Bill 19: Covid-19 Related Measures Act

Under the authority of the Emergency Program Act, the BC government passed a number of Covid-19 Ministerial Orders relating that were to stay in affect during the duration of the provincial state of emergency. These orders were set to expire with the end of the state of emergency, which is set to expire on July 21, 2020 but with the passing of the Covid-19 Related Measures Act a number of the orders will remain in force for an additional 45-90 days depending on the order.

The Limitation Act, [SBC 2012] C13, sets out the limitation periods within BC for commencing a legal claim against another individual or entity. The basic limitation period within BC is 2 years from the date of discovery of the loss or claim. More specific limitation periods can apply depending on the claim. If a person does not commence a legal action with the limitation period there claim can be dismissed simply for being filed outside the limitation period. During the state of emergency ministerial order 86 and 98 were made which suspended all limitation periods for the duration of the state of emergency. With the passing of Covid-19 Related Measures Act individuals have another 45 days after the expiration of the state of emergency to file their legal actions and not have the Limitation Act apply.

In response to the Covid-19 economic crisis, Ministerial Order 195 was made to respond to concerns about the vulnerability of tenants. During the time period that the ministerial order was in effect a landlord could not give a notice to end a tenancy for non-payment of rent unless very specific circumstances were enacted. With the passing of Covid-19 Related Measures Act the rules sets out in ministerial order will continue to apply for 45 days after the expiration of the state of emergency. It is anticipated that additional orders or legislation will be forthcoming to address how these forms of eviction after that time period expires.

The residential tenancy branch is indicating that tenants and landlords will have to enter into repayment plans for any rent not paid during the state of emergency and that they will not be granting evictions for non-payment of rent during the state of emergency unless the repayment plan has been breached. The tenancy branch has not provided any further details on how these repayment plans will be entered into if a disagreement exists between the tenant and landlord regarding the terms or how non-payment of rent for months after the state of emergency will be addressed.

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