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Litigating during COVID-19 and other notable litigation developments in 2020

Author(s): Laura Fric, Robert Carson, Tristram Mallett, Céline Legendre, Éric Préfontaine, Emily MacKinnon

Dec 8, 2020

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many courts and tribunals to shut their doors. This article highlights a number of the changes and adaptations related to the conduct of litigation that were adopted as a result of the lockdowns. It also examines several other significant litigation developments during 2020, including material amendments to the Ontario class actions statute, as well as important guidance from the Supreme Court of Canada regarding litigation funding as a tool in restructurings and the test for authorizing a class proceeding in Québec.

The emergence of virtual hearings and examinations

Although shutdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on litigation proceedings, litigation activity has largely rebounded across Canada, even as many courts continue to limit in-person attendance. Courts and tribunals have increasingly embraced virtual hearings and examinations. Indeed, many courts and tribunals have required matters to proceed virtually over the objections of the parties...