New amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure permit the electronic perfection of construction liens

On March 23, 2020, Ontario amended the Rules of Civil Procedure to permit electronic filing through the Civil Claims Online Portal of an expanded scope of documents (see the Notice to the Profession here and the amendments here).

Included in new list of documents capable of e-filing are a certificate of action under section 36 of the Construction Act.  What this means is that construction liens, which may continue to be preserved through electronic registration via Teraview, can now be perfected through electronic issuance and filing of a certificate of action.  

While liens are now capable of being electronically preserved and perfected, the province’s order under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act continues to suspend the limitation period for preserving and perfecting construction liens under s. 31 and 36 of the Construction Act (see our earlier analysis here).  So, despite the ability to remotely and electronically preserve and perfect construction liens, the deadlines for doing so remain suspended.  Prudent claimants may still want to take advantage of the electronic means to ensure that their liens are timely preserved and perfected. Likewise, owners should continue to monitor whether liens have been registered on title during the COVID-19 crisis, as that will directly impact the release of statutory holdback.

For the latest information, please visit our COVID-19 hub, or if you have questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your business, please contact your McCarthy Tétrault trusted advisor or one of the authors.

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