Updated Notice regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 15 2020)
The Competition Tribunal continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and to take measures to protect the health and safety of employees, parties and the public. Given the current government and public health information, and the developments that have taken place since the Tribunal issued its Updated Notice regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic on April 15, 2020 (“April Notice”), the Tribunal now puts the following revised measures in place, effective immediately. This new updated Notice supersedes and replaces the Tribunal’s April Notice.
The period during which certain activities of the Tribunal are suspended, which was scheduled to end on May 15, 2020, is extended for a further four weeks and now runs until June 12, 2020 (“Suspension Period”).
Competition Tribunal Offices
During the Suspension Period, the Tribunal remains open for business but the Tribunal premises are closed to the public. Tribunal Members and employees are equipped to work remotely and continue to provide services to the parties and the public.
Filing of Case Documents
The Tribunal’s electronic filing system is fully operational and parties should continue to file their documents by electronic transmission in accordance with Rule 12 of the Competition Tribunal Rules (“Rules”). The Tribunal does not allow paper filing during the Suspension Period.
Timelines and Tribunal Hearings
During the Suspension Period:
- There will be no in-person hearings.
- The Tribunal will continue to hear urgent matters, but only by telephone or video conference. The Tribunal will determine what constitutes an “urgent” matter on a case-by-case basis. Recently, the Tribunal held that an application for a temporary order brought by the Commissioner of Competition pursuant to section 74.11 of the Competition Act constituted an urgent matter.
- The Tribunal will also hear other matters if all parties consent to it and agree to have the matter heard by telephone or video conference.
- Parties can continue to file new applications with the Tribunal.
- The running of all timelines in the Rules which establish periods of time within which a step must be taken in a Tribunal proceeding is suspended, unless the matter is urgent or the parties agree to the matter advancing during the Suspension Period. For greater clarity, the Tribunal notes that the statutory deadlines for commencing applications under the Competition Act continue to apply during the Suspension Period.
- With respect to hearings and other procedural steps that are scheduled to take place during the Suspension Period in accordance with a Tribunal Order or Direction issued before March 18, 2020, the Tribunal will reach out to counsel and the parties and will set up, if and as needed, a case management conference in order to determine next steps. The Tribunal encourages counsel and the parties to work together when seeking extensions of timelines scheduled in Tribunal Orders and Directions.
Updates on Tribunal Website and Flexibility
The Tribunal recognizes that the situation is constantly evolving and information on any changes to the Tribunal’s operations will be posted on the Tribunal website. The Tribunal is committed to being flexible in assisting the parties and the public in dealing with this situation. Please do not hesitate to contact the Tribunal Registry should you have any further questions.
We appreciate your patience and thank you for your understanding and collaboration during these challenging times.
Justice Denis Gascon