Force Majeure Provisions to add to Real Estate Contracts: Do you need one?

 

Generally, a “Force Majeure” clause is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, plague (e.g. COVID-19), or an event described by the legal phrase ‘Act of God’ prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, the standard Contract of Purchase and Sale for real estate contracts in British Columbia did not include Force Majeure provisions.

Realtors, buyers, and sellers now need to consider the use of such provisions within these contracts.

The events that trigger the Force Majeure clause must be clearly defined in the clause. For example, it may not be sufficient to simply reference the phrase “COVID-19”.  It is suggested that more needs to be stated, such as:

“In this contract, a Force Majeure event is deemed to have occurred where, because of COVID-19, any of the following events make it impossible to complete a party’s obligation under the contract:

  • The closure of government offices including without limitation the Land Titles Office including the inability to register transfer or mortgage documents;
  • The closure of banks and credit unions and the inability to obtain financing, cash, credit or immediately available funds in the form of cashier’s cheques, bank drafts or official credit union cheques;
  • The inability to obtain advice from professional consultants including appraisers and engineers;
  • The inability to provide vacant possession because a tenant cannot be evicted until the Pandemic is over;
  • The closure of law and notary offices and the inability to retain and instruct counsel; and
  • The inability of counsel to close the transaction due to a lack of staff or lawyers conversant with the subject matter of the transaction;”

Such an operative clause will act as a shield for the party affected by the event of Force Majeure so that a party can rely on that clause as a defence to a claim that it has failed to fulfil its obligations under the contract.

An Operative Clause should also specifically deal with the rights and obligations of the parties if a Force Majeure event occurs and affects the transaction. In other words, should the inability to complete the transaction only continue as long as the Force Majeure event continues, following which both parties shall promptly resume performance under the contract as soon as is practicable.

 

The following is an example of an Operative Clause:

  1. Neither party is responsible for any failure to perform its obligations under this contract if it is prevented or delayed in performing those obligations by an event of Force Majeure.
  2. Where there is an event of Force Majeure, the party prevented from or delayed in performing its obligations under this contract must immediately notify the other party giving full particulars of the event of Force Majeure and the reasons for the event of Force Majeure preventing that party from, or delaying that party in performing its obligations under this contract and that party must use its reasonable efforts to mitigate the effect of the event of Force Majeure upon its or their performance of the contract and to fulfil its or their obligations under the contract.
  3. Upon termination of those Force Majeure events that have caused a party to be unable to perform, the party affected must as soon as reasonably practicable recommence the performance of its obligations under this contract.
  4. An event of Force Majeure does not relieve a party from liability for an obligation which arose before the occurrence of that event, nor does that event affect the obligation to pay money in a timely manner which matured prior to the occurrence of that event.
  5. Neither party has an entitlement or liability for:
    • any costs, losses, expenses, damages or the payment of any part of the contract price during an event of force majeure; and
    • any delay costs in any way incurred by either party due to an event of Force Majeure.

 

Heath Law LLP provides experienced legal services to realtors, buyers, and sellers. Contact us via phone or email if you require legal advice regarding a real-estate contract.

COVID-19 – Occupational Health and Safety Policy: Do you have one?

Worksafe BC requires that those employers whose employees are working from home due to COVID-19 should ensure they have a basic Health and Safety Policy.

The Health and Safety Policy should contain an acknowledgment from the employee that he or she understands their role, duties, and responsibilities and that they agree to abide by the Health and Safety Policy.

The employer would also sign an acknowledgment that they acknowledge and are aware of the contents of the Health and Safety Policy.

The Health and Safety Policy should require employees to conduct an assessment of their workplace and report any possible or actual hazards to their manager or supervisor.

If any such hazards are discovered, there should be a plan made by both the employer and employee to ensure the safety of the employee.

