We recently blogged about the current framework governing electronic signatures in Ontario (here). In a May 2021 case, the Divisional Court recognized text messages as a valid digital signature in a dispute between parties over a debt for leasehold improvements and the application of the Limitation Act, 2002.

Civil claims in Ontario must generally be started within two years of an “act or omission” giving right to the claim. The “limitations clock” starts to run on the date of the act or omission but can be extended in certain circumstances such as where a debtor acknowledges the debt to the creditor. The acknowledgment must be in writing and signed. The clock starts to run on the date of the acknowledgment.

In this case, there was a dispute over money owing to a contractor. Some invoices were paid but the last was partially outstanding. The parties exchanged text messages on June 2, 2016, where the debtor recognized the debt but refused to make payment until the project was completed to his satisfaction. The contractor brought a claim in the Small Claims Court for the balance owing and successfully argued that the text exchange was an acknowledgment of debt under s.13 the Limitation Act, 2002 and the claim was brought in time of the two-year limitation period (with the clock starting from the date of that text exchange).  The text exchange was within 2 years of the start of the claim.  The last payment made to the contractor was outside of 2 years of the start of the claim.


Continue Reading E-signatures continued – Are text messages valid digital signatures?

Electronic signatures are the new normal in most corporate transactions. With physical distancing, gathering restrictions and many working remotely, electronic signatures make it easy for business to continue as usual, including at condominiums.

Meeting minutes, status certificates, proxies and requisitions, etc. may all be signed electronically.

But what is an electronic signature and when is it valid?


Continue Reading Condo business as usual with electronic signatures

OOctober 1, 2019, the prompt payment and adjudication regime of the Construction Act (the “Act”) came into force to improve payment and cashflow to contractors on construction projectsThe changes apply to any contract between a contractor and property owner for the supply of services or materials for any alteration, addition or capital repair to the land (among other work)Any condo who is party to such a contract is subject to the “28-7-7-7” prompt payment clock and adjudication regime.   

The changes also amended traditional construction lien legislation, including the deadlines to preserve and perfect a lien and holdback releases  

This is Part I of our two-part series, where we explore how these changes impact construction contracts, specifically the CCDC 2 Stipulated Price Contract, and projects at condos now that we have had about 1.5 years (and a pandemic!) to reflect on it 


Continue Reading Construction Act impact on condo projects  

Lozano v. TSCC 1765 was one of our Top 10 cases for 2020 because it reaffirmed that a higher negligence threshold is not applicable for s.105 chargebacks. You can read a summary of the case in our newsletter, Condo Alert!, Winter 2020

 Lozano’s insurer (who paid the insurance deductible) appealed the 2020 decision, asking the Divisional Court to re-write s.105 of the Condo Act and adopt a “robust” negligence test for liability under that section. The court rejected this proposal and dismissed the appeal a few days ago. 


Continue Reading Never mind the ballcocks, here’s the shut-off valve 

We recently blogged about the mandatory registration for short-term rental operators in the City of Toronto. You can read it about it here 

You can now report short-term rental addresses that are operating without registration, not used as a principal residence, unsafe, causing a nuisance or for other non-emergencies, using 311’s online

The courts kicked-off the year with the release of a decision discussing condominium arbitrations and the importance of explicit appeal rights in arbitration agreements.

This case involved a unit owner, who operated a legal cannabis store at the condominium building. The condo   believed this breached a rule prohibiting cannabis sale at the property. Through an

There are limited circumstances where directors of condominium corporations can be personally liable for oppressive conduct under Condominium Act, 1998.

In a recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision, the declarant (also a unit owner at a vacant land condominium corporation) sued the condominium corporation and the individual directors.  The allegations of oppressive conduct by the condo and directors included exaggerating construction deficiencies and not repairing them at the same time, implementing rules that impeded the declarant’s ability to rent units and adding these issues to status certificates (among other allegations). The condo corporation brought a motion to throw out the claim against the individual directors under the rules of the court.

The court threw out the claim against the individual directors because:

  • the declarant did not provide sufficient particulars as to what each individual director is alleged to have done, as differentiated from the condo corporation’s alleged conduct; and
  • the alleged conduct of the individual directors did not result in any personal benefit or increase their control in any way; and
  • there was no reasonable basis in the claim for the court to decide whether the alleged oppression could be rectified by a monetary order against the directors personally.


Continue Reading No oppression claim against directors personally unless a director instigates the conduct

Most  condos  now conduct business through electronic meetings, which can be recorded by the host.  Meeting recordings are not a novel concept but our recent dependence on electronic meetings has given them new life.  Minute takers have historically recorded in-person meetings to aid in accurate minutes and to best recall the details of important discussions.  Similarly, an electronic meeting recording can serve the same purpose – ensuring accuracy and transparency in meetings where there is a broad interest to owners but owners can’t attend in the traditional sense.  We are never against something that promotes but also clearly memorializes (hopefully) fair process.

The electronic condo meeting and recording should be for the benefit of the condo and its owners.  To ensure that, we’ve developed  best practices for electronic meeting recordings, which can translate to in-person meetings too.


Continue Reading Electronic meeting recordings and best practices

The City of Toronto has recently announced that the registration system for short-term rental operators or hosts will launch on September 10, 2020. Homeowners who rent their principal home or condo on a short-term basis (a period of less than 28 consecutive days) must register with the City by the end of year and renew