Court Search Delays:
As many of you may know, we are experiencing terribly long delays for court searches submitted to both the Edmonton and Calgary courts, specifically QB name searches, procedure cards, and copy requests.
These delays are not caused by Eldor-Wal and are out of our hands. We are submitting your court requests within hours of them being received, but are seeing the following turnaround times:
- QB Court – Edmonton (3-5 weeks), Calgary (2-4 weeks)
- Provincial Court – Edmonton (1-2 weeks), Calgary (2-3 weeks)
- Appeal Court – Edmonton (3-5 days), Calgary (3-5 days)
In addition to long delays, there is no consistency in search results being returned. At the end of last week we received search results submitted August 7 included in a batch of results submitted July 16. Other search requests submitted between these dates have not yet been completed. There is no predictability.
We have explored other avenues in an effort to reduce delays:
- submitting province wide searches to other smaller jurisdictions;
- contacting court supervisors;
- calling in favors with clerks we have worked with for years;
- asking the courts to explore allowing a self-serve terminal so we can conduct our own searches, leaving court clerks to attend to other matters.
So far, we’ve hit a brick wall.
In our discussions with the courts, we’ve been told that they do not have the staff to expedite matters, literally “the court is empty,” “delays should be expected,” and that “firms are simply going to have to realize that courts are not the same as before COVID.”
I know you are frustrated; I, too, am equally frustrated. Come September when jury trials are scheduled to resume, these delays will most likely become worse! We will continue to do our best in trying to find solutions to this issue, but this may be a prudent time to contact your MLA, or your contacts at Justice, and express your concerns with the current state of matters.
BC Natural Resource Compliance and Enforcement Database:
It has come to our attention today that the database is undergoing some upgrades. As a result, there is a legacy database (accessed here: https://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/ocers/searchApproved.do?submitType=menu), and a new database (accessed here: https://nrced.gov.bc.ca/records). Unfortunately, there is no notification on the new database that the system is undergoing some modernization, nor is there any notification directing users to access the new database.
We reached out to the Governmental department responsible for this database (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy) for clarification. We were disappointed with the reply that the database is undergoing some modernization, with the new database becoming live on May 12, 2020, with no notice to users or advice that the new database does not contain the same legacy information as the historical database. Further, we were dismayed to learn that there is no ongoing efforts to maintain the currency of the legacy database. We were told that there were some technical difficulties with the legacy database beginning in 2018, and that regular updates to that database ceased following Q1 2019. While the Ministry reports that the new database is “relatively up to date”, we were advised that while the new site is still under development, some data is missing, including “administrative sanctions, court convictions, and orders under the Water Act and the Administrative Land Commission Act.”
While this is not a database within our control, since we learned that the database is in the process of modernization, we wanted to bring it to your attention as soon as we found out. Our practice from now on will be that when a search of this database is requested, we will search both the legacy database, as well as the new database, to try to be as comprehensive as possible. Please note, however, according for the information we received today, the BC Government notes that it is possible that there are some gaps with information not being maintained currently. To the extent that any transaction is relying on the accuracy of such search, we would encourage you to reach out directly to the BC Government department responsible for maintenance of this database.
Important Courthouse Notice:
Firstly, we received an important notice from the courthouse, specifically Court Services Dept: Court of King’s Bench – Civil.
Related to this notice, we are starting to see some rejections come back due to original affidavits not being submitted with a cover letter, after fax/email filing.
We are available to submit these originals on your behalf, once you fax or email file them.
If you would like to submit your unfiled document with us, rather than fax or email filing (as was the case prior to COVID), it would be our pleasure to assist you. Please give us a call if this is of interest to you.
Pursuant to Rule 13.41 (4) of the Alberta Rules of Court, the Court of King’s Bench Clerk’s Office Must be in receipt of the original affidavit within 15 days of fax/email filing an affidavit. When submitting the original affidavit please attach a cover letter to the front of the affidavit quoting the Action #, a brief Style of Cause, and the date that the affidavit was fax/email filed.
Secondly, a new announcement came out regarding an extension of suspension of sittings. To view the full announcement, please click the link below:
Easter Hours, LTO and Court Updates:
- Eldor-Wal will be closed on Good Friday (April 10, 2020), but will have skeleton staff to assist with your requests on Easter Monday (April 13, 2020) from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM.
- Land Titles and the Courthouse will be closed both Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Land Titles Update
- The Government of Alberta is temporarily allowing the registration of Land Titles documents that have been witnessed, sworn or affirmed by Alberta lawyers using two-way teleconferencing. Source: Update dated April 3 - https://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/about-us/key-initiatives/covid-19-updates/
Provincial Court Update
- We have been asked to pass along an updated list from Provincial Court with respect to the documents they deem “essential”. The documents listed below are still available for counter filing. All other Provincial documents must be dropped off or fax filed. More information can be found at the following:
- EMERGENCY DOCUMENTS BEING FILED
- Claims that expire within 30 days
- Extend time for service within 30 days of the expiry of the Claim
- Affidavits in support of sub-service and order (if provided) within 90 days of the expiry of the Claim
- Any Dispute Note/Counterclaim, Third Party Claim, Dispute Note to Third Party Claim, Notice of Appeal
- Summary Judgment Applications – Very few, if a party insists, the matter should be referred to a Judge for a decision on the urgency.