The Health and Safety Policy should also specifically refer to the following:

  • The procedure for the employee to evacuate from the home or temporary workplace to a safe location in case of emergency; this can only be done by the employee as the employer should not access the home at this time due to COVID-19.
  • The manner in which the employee is to contact the employer in case of an emergency; identify the contact person of the employer, their office, and cell number and e-mail.
  • A statement from the employer to the employee that the employee working at home should use the same safe workplace practices that are expected from them at work.
  • A statement from the employer to the employee describing the procedure for how an employee should report a work-related incident or injury to their employer; identify the contact person of the employer, their office and cell phone numbers, and e-mail.
  • A statement from the employer to the employee that the employee should be as cognisant at home as they are at work about ergonomics; that the employee should take steps to mitigate the risk of developing a musculoskeletal injury.
  • A statement from the employer that the physical risk factors associated with an employee developing musculoskeletal injury by working at home include without limitation repetition and work posture.
  • A statement by the employer that the employee can learn more about musculoskeletal injury, assess the risk in their home, and actively take steps to reduce the risk by reading the following: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/hazards-exposures/ergonomics

 

Heath Law LLP provides a full range of services to employers in British Columbia. If you require assistance contact Heath Law LLP by phone or email.

COVID-19 Pandemic – Commercial Retailers Defaulting Rental Payments Increases

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that is currently plaguing the world, some commercial retailers have been forced to close their doors.  With no income, the likelihood of these commercial retailers defaulting on their rental payments increases.  What should the commercial landlord do with the defaulting tenant taking into account the world at large?

The commercial landlord has many options available.  The landlord should first provide a default curing period.  Often there are stipulations in the tenancy agreement itself which supply the curing period, but if there isn’t, the landlord should consider extending a curing period unless the landlord seeks to immediately terminate to regain possession of the premises.

The landlord should also consider a variety of tenant concessions unless as stated previously, the landlord wants to regain possession of the premises.  Some examples of concessions would include:

  • Basic Rent abatement or deferral;
  • Basic Rent suspension for defined periods (i.e. 3-6 months or longer depending on the nature of the tenancy);
  • Basic Rent deferrals for a defined period and a corresponding increase in Basic Rent at a point in the future to make up for the Basic Rent deferral;
  • Either eliminating or reducing the obligation to pay Basic Rent and replacing it with the requirement to pay Percentage Rent for a defined period of time;
  • Abating or suspending both Basic Rent and Operating Costs. Typically landlords like to recover at least their out of pocket expenses such as realty taxes, insurance, utilities still and maintenance costs;
  • Reduction or elimination of administrative fee and/or management fee component of operating cost charge;
  • Reduction or elimination of promotional and marketing fees;
  • Reduction of services offered and performed at the property to effect a reduction in operating costs to be charged to tenants during the COVID pandemic;
  • Depending on the size of the property, number of tenants and nature of the tenancies in a given property, a landlord can consider a reduction of services provided to tenants during the state of emergency, which would potentially reduce operating costs;
  • If the landlord would rather that a particular tenant vacate its premises, then the landlord may consider building in an automatic termination or an option to terminate for the landlord.
  • Ensure that any concession you agree to clearly provides the following:
    • a consideration clause;
    • when the concession expires;
    • that the lease is otherwise in full force and effect and remains unamended;
    • time shall continue to remain of the essence;
    • the concession is not a waiver of any other clause in the lease;
    • an indemnitor signature, if applicable.

Further options available to the landlord include terminating the lease, suing for arrears and distraint.

If the landlord elects to terminate the lease, the tenant will have to vacate the premises.  This remedy would not be advisable if the landlord wants the tenant to remain in the premises, does not have a replacement tenant for the premises or if the landlord does not intend to use the premises themselves.

If the landlord sues for arrears, this action affirms the tenancy meaning the landlord can’t sue for arrears and then terminate the lease for failure to pay those same arrears.

Distraint allows a landlord to seize the tenant’s goods on the premises with a view to eventually having those goods sold to pay for the arrears of rent.  There are special rules that a landlord must adhere to when exercising their right of distraint.  They must only seize and sell those goods necessary to pay the rent arrears, there has to be an appraisal of the goods and the goods that are seized have to be the tenant’s goods. Also, similar to suing for arrears, if this option is chosen, then the lease will have been affirmed and the landlord cannot terminate for that same breach.

If you need legal advice with regard to a commercial tenancy please contact Heath Law LLP at 250-753-2202.

Ski-hill Lift Tickets – Liability, Unilateral Contracts, Negligence Exclusion

In certain situations, such as obtaining a lift ticket for a ski-hill, “unilateral contracts” are used by one of the parties to the contract (i.e., the ski hill) which set out specific conditions the other party (i.e., the consumer) must accept if the consumer wants to proceed with using the ticket.  Are all the terms and conditions of these unilateral contracts binding on the consumer even if the consumer did not sign or have any part in the formation of the contract?

