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Relief From Forfeiture Granted Where a Tenant Failed to Deliver a Timely Written Notice of Their Intention to Renew the Lease

In Veloute Catering Inv. v. Bernardo, 2016 ONSC 7281 (S.C.J.), Veloute Catering Inc. (Veloute), the tenant, and Bernardo, the landlord, entered into a lease in 2011 for a 5 year term with a right to renew for a further 5 year period. The lease required that the right to renew to be exercised by October 20, 2015.

On at least two occasions Bernardo told Veloute that, in effect, the lease would end in April of 2017 rather than April 2016 meaning that, at least in Bernardo's mind, the right to renew only had to be exercised by October 20, 2016 and not 2015. One was by way of letter dated April 29, 2015 and the other was by way of text message sent November 10, 2015. After the text was sent, both Veloute and Bernardo checked their respective copies of the lease and satisfied themselves that the lease was ending in April of 2016.

Is a franchise a suitable business option for an entrepreneur?

Building a business from nothing can be a time-consuming process without guaranteed results. Many Ontario entrepreneurs start with a franchise of an already successful enterprise, hoping to skip the initial difficult years. However, purchasing a franchise comes at a price. In return for the franchisor's expertise, the franchisee (the person buying the franchise) typically pays a substantial price.

The franchisee buys a license to operate a franchise according to a set of rules provided by the franchisor. The advantage is that the franchisee benefits from an established brand name and ongoing advertising by the franchisor. Staff training is often provided, and a prescribed operating system must be followed. The franchisee can typically buy supplies in bulk from an already-established supply chain.

Wills and estate planning tools are not just for older Canadians

If one were to ask most people in Ontario, they would probably say they hope to live to a ripe old age and pass away peacefully. When people think about wills and estate planning, many consider these important for older men and women who want to pass along their estates. Yet, not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy an extended lifespan. Having one's estate planning in place can help protect the future of a young family in the event of a tragedy.

There are many ways to provide for a family and simplify the estate planning process. Start by creating a comprehensive list of all known assets and decide on the disposition of each asset individually. Even a modest estate can prove to be complicated if a person dies without a will or if provision is not made for every asset of the estate.

STEP Canada -- Michael Cadesky Volunteer of the Year Award

The STEP Canada National Conference took place June 12-13, 2017, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The conference was a great success with record attendance of 722 registrants. One of the highlights of the event included the presentation of the "Michael Cadesky Volunteer of the Year Award" to Timothy J. Grieve. Tim was the National Chair of STEP Canada's Board of Directors (2015-2017) and was tireless in his efforts to assist STEP in raising the public profile of professional trust and estate workers. Tim's friends and colleagues at Merovitz Potechin LLP wish to congratulate him on this well deserved honour.

Doling out estates can be tricky with blended families

In a typical will and estates scenario, after a person passes away, his or her assets pass along to a spouse and/or any children. Such is an ideal situation, but that is not always how things work out, especially given the prevalence of blended families in Ontario.

According to figures from Statistics Canada, as of 2012, more than 12 percent of the 3.7 million families with children in this country are blended with stepparents and stepchildren. Blended families, especially high-net-worth ones, often have especially sensitive estate planning needs. There may be an extensive and complex estate to divide and each person wants to feel he or she has been treated fairly.

A business law professional can help incorporate a business

It takes a special kind of person to start a new business venture or to transform an existing business. In Ontario, there are several different forms that a business can take, each with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. For example, instead of a sole proprietorship or partnership, the owner may choose to turn a business into a corporation, a type of company governed by a separate branch of business law.

A business can be incorporated at either the federal or provincial level. By incorporating, the business becomes a separate legal entity from the individuals who own it. This means that the shareholders generally cannot be held personally liable for the acts or debts of the corporation.

Business disputes taking a bite out of in-home ice cream parlour

Starting a home-based business in Ontario takes courage and determination. Many do so for both personal satisfaction and profit. What these neighbourhood entrepreneurs are often hoping to avoid is becoming entangled in business disputes. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened to a family that opened a new endeavour in their garage a few years ago.

In an effort to help fund their daughter's post-secondary education, a husband and wife in Alliston opened an ice cream parlour in their garage. Opening a home-based business didn't seem as if it would be a problem, as a neighbour runs a dog-grooming shop on the premises, and the local town council gave it their blessing. Soon, however, the owners allege that the town began to crack down on their operation.

A Gift is a Gift is a Gift

Many homebuyers struggle financially to qualify to purchase a home. Often I see this with younger clients. Many young people need a little bit of help to get that first home. If they are lucky, they will have generous parents who are prepared to help them financially by providing all or part of the down payment (that portion of a purchase that is not funded by the Lender).


I always recommend to parents who want to help their children with funding that they should take a second mortgage on the property if they expect to be paid back. Having the money secured by a mortgage registered on title is good practice generally. If the children run into financial trouble (eg. With credit card debt) and can no longer afford the first mortgage, when the property is sold (either by power of sale, sheriff sale or any other mortgage remedy) the parents will get all or hopefully some of the money back.

Flooding from neighbouring properties

Neighbouring properties are often the cause of residential and rural flooding. Flooding can arise through insufficient culverts, improper diversions of water, or interference with drainage or absorption of water from/by their land. Often there is a distinction between surface waters and waters flow in a defined channel, though in practice, liability is often attributed in a similar fashion.

The law in Canada has consistently been that an upper landowner is not liable to a lower landowner from damage caused by the natural flow of surface water or water percolating through the ground. The exception here is where the upper landowner has altered or interfered with the natural flow of the surface water or percolating water. This can be done by changing the topography, changing the permeability of the surface (e.g. asphalt), or other changes that negatively impact lower lands. With these changes, the upper landowner must take all reasonable steps to prevent injury to neighbouring lands.

Liability for seasonal and exceptional flooding

The 100-year storm. The 50-year flood. We've been hearing these terms a lot over the last few years. Common understanding is that they are events that happen once every 100 years. Or once every 50 years. In reality, they are events that have a 1% (or 2%) chance of happening every year. Lately, we've been beating the odds on major rainfall events in Ontario. These events increase the impacts of seasonal flooding and make exceptional or extraordinary flooding more likely and often more damaging. 

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