Let’s dial back to January 25, 2020. We were still living our lives like we always had. Commuting to work, visiting with family and friends, dining out, and vacationing. But that day, we learned about Canada’s first COVID-19 case. And it set in motion a chain of events that would soon change everything. Lockdowns and calls for physical distancing led to businesses shifting to work from home, travel restrictions, rules about wearing masks, and cancellation of major events. Video meetings replaced in-person interactions as people were asked to avoid seeing anyone, even loved ones. Perhaps the biggest change in our daily lives has been the isolation from friends, family and co-workers.

What has changed during the pandemic since January 2020?

Family Law

Last year at this time, the court system allowed access to children to continue between households as long as proper precautionary COVID-19 measures were being taken. Dad could pick up the kids from Mom’s home and take them to his place. Grandparents could pick up the kids for the day and drop them off that evening. That changed with the stay-at-home-order issued by the province as of January 14, 2021. Enhanced enforcement measures were introduced to reduce mobility. The order requires everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely. The good news is that the Ontario government is providing new financial supports for individuals, families and small businesses, as they do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the province’s health care system during the provincewide shutdown. For example, starting last January, students aged 13 through Grade 12 will be eligible for funding under an expanded Support for Learners program. Parents or guardians will receive a one-time payment of $200 per eligible student to help offset education expenses. Support will be available for those who attend a public or private school or who are homeschooled.

Courts reopening

Last year, Ontario initiated a plan to return to full court operations. While they began resuming activities and easing restrictions over the summer and early fall, many courts are now reintroducing restrictions as various regions experience a second wave of infections. In most jurisdictions, hearings that were adjourned have now been resumed; limitation periods that were previously suspended have restarted; and procedures and timelines for filings have continued on an amended basis. However, the courts have modified their normal operations substantially, and continue to update and adjust them on an ongoing basis.

Howard Nightingale Professional Corporation has adapted its legal practice to support you during the pandemic

At our law firm, we’re taking measures to safeguard the health and safety of our clients and employees while ensuring that we continue to provide the same level of business continuity and service. This includes all our services:

We meet with our clients on Zoom calls, conduct transactions with and for them remotely, including witnessing and signing, and deliver documents to them either electronically or via courier. We miss the face-to-face contact with our clients, but at the end of the day their safety is our top priority right now. Howard Nightingale Professional Corporation is here to help you and your family during the pandemic in 2021.

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