A recent case from the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) Apps v. Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd., 2020 BCCA 78 [Apps] addressed the requirements for unilateral contracts to be binding when the consumer does not sign a contract.

The unfortunate facts of Apps are as follows.  The plaintiff was a snowboarder who became a quadriplegic after attempting a large jump at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC.  The plaintiff was an Australian who was living, working and snowboarding in Whistler, he was only 20 at the time of his injury.

The plaintiff alleged that the jump was negligently designed, constructed, maintained and inspected by Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain, in defence, relied on an exclusion of liability waiver which it said constituted a complete defence. The British Columbia Supreme Court (“BCSC”) dismissed the plaintiff’s action. The BCCA overturned the BCSC’s decision.

The type of waiver Grouse Mountain was relying on was an “own negligence exclusion”.  This type of exclusion not only excludes liability for the risks inherent in the use of Grouse Mountain’s product or service, but also liability for negligence caused by Grouse Mountain itself.

The BCCA stated that “own negligence exclusions” are among the more onerous conditions to be placed into contracts, meaning that for Grouse Mountain to rely on the exclusion it must have taken reasonable steps to bring the exclusion to the attention of the Plaintiff.

The BCCA concluded that not enough had been done by Grouse Mountain to bring the “own negligence exclusion” to the plaintiff’s attention before he entered into the contract. The exclusion was included in a posted sign above the counter where the lift tickets were sold, but the text was difficult to read, and the “own negligence exclusion” was not emphasized.  This would be considered the pre-contractual notice (before the ticket was purchased).  Post-contractual notice (after the ticket was purchased) of the “own negligence exclusion” appeared on the back of the lift ticket and on a sign in the terrain park.  The BCCA concluded that post-contractual notice has no bearing on whether Grouse Mountain gave sufficient notice to the Plaintiff.

Grouse Mountain also attempted to rely on the plaintiff’s knowledge of the presence of these types exclusions due to his previous employment at Whistler and having signed such an exclusion for his Whistler’s Season Pass.  The BCCA found that the plaintiff’s previous experience with “own negligence exclusions” from his experiences at Whistler did not mean he had actual knowledge of Grouse Mountain’s specific clause.

The BCCA therefore overturned the BCSC decision and allowed the plaintiff to continue his action.

For businesses that are concerned about what proper notice would look like, the BCCA provided some indicators of proper notice.  To rely on any type of waiver which will result in the consumer losing legal rights, a service provider should, before contract formation, ensure that the “own negligence clause” is clearly brought to the attention of the consumer by using large, colorful and bold text and literally mention the “own negligence clause” to the consumer.

COVID-19 and Contract Obligations

Contracts are of vital importance to the workings of society.  They hold people accountable to their promises and actions.  When a contract has the necessary elements (offer, acceptance, and consideration) as well as being properly signed, the parties will be bound to whatever promises were made in the contract.

Often, contracts have stipulations that address situations in which a party does not meet their contractual obligations.  It is easy to see why such stipulations are placed in contracts.  If you exchange promises with someone else and you fulfill your obligations and the other party does not, you should have recourse against the other party.

However, what if something arises that couldn’t be anticipated by either party to the contract which stops one or both parties from fulfilling their promises under the contract.  A “Force Majeure” clause is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, plague, or an event described by the legal term act of God prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

Could COVID-19 activate a force majeure clause in a contact?  It depends on a multitude of factors.  A non-exhaustive list is as follows:

  • The wording of the particular force majeure clause;
  • What the obligations were under the contract; and
  • The steps the parties have taken to try to fulfill their obligations.

The force majeure clause must have language broad enough to capture events such as COVID-19.  Further, the obligations under the contract must be such that the effects of COVID-19 would make it impossible for the party to complete their obligations under the contract and the parties must act with the honest intention of actually fulfilling their obligations.  A party cannot simply rely on COVID-19 as an excuse for not performing.

It is always advisable for one to fulfill their contractual obligations but sometimes situations arise in which contract performance is impossible through no fault of their own.  In those situations, a force majeure clause may save a party from recourse by the other.

