By Updated Practice Direction and Order dated April 4, 2020, the Federal Court has further extended the Suspension Period to May 15, 2020.  It has simultaneously mapped out a strategy to keep the Court running as efficiently as possible under the circumstances.

During the Suspension Period (which began March 16, 2020 and currently runs until May 15, 2020) all timelines under the Rules, Directions and Orders made prior to March 16, 2020 are suspended. The Court’s intention is that matters will resume on May 15, 2020 from the same place they were as of March 16, 2020. For example, if a party had 3 days to take a step on March 16, 2020, they would have those same 3 days to complete that step from May 15, 2020. The Court has also indicated that additional extensions may be available though an informal request.   Deadlines in Orders or Directions issued after March 16, 2020 are not extended because they were made with the current situation in mind.

With limited exceptions, all hearings which were scheduled during the Suspension Period have been adjourned indefinitely and all General Sittings of the Court are cancelled. Exceptions include:

  • urgent or exceptional matters (including those involving hardship or substantial financial consequences that would likely result from delay) will be heard by telephone or video conference; and
  • Case management hearings for urgent matters, those with a fixed trial or hearing date will continue as will matters were the parties consent

Deadlines for commencing actions, appeals or applications under most statutes are not extended. Since Parliament, and not the Court, has authority over these statutory deadlines, they will continue to apply and can only be extended or varied as permitted by the legislation or authorized by the government.

For more information on the legal implications of COVID-19, please consult our COVID-19 Hub. As a full service global firm with offices across Canada, Norton Rose Fulbright is closely monitoring this evolving situation over a number of practice areas including employment and labour, risk advisory, banking and finance, corporate, M&A and securities, and dispute resolution and litigation, and across a variety of industries including energy, infrastructure, mining and commodities, financial institutions, life sciences and healthcare, technology and innovation, and transport.