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Nova Scotia Legal News

What is Title Insurance?

Your home purchase is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. Title Insurance can help to protect your investment.
Title Insurance is an insurance policy issued to an owner or lender which assures the condition of the title to the home at the time of the purchase or loan. The policy is issued to you and will serve as protection to you for as long as you own your home (and sometimes longer).
Some coverage examples may include:

Municipal issues
What if improvements were made to your home before you purchased it (the basement was finished, an addition built or a deck added, for example), and you find out after closing that the required permits were not obtained? A homeowner policy can cover the cost to correct these issues.

Sheds, laneways, homes and garages are sometimes unintentionally built on neighbouring properties and need to be moved, or agreements put into place to address. This can easily happen if a previous owner built without verifying where the lot lines were. A homeowner policy can protect you from financial loss as a result of these encroachments.

Author: C. Danielle MacLean, LL.B., Partner

Return to Work Post-COVID Lockdown

  • An employer has a general obligation to take reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of its workers.
  • A worker is entitled to refuse work if they have reason to believe that it is likely to endanger them.
  • When a worker refuses to work on the basis that it is unsafe, an employer must internally investigate the situation and take necessary action to remedy the situation, if any is required.
  • If the worker continues to refuse to work on the basis that it is unsafe, a government health and safety inspector must be notified and will investigate the continued work refusal (the investigation may or may not involve a visit to the workplace). If the inspector finds the statutory threshold to justify the work refusal is not met, the refusing worker will be expected to return to work.
  • A general fear of COVID-19 will not be sufficient to establish an unsafe work environment, especially if the employer has taken preventative actions in accordance with the advice of public health authorities to protect the health and safety of its workers.
  • If a worker refuses to return to work because they would rather not work, or they have a general fear of COVID-19, the employer may be able to treat them as having voluntarily resigned from their employment.
  • There are certain reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic that may entitle a worker to a job-protected, unpaid leave of absence, including if the worker needs to stay home to care for children in the absence of any other option, including daycare.
  • Workers with unique circumstances, such as a compromised immune system or other disability, may need to be accommodated. What is a reasonable accommodation will depend on the circumstances.

Author: C. Danielle MacLean, LL.B., Partner

The New Tourist Accommodations Registration Act and How it Affects Your Air BNB

Nova Scotia’s Tourist Accommodations Registration Act replaces the old Tourist Accommodations Act, which required accommodation businesses to be licensed. Many short-term rental properties were unable to comply with the strict licencing requirements, and so were in violation of the Act. Under the new Tourist Accommodations Registration Act, most accommodations will now need to register under the Tourism Accommodations Registry (instead of being licensed). The new Act came into effect on April 1, 2020.
The Tourist Accommodations Registry is an online system that contains basic information about accommodations. A registrant will receive a registration number for each accommodation registered under the Act.
You will need to register your short-term rental if:
(1) you are offering roofed accommodation to travellers in Nova Scotia for 28 days or less, and,
(2) the accommodation being offered is NOT your primary residence, or attached to your primary residence.
You can register starting 01 April 2020, and for the 2020-2021 operating year, the Government of Nova Scotia has waived registration fees.
Visit https://beta.novascotia.ca/register-your-tourist-accommodation for more information, or to register your accommodation.

Author: C. Danielle MacLean, LL.B., Partner

Co-Parenting During COVID-19

As you may know, on March 19th the Nova Scotia Supreme Court adopted an essential service model. An essential service model means that only urgent and emergency matters were being heard by the court. The Court advised quickly that what qualified as an “urgent” or “emergency” matter did not include “unilateral interruptions of court-ordered parenting arrangements, disagreements as to a child’s activities while in the care of another parent, and interruptions in the payment of child or spousal support”. Essentially, the Court would not be an option for parents to dispute custody, their children’s schedules, or child support issues.
The expectation has been that parents will continue with their existing parenting schedule as best as possible. If parents had been in a shared parenting schedule prior to the pandemic, they are expected to do their best to maintain that schedule wherever possible. The best interests of the child are always tantamount, so making sure they maintain a positive relationship with both parents is key. If your specific circumstances mean that one parent will be taking on a primary care role in the short term, the child should have access to the other parent frequently via telephone, text message, skype or any other form of communication that make sense in your specific situation.
Of course, the added stress and uncertainty of living through a global pandemic means that parents that were already struggling with co-parenting are likely finding it even more difficult lately. Although the Courts are now accepting some motions by correspondence and are on track to hear some matters by teleconference in the coming weeks, those parents that are having difficulty might want to take steps more quickly to address concerns.
While the Courts do not look like it did prior to COVID-19, lawyers still have a host of tools to address concerns when parents are looking to resolve issues. It is worthwhile to discuss alternative dispute resolution options with your lawyer such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law.
When parents are able to come to an agreeable resolution between themselves, that makes sense for them and their children, there is often an option to have their lawyers prepare the necessary documents to formalize the agreement. In cases where the Court’s approval is required, like when the agreement will act as an amendment to an existing court order, we are able to submit the amended documents to the court electronically for approval.
If you have any questions about your current parenting arrangement or how to amend it to accommodate the changes that have come from COVID-19 please feel free to reach out to DCL Law for a consultation.

Author: Brennan LeJean, JD, Associate Lawyer

Each situation is unique, and you are advised to consult with legal counsel about your specific situation if you have any questions.
The information and materials found on this blog are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Nothing contained on this blog is legal advice or constitutes a legal opinion. You should consult a lawyer before relying on any information contained herein.