 

Tax Evasion vs Tax Avoidance

The purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the main differences between tax evasion and tax avoidance.  Everyone wants to avoid paying taxes but it is simply not possible to avoid paying them all together.  Many businesses and individuals devise schemes and plans with third parties (accountants, lawyers) to limit their amount of tax payable.  It is important know the line between what is legal and what is not.  This leads to the first and likely most important takeaway: tax avoidance complies with the letter of the law whereas tax evasion does not.

The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) says that tax avoidance is legal but “is inconsistent with the overall spirit of the law”.  In other words, tax avoidance occurs when the taxpayer does not provide false information to the CRA, but the provisions of the law are used in a manner that was not intended by Parliament.  Even though tax avoidance is legal, the CRA can still use s. 245 of the Income Tax Act, the general anti-avoidance rule, to invalidate tax savings if the benefit came from a series of transactions done with no commercial purpose other than avoiding tax.  Notwithstanding the ‘legality’ of tax avoidance, the CRA can still recapture some of your avoided tax.

The CRA has legitimate avenues available for individuals and businesses to reduce their taxes.  These avenues are referred to as “effective tax planning” by the CRA.  Examples of effective tax planning would be taking advantage of RRSP tax deductions and using tax credits or gaining benefit form certain small business deductions.  Where effective tax planning starts to turn into something more sinister is when the CRA starts to become concerned.  For example, if you start to divert your business income to family members that can be a legitimate way of reducing tax.  However if it is discovered that you are diverting your business income to your 8 year old child, that would likely be considered unscrupulous by the CRA as there is likely no commercial purpose behind the income diversion besides the avoidance of tax.

This leads to a discussion regarding tax evasion.  The CRA describes tax evasion as deliberately ignoring a specific part of the law.  For example, those participating in tax evasion may under-report income or claim deductions for receipts or expenses that are non-deductible or overstated. They might also attempt to evade taxes by willfully refusing to comply with legislated reporting requirements.  Tax evasion violates the object, spirit and letter of the law.  A very important distinction to be made aware is that tax evasion, unlike tax avoidance, has criminal consequences. Tax evaders can face prosecution in criminal court.

Both tax avoidance and tax evasion are not looked at kindly by the CRA as they both violate the spirit of the law.  However, tax evasion goes one step further in actually breaking the law.  This is an important distinction which can result in significant consequences for the tax-payer if they are not careful in their tax planning strategies.

 

 

 

Best Efforts vs Reasonable Efforts
Contracts require the performance of certain obligations. These obligations can be in the form of mandatory obligations which are referred to as covenants. Covenants are usually drafted with imperative language such as “shall” or “must”. There are also contingent obligations which arise upon certain events occurring. They are usually drafted with “If…then” clauses. There can also be obligations that are based on an objective standard. An example of those types of obligations in a contract would be if the contract stipulated a party to use its “best efforts”, “reasonable efforts” or “commercially reasonable efforts”.
One looking at a contract would not probably put much thought into the implications of the words “best efforts” and “reasonable efforts”. However, at law there is a legally significant difference between these standards.
In general, the case law has established that an obligation to use “best efforts” imposes a higher standard than some of the other common phrases found in contracts such as “reasonable efforts”. The leading case on the interpretation of “best efforts” is Atmospheric Diving Systems Inc. v. International Hard Suits Inc. (1994), 89 B.C.L.R. (2d) 356 (B.C. S.C.) [Atmospheric].

The court summarized the principles relating to “best efforts” as follows:

1. “Best efforts” imposes a higher obligation than a “reasonable effort”.

2. “Best efforts” means taking, in good faith, all reasonable steps to achieve the objective, carrying the process to its logical conclusion and leaving no stone unturned.

3. “Best efforts” includes doing everything known to be usual, necessary and proper for ensuring the success of the endeavour.

4. The meaning of “best efforts” is, however, not boundless. It must be approached in the light of the particular contract, the parties to it and the contract’s overall purpose as reflected in its language.

5. While “best efforts” of the defendant must be subject to such overriding obligations as honesty and fair dealing, it is not necessary for the plaintiff to prove that the defendant acted in bad faith.

6. Evidence of “inevitable failure” is relevant to the issue of causation of damage but not to the issue of liability. The onus to show that the failure is inevitable regardless of whether the defendant made “best efforts” rests on the defendant.

7. Evidence that the defendant, had it acted diligently, could have satisfied the “best efforts” test, is relevant evidence that the defendant did not use its “best efforts”.

