By Shannon Salter, CRT Chair
Some weeks ago, the CRT began implementing a COVID-19 continuity plan. Our goals are to protect the health and safety of our team and their loved ones, as well as the public, while also doing our best to maintain normal access to the CRT’s dispute resolution services.
Public health authorities continue to advise that the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 are through social distancing and frequent handwashing. You can find up-to-date information and advice on the BC Centre for Disease Control website. Consistent with this advice and our goals, we are taking the following steps.
Protecting Our Team and the Public
The CRT is already primarily a remote workplace, and we have now transitioned our remaining non-remote staff to work from home. Remote staff will no longer visit our office or schedule in-person meetings. Health authorities recommend against all travel outside of Canada, and any team member returning to Canada from abroad is required to self-isolate for 14 days. We have also taken steps to accommodate team members who may have childcare or other challenges as a result of COVID-19.
Accommodating CRT Participants
If you are a party to a CRT dispute and you need an extension of time due to COVID-19, just contact us with your Dispute Number and the reason for your request.
On March 26, 2020 the government issued a Ministerial Order under the Emergency Program Act. Section 2 of the order suspends limitation periods and other mandatory time periods for commencing a legal proceeding in court. This does not apply to the CRT. Limitation periods and other mandatory time periods continue to apply to CRT proceedings. However, section 3 of the order provides the CRT with the ability to waive, suspend or extend a mandatory time period relating to the exercise of the CRT’s statutory power of decision.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we will do our best to respond.