being taken. The commentary is not the law, and virtual AGMs are not specifically authorized under the Act. Based on the current unprecedented situation, we would suggest that boards seriously consider the virtual meeting, but prior to so doing, policies and procedures should be considered and some guidelines put in place.
During this public health emergency, estoppels may be an issue for condo corporations in respect of getting them signed and sealed. Neither the Act nor regulation lists the formalities of estoppel certificates. This means estoppels issued might not need to be sealed to be valid; they may only need to be signed by the correct signing authorities. It is imperative to check whether the bylaws specifically require adding the seal to an estoppel, or whether they have any other "wet ink" or "seal" requirements that the board needs to be aware of.
You may review Sharek & Co.'s other articles on the COVID-19 situation here, or send us a request for same by email.
Please send us an email if you would like to discuss this further.
David van Leenen, Managing Partner
Barrister & Solicitor
Direct: 780 917 6933
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