COVID-19: Commercial and Contract Resources

The global coronavirus outbreak is impacting many Canadian businesses. The pandemic and its containment measures have led to supply chain interruptions, workforce disruptions and changes in customer demand, among other issues.

Essential Services, Workplaces and Commercial Activities

As governments acted to slow the spread of the virus, they mandated closures of certain businesses and put limits on commercial activity. Now governments are implementing
reopening plans, easing restrictions and allowing businesses to reopen. We are working with clients on a number of challenges and questions arising from the various government actions.

Legal Operations:

COVID-19: A Roadmap for Navigating Return-to-Workplace Decisions (May 20, 2020)
Exercising Business Judgment Through COVID-19 (May 20, 2020)


Reopening Requirements Published for Alberta Businesses; Written Plans No Longer Required (May 19, 2020)
Opening Soon: Alberta Introduces Plans for Staged Economic Relaunch (May 1, 2020)
Alberta Orders Non-essential Businesses to Close to the Public; Sets Out Rules for Workplaces that Remain Open (March 31, 2020)

British Columbia

British Columbia's Restart Plan (June 2, 2020)
British Columbia’s Occupiers Liability Act and COVID-19: What Business Owners Need to Know (May 5, 2020)
British Columbia Announces Significant Liability Relief for Essential Services Providers (April 6, 2020)
British Columbia Releases Its Strategy for the Continued Safe Operation of Essential Services (March 27, 2020)


Gradual resumption of activities in Québec: The Latest Developments (June 22, 2020)
Québec Announces Additional Delay to Reopen Retail Stores in Greater Montréal Area and Provides Clarity on Direct Exterior Access (May 5; updated May 7, 2020)
Québec Announces Gradual Reopening Strategy as COVID-19 Situation Stabilizes (Last updated May 1, 2020)
Government of Quebec Communicates the List of Essential Services and Commercial Activities (Last updated March 31, 2020)
Quebec Announces Changes to Operating Hour Restrictions for Retail Establishments (March 31, 2020)


Ontario’s Economic Re-opening: The Latest Developments (Last updated June 23, 2020)
Ontario Releases Workplace Guidelines for Four Key Sectors in Preparation for Economic Re-opening (April 30, 2020)
Ontario Announces Reopening Strategy as COVID-19 Situation Stabilizes (April 27, 2020)
Ontario Announces Revisions to Its Essential Services List (April 3, 2020)
Ontario Releases Essential Services Criteria as Business Lockdown Begins (Last updated March 25, 2020)

Contacts: Your usual Stikeman Elliott contact will be able to connect you with our internal team of experts to assist you with questions relating to essential services and workplaces.

Contract Matters

Many businesses are reviewing their rights and obligations under commercial agreements in case they or their counterparties are unable to continue with “business as usual”. Options under consideration may include invoking a force majeure clause or looking at the law for general doctrines providing relief such as frustration or impossibility.

Remedies for COVID-19: Anticipating, Identifying and Dealing with Contractual Defaults (March 31, 2020)
COVID-19 Issues in Commercial Agreements: What can you do (March 23, 2020)

Contacts: Your usual Stikeman Elliott contact will be able to assist you with questions relating to the law of contract, both in the common law provinces/territories and in Quebec.

Legal Technology Tools

With social distancing being a public health objective and many organizations working remotely, we are using a number of our legal technology tools to support clients’ with their legal and business objectives. Some of those legal technology tools include:

  • Luminance: uses AI to automate to identify key clauses quickly, supporting document reviews of provisions such as force majeure, material adverse change and termination.
  • DocuSign: enables the electronic exchange of signatures.
Contacts: Adriana De Marco (Toronto) and Dominique Monette (Montréal).