“Best efforts” does not require a party to disadvantage themselves economically to the point of bankruptcy but it does require for the interests of the other party to be of high priority.
When a contract requires “reasonable efforts” or “commercially reasonable efforts” something less than “best efforts” is required but more than no effort at all. Generally, the courts have interpreted “reasonable efforts” to mean efforts that are reasonable in the circumstances all things considered.

Corporate Law – The Impending Requirement for a Transparency Register in British Columbia

 

British Columbia Bill 24-2019: Business Corporations Amendment Act, 2019 (“Bill 24-2019”)‎ ‎received Royal Assent on May 16, 2019. A copy of Bill 24-2019 can be found here. While Bill 24-2019 is not in effect as of the date of writing this article, the anticipated requirements on businesses in British Columbia are significant.

 

This Bill requires many corporations to maintain a “transparency register” which must list significant individuals. For the purposes of Bill 24-2019, a significant individual is either someone who owns a significant number of shares (i.e. 25% or more of the issued shares of the company or issued shares of the company that carry 25% or more of the rights to vote at general meetings) or someone who can elect, appoint, or remove a majority of the directors of the company. The relevant provisions of Bill 24-2019 with respect to “significant individuals” are reproduced below:

 

Significant individual

119.11  (1) In this section, “significant number of shares”, in respect of a private company, means either of the following:

 

(a) 25% or more of the issued shares of the company;

 

(b) issued shares of the company that carry 25% or more of the rights to vote at general meetings.

 

(2) Subject to any prescribed class of exclusions, an individual is a significant individual in respect of a private company if any of the following apply:

 

(a) the individual has any of the following interests or rights, or any combination of them, in a significant number of shares of the private company:

 

(i) an interest as a registered owner of one or more of the company’s shares;

 

(ii) an interest as a beneficial owner of one or more of the company’s shares, other than an interest that is contingent on the death of another individual;

 

(iii) indirect control, within the meaning of the regulations, of one or more of the company’s shares;

 

(b) the individual has any of the following rights or abilities, or any combination of them, that, if exercised, would result in the election, appointment or removal of the majority of the directors of the private company:

 

(i) the right to elect, appoint or remove one or more of the company’s directors;

 

(ii) indirect control, within the meaning of the regulations, of the right to elect, appoint or remove one or more of the company’s directors;

 

(iii) the ability to exercise direct and significant influence over an individual who has the right or indirect control described in subparagraph (i) or (ii);

 

(c) the individual has a prescribed interest, right or ability in relation to the private company, or a prescribed criterion or circumstance applies to the individual in relation to the private company.

 

At least once a year, within two months of the anniversary the company was recognized as a company in BC, a BC company must update their transparency register. Steps a company can take to determine who significant individuals are may include requesting that a shareholder provide the company with information about significant individuals for the purpose of maintaining the company’s transparency register.

 

Particularly onerous on shareholders, directors, and officers of BC companies impacted by Bill 24-2019 are the new offence provisions under Bill 24-2019. These offence provisions state as follows:

 

Transparency register – incorrect entries and false information

427.1  (1) In this section:

 

“private company” has the same meaning as in section 119.1;

 

“significant individual” means a significant individual under section 119.11.

 

(2) Subject to subsection (4), a private company commits an offence if its transparency register

 

(a) identifies an individual as a significant individual who is not a significant individual in respect of the company,

 

(b) excludes an individual who is a significant individual in respect of the company,

 

(c) contains information about a significant individual that is false or misleading in respect of any material fact, or

 

(d) omits information about a significant individual, the omission of which makes the information false or misleading.

 

(3) If a private company commits an offence under subsection (2), any director or officer of the company who, subject to subsection (4), authorizes, permits or acquiesces in the commission of the offence also commits an offence, whether or not the company is prosecuted or convicted.

 

(4) No person is guilty of an offence under subsection (2) or (3) if the person

 

(a) did not know that the identification or exclusion of the individual was incorrect or that the information about a significant individual was false or misleading, and

 

(b) with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that the identification or exclusion of the individual was incorrect or that the information was false or misleading.

 

(5) Subject to subsection (6), a shareholder of a private company who sends information to the company for the purposes of the company’s transparency register commits an offence if the information

 

(a) is false or misleading in respect of any material fact, or

 

(b) omits any material fact, the omission of which makes the information false or misleading.

