An Important Message from Gord Harris about the COVID-19 Pandemic

This post is for clients that have trusted me, and my firm, with helping you in response to something terrible happening to you and your family.

As I am sure you can appreciate, we are in uncharted waters in the modern era. We are staying abreast of developments, and we seem to have major changes on a daily basis.

Just two days ago, an emergency Order was announced suspending limitation dates and procedural deadlines for Civil Litigation matters, retroactive to March 16. This means that we do not have to worry about filing deadlines at the Court House, deadlines for serving claims, and other limitations on the lawsuits we have filed, or need to file.

We will do everything we can to keep your matter moving as quickly as possible

Last week, all in-person Court appearances were adjourned automatically, and were adjourned to one of June 2nd, 3rd or 4th for re-rescheduling. If we can reschedule dates informally in advance, we will.

Also last week, the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) announced that it was suspending all in-person hearings. This has affected a few of my files, but most of our LAT hearings are conducted by phone or in writing, so this may not affect you or many of our many clients that much. However, again, announcements are coming daily, and we will keep you posted on any future developments.

On the firm front, we are working within the ever-evolving advisories from local, Provincial and Federal governments. Those that can work from home, are. We are rotating a skeleton crew in and out. We are cancelling all non-emergency in-person meetings, and substituting phone calls or video meetings wherever possible. We are implementing technology to improve our ability to work from home for more staff, and more efficiently. This could change at any time, and it is quite possible that we may be ordered to lock down at any moment. Please continue to email us or call our office at 519-725-8000 for updates, if necessary.

No doubt, these are difficult and challenging times. However, there are plenty of things that we can do to keep your litigation moving forward. We can still schedule matters in the not-to-distant future. We are trying to arrange video meetings and mediations, where appropriate. We can schedule medical assessments, and will have more time to review your claims in detail, strategize, and research. 

We are treating this pandemic very seriously

For me, personally, I had a trial scheduled in April, and a major LAT hearing in early May. Both are now adjourned. I will have time to work on all of my files, catch up on my file reviews, and be ready and raring to go when this madness is finally over, assuming I am one of the lucky people to either avoid this illness, or to have relatively minor effects from it.

I am, and as a firm, we are treating this pandemic SERIOUSLY. We implore you to do so as well. Many of our clients are already compromised with their health, are more frequent users of our healthcare system, and necessarily at a greater risk. I am, and we are, terribly concerned about all of you. Please stay home, as much as possible. Listen to the Regional Health Authority. Follow the instructions of your health care providers. Use reliable sources for up-to-date information about the pandemic. Stay safe. Stay healthy. STAY HOME UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO GO OUT.

Looking to the positives

I am looking every day for bright spots within the onslaught of scary and depressing news. Pollution is drastically lower, across the globe. The earth is quickly healing, it seems. Today, I saw a picture of the QEW in Toronto by Humber Bridge, and there were two cars on it. Who could imagine that, even three weeks ago? Our governments are finally working together towards a common cause (well, except our southern neighbors, but they’ll get there). Most people are taking the need to engage in social distancing very seriously, and doing their part. People are getting creative to communicate on line or on the phone, and sharing with each other in new and novel ways. People are cooking more and eating healthier (or at least we are, at my house). People are enjoying more quality time with family. I am calling my mom and dad daily to check in (my mom complains that I never call enough, so she’s getting her fill of me now). Many members of the community are offering to help those that can’t leave their homes. Our heroes are nurses, doctors, hospital staff, grocery and pharmacy store employees, truckers, those that deliver food and medicine, utility workers (water, power, sanitation, cable oil, gas, INTERNET, lol), and those that keep our City and Regional Government operations going. I know I am grateful to those that have to work and put themselves in harms way to give us utilities, services, food, water and the means to stay comfortable while we practice-self isolation.

Contact our team if there is anything we can do to help

Please email me or the lawyer / clerks working with you if you have questions about your file, and I / we will get back to you as soon as possible (as you might appreciate, I am getting even more emails than normal now, and I normally get many, many, many emails every day).

I thank you for your patience and cooperation during these challenging and concerning times. We sincerely hope that you and your loved ones get through this pandemic unscathed. Things may be a little bit different when this crisis is over, but we look forward to returning to our regular routines, and back to the courtrooms, court reporters offices, LAT hearings, and mediations, advocating fearlessly on your behalf!

Stay safe, stay home, and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Gordon W. Harris

Founder, Harris Law, Personal Injury Lawyers