The federal government wants to ensure the global COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t make someone miss a crucial deadline in a bankruptcy case, divorce proceeding or other civil matter.
Justice Minister David Lametti is consulting opposition critics on a legislative proposal to provide flexibility on meeting such timelines.
It is unusual for the government to release draft legislation for feedback before tabling in the House of Commons, another sign that federal officials are looking for new ways to implement measures during the pandemic.
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There are hundreds of deadlines fixed by statute at the federal level alone with respect to civil proceedings before the courts, the government says.
As a result, due to the pandemic-related shutdown, there is a risk many people will be unable to meet federal time limits through no fault of their own.
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In other cases, the government says, people might ignore public health advice by attending court to preserve their interests.
In a letter to the other major political parties,