- Set Aside Applications – Particularly if enforcement proceedings have been commenced. Applications will be by phone.
- Landlord Tenant Matters – Generally these matters should be referred to a Judge for assessment of the urgency. Applications will be by phone.
- EMERGENCY DOCUMENTS BEING FILED
New Court Services Option Has Arisen:
The Court situation remains fluid and decisions made one minute are altered days, sometimes hours, later. This is once such instance. While counter service remains closed, we have another option that has arisen.
- Edmonton and Calgary Courts have implemented a drop system.
- Court agents are now able to drop documents for filing at the security desk (Edmonton) and the information booth (Calgary).
- We will drop documents off only twice a day: 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM
- There will be no waybill confirmation (some court security is reluctant to sign confirming receipt).
- We will not be able track documents once dropped, will not be able to follow up on the documents, and will not be able to communicate with clerks regarding rejections.
- If you are notified that a document is ready for pickup, please advise the clerk that you would like it put in Eldor-Wal’s callbox. We will not be able to go anywhere except our Eldor-Wal callbox.
- Completed filings will be returned via our callbox at the Courts, we will be checking our callbox daily for completed work, but only at the following times:
2:00-3:00 PM – Edmonton Courts will only allow us to check once a day
10:00 AM and 2:00 PM – Calgary
- Clerks are not guaranteeing when documents will be completed, and thus have little recourse once documents are dropped off.While we continue to encourage firms to utilize the temporary fax/email system, we are available to begin dropping filings off, with the following understanding:
- With the drop system now in place, we have submitted search requests at the courthouse. The good news is Edmonton’s Court has started completing searches within a 24hr turnaround.
- We will be submitting name searches through the Edmonton Court, and will be completing them province-wide.
- I am not sure how long this will last, but I would recommend submitting these requests as soon as possible. This can be done via the Eldorwal.com website, or by submitting your request to [email protected].
- Provincial Court has remained hard to nail down on their changes, and if in doubt, please contact Provincial Court directly, depending on your location.
- As you will see, Edmonton and Calgary are very different, but neither is accepting email filing, and only minimal fax filing.
|Only Rush Filings||no||yes|
|Payment Method||cheque only||any|
|Hardcopies?|| drop off only, no guarantees
when it will be filed or when we
get it back in callbox
|counter still available|
|Fax or Email Filing||fax only (limited no fee
documents), no email
|fax only (limited no fee
documents), no email
We remain open and ready to assist our clients:
As we continue to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) and both Canada and Alberta’s response to it, Eldor-Wal is still offering all services with only minimal disruption.
However, this can change at any moment. We are committed to providing our clients accurate and timely updates to any changes affecting our service offerings.
We have created a list of available services, which you can see at the top of this page.
All available services are currently green and remain open, with the exception of the courthouse, which is now starting to limit the number of clerks they have filing. Moreover, anything marked “in-person” is a service that may be compromised if our building closes, our office within our building closes, or if the public building that we attend (land titles or courthouse) closes. We will be updating this list on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day. Our website is the best way to stay current.
Some of our clients have asked about sending a backlog of searches due to employee absence, and that is currently available. Our search team has begun to work remotely to ensure we are here for you. We are encouraging all firms to submit their requests via the website or via email ([email protected]) to reduce the need for couriers with both your and our safety in mind. If you require assistance in submitting searches or filings online, please call us.
Eldor-Wal’s response to Coronavirus:
We have been monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and have been abiding by the recommendations of Alberta Health Services (AHS).
While the worldwide risk is rising, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Alberta currently remains low. Nevertheless, Eldor-Wal takes the health and safety of our clients, staff, and vendors very seriously. We are following the recommendations of Alberta Health Services (AHS) and will continue to make decisions based on the latest information from Alberta Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada. As necessary, we will provide up-to-date and transparent communication regarding our efforts.
While our offices are professionally cleaned on a nightly basis, Eldor-Wal has implemented the following additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Increased information and communication regarding hygiene practices as recommended by AHS, such as frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth
- Encouraging our staff to say at home and away from others if they are feeling unwell
- Frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas
- Increased utilization of hand sanitizers and disinfection agents
- Company-wide self-assessment for any staff member travelling outside of Alberta
Moreover, as of March 12, 2020 the Province of Alberta issued new recommendations on events and travel, requiring all travelers to self-isolate irrespective of whether they are symptomatic or not. As a result of this advisory, Eldor-Wal will be suspending business travel outside of Canada and those team members returning to Canada from abroad will be in self-isolation for 14 days.
We are operating on a full staff model in both our Edmonton and Calgary offices. While services are currently uninterrupted, the situation may change. We do have plans to minimize the disruption this may cause to you and your firm depending on the challenges that may arise. We are committed to open and honest communication, and will keep you updated accordingly.
Court and Land Titles
- All court (searches and filings) and land titles (filings) require in-person attendance
- Currently, these services remain open and available but are subject to government building modifications/closures
- These services and the related staff (couriers, court filing staff, verification clerks and central coordinators) unfortunately cannot be accommodated remotely and will be impacted if modifications or closures take place
- Most search services are electronically accessed and are unaffected (Land Titles, Corporate, PPR, NUANS, Due Diligence, US Searches and Transcript Management); should the need arise, our search department is prepared to work remotely to ensure uninterrupted service
- Some search services are manually accessed (Court) and require in-person attendance, and may be