On March 26, 2020, Corporations Canada issued a notice (Notice) entitled “Annual meetings of federal corporations during the COVID-19 outbreak”.  The Notice acknowledges that hosting in-person annual meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak would contradict public health advice to practice physical distancing and self-isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and outlines options for federal corporations to consider in order to remain compliant with the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA).

Continue Reading 2020 Annual Meetings – Notice from Corporations Canada

The Co-Directors of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement recently issued a Public Statement emphasizing the importance of maintaining market integrity and following corporate controls and procedures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to them, in the current circumstances, corporate insiders are regularly learning new material non-public information that

On Monday, March 23, 2020, the Quebec government announced that as of midnight Tuesday, March 24, all non-relevant/non-essential businesses and commercial activity in the province will be on “pause” – essentially, shut down – until April 13. If you operate or own a business, this measure, together with Covid-19, will inevitably disrupt your supply chain and production process, will isolate your workforce, and, perhaps, negatively impact your financial forecasts.

This article examines if and how, under the laws in Quebec, a party to a contract could claim COVID-19 and/or the government shutdown of your business, as a force majeure allowing one to put an end to, or temporarily suspend, its contractual obligations.

The law in Quebec provides that, where an event is determined to be a force majeure, the debtor is released from performing its contractual obligations and from liability, in whole or in part and either temporarily or permanently. This legal provision may be modified by the terms of a contract by providing specifically for a force majeure clause allowing a party to be excused from the performance of its obligations, in whole or in part, or to suspend said performance because of the occurrence of some specified event or condition. Whether contained in a contractual clause or not, each situation must be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine the effect of a given situation. Even if contained in a contract, clauses vary from one to another and must be carefully analysed. Clauses that are silent regarding pandemics, epidemics and other disease outbreaks are likely to be insufficient for a force majeure defense due to COVID-19. If, on the other hand, the force majeure clause clearly covers a pandemic such as COVID-19, parties seeking to invoke the provision will have a lower burden of establishing that the event was unforeseeable. In addition, the coronavirus may qualify as a force majeure event when broader wording such as “Act of God,” or “circumstances beyond a party’s reasonable control” is included in the contract.
Continue Reading COVID-19, Government order to shut down operations and Force Majeure Clauses. What Does It Mean? What Can You Do?

On March 23, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to announce that the CSA has published local blanket orders (Blanket Orders) for market participants that provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by market participants on or before June 1, 2020. Market

It is likely that a trend will emerge in the coming months of cancelled transactions leading to litigation as to whether the impact of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) amounts to a “disaster” or a force majeure under various agreements. Standard underwriting agreements contain termination provisions, some of which may be triggered by COVID-19.

On March 18, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to advise that they will be providing temporary relief from some regulatory filings including financial statements, management’s discussion and analysis, management reports of fund performance, annual information forms, technical reports (the Relief). The Relief will provide issuers, investment funds,

On March 16, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to address how reporting issuers should handle any delays in their reporting obligations (CSA Release).

Any reporting issuer that anticipates the current COVID-19 outbreak will result in an inability to comply with their obligations under securities legislation (including

As concerns increase over COVID-19 and measures have been established by governmental authorities to limit public gatherings and restrict travel, corporations are considering alternatives to in-person annual shareholders’ meetings. Holding your corporation’s shareholders’ meeting virtually, whether wholly or in part, either by audio or video, if authorized under your corporation’s laws of incorporation and general

In January 2018, we posted this article on Timely Disclosure, “Bringing Your Annual Meeting into the Digital Age”. Virtual annual meetings have become highly relevant in light of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Shareholders may well be reluctant to attend annual meetings; numerous public companies are examining measures they can take so that