Ontario Government Extends Emergency Until July 24 and Introduces Bill to Continue Emergency Orders

The Government of Ontario has confirmed that it intends to extend the state of emergency that is currently in place until July 24, 2020.

As noted in our previous blog, the state of emergency is currently in force until July 15, 2020. By extending the Emergency until July 24, 2020, the government is notably seeking to ensure there is no “gap” between the end of the declared Emergency and the coming into effect of new legislation that, if passed, would extend and continue the Emergency Orders which are currently in effect across Ontario.

On July 7, 2020, the government introduced Bill 195 – An Act to enact the Reopening Ontario (Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. This proposed legislation aims to ensure the smooth continuation of the province’s gradual reopening process once the state of emergency comes to an end.

The legislation, if passed, provides for the official termination of the COVID-19 declared emergency (if it has not yet been terminated). The legislation would also continue all orders that are currently in force as Emergency Orders. These orders would be continued for 30 days after the date on which Section 2 of the legislation comes into force. This means that the Emergency Orders that are currently effective until July 10, 2020 will be continued unless they are revoked before the legislation comes into force. Moreover, Section 3(2) of the Act authorizes the Lieutenant Governor in Council to continue the orders after the initial 30-day extension, and this can be done for periods of 30 days at a time – up to a maximum of one year.

Under the proposed legislation, the extension of the Emergency Orders would be retroactive (to a date specified in the amendment). Further, Section 4 of the Act also allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend Emergency Orders to either impose different or more onerous requirements, or to extend the application of the order*. The Emergency Orders can be amended if the changes concern any of the following:

  1. Closing or regulating any place, whether public or private, including any business, office, school, hospital or other establishment or institution;
  1. Providing for rules or practices that relate to workplaces or the management of workplaces, or authorizing the person responsible for a workplace to identify staffing priorities or to develop, modify and implement redeployment plans or rules or practices that relate to the workplace or the management of the workplace, including credentialing processes in a health care facility; or
  1. Prohibiting or regulating gatherings or organized public events.

Orders can also be amended if the amendment requires a person to comply with instructions from a public health official.

[*NOTE: certain Emergency Orders that are set out in Section 4(5) of the proposed legislation cannot be amended. The list of these orders can be found here.]

What does this mean for condominium corporations?

Once the Act comes into force, it will officially terminate the state of emergency (if not already terminated). This means that:

  • the timelines set out in the temporary provisions of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Condominium Act”) will begin to run;
  • the temporary provisions in the Condominium Act will only be effective for another 120 days after the date this Act comes into force;
  • the Emergency Orders will be continued;
  • condominium corporations will need to continue to stay aware of these orders and the impact that they may have on their community.

Although the state of emergency will be over, the restrictions (on gathering sizes, amenities that can be open, face masks, etc.) will remain and could continue to change over the coming months.

Bill 195 successfully went through the first reading before the Legislative Assembly on July 7, 2020 and is expected to be enacted into legislation in the coming weeks. We will be sure to keep you updated on this issue as it progresses!

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments in condominium law!