 

(6) No person is guilty of an offence under subsection (5) if the person

 

(a) did not know that the information was false or misleading, and

 

(b) with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that the information was false or misleading.

 

In addition to the proposed amendments Bill 24-2109 proposes to make to the Business Corporations Act, regulations with respect to the transparency register are also anticipated to come into force. Due to the prospective liability under the proposed amendments, and the uncertainty with respect to the regulations which have not yet been passed, shareholders, directors, and officers in BC companies should remain vigilant to ensure the requirements of the transparency register are met accurately and within the mandated timelines.

Are electronic signatures Legal?

Each province has enacted functionally equivalent electronic commerce legislation.  BC’s is called the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA).  The ETA states that if there is a requirement under law for the signature of a person, that requirement is satisfied by an electronic signature.  There are however exceptions, as electronic signatures are not accepted for wills, trusts created by wills, powers of attorney, and documents that create or transfer interests in land and that require registration to be effective against third parties.   Besides those documents just mentioned, electronic signatures can seemingly be used for all other types of documents that require signatures.

The ETA provides that consent is required for electronic commerce to be effective.  “Nothing in the ETA requires a person to provide, receive or retain information or a record in electronic form without the person’s consent”.

The definition of electronic signature under the ETA, is quite vague, “[I]nformation in electronic form that a person has created or adopted in order to sign a record and that is in, attached to or associated with the record”.

An electronic signature to meet the rigors of the ETA therefore could be a digitized image of a handwritten signature, a biometric signature such as an electronically recorded thumbprint, a digital signature using a public key infrastructure and a certification authority, or a voiceprint of a person saying his or her name.

The imprecise requirement under the ETA is unlikely to encourage clients nor law firms of the surety of that signature.  A system that guarantees the electronic signature and ensures that the document has not been amended is required.  This is where digital signatures come in.

A digital signature gives the recipient reason to believe that the message was created by a known sender in a way that they cannot deny sending it (authentication) and that the message was not altered in transit (integrity).

 

 

 

Has Someone Failed to Pay You?

The following will outline some basic information for recovering money owed to you under a contract.

The first thing that must be considered is the likelihood of recovering the debt owed.  It is important to remember that just because someone owes you money, it does not mean that they necessarily have the ability to pay you.  It is important to weigh and consider the amount owed to you versus the time and costs of recovery.

The next thing to consider is the limitation period for collecting the debt.  Generally speaking, the limitation period for an action in debt is two years after the claim is discovered.  A claim is discovered when one knew or ought reasonably to have known that injury, loss, or damage had occurred.  If one fails to bring a claim within the limitation period that claim becomes time barred. Note that there is a special rule contained in the Limitation Act as to when a claim on a demand loan is discovered. A demand loan is discovered on the first day there is a failure to perform the obligation after a demand for the performance has been made (s. 14).

Following a determination of the likelihood of recovery and ensuring there is compliance with the limitation period, a demand letter should be sent to the debtor.  This demand letter should outline the name of the creditor, the amount of the debt and the authority of the creditor to collect the debt.  It should also be noted that some contracts provide that a demand has to have been made before any legal action is commenced.

If no payment is received as a result of sending the demand letter it may be advisable to pursue legal action against the debtor.

Before legal action is commenced, one important consideration is which court to sue in.  In BC, there are three different levels of court one can use to recover money owed to them.  The decision as to which court to elect usually comes down to the amount of money the debtor owes.

The three courts are as follows, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”), Small Claims Court and Supreme Court.  The CRT has a monetary cap of $5,000, the Small Claims Court has a monetary cap of $35,000 and there is no cap for Supreme Court.

After court election and assuming you are successful and achieve a judgment against the debtor, the method and availability of executing on that judgment is crucial.  It is possible that you go through the entire legal process and receive nothing because the debtor has no exigible property (property that can be realized on).  This is why it is very important at the initial stage to determine whether or not the debtor has the ability to pay.

The common methods of realizing on a judgment for a debt are through seizing and selling the debtors personal property, registering the judgment against the debtor’s real property or through garnishment (a process by which money owed to the debtor gets paid to you instead).

If you would like legal advice with regard to collecting money owed to you, please contact Heath Law LLP at 250-753-2202 or toll free: 1-866-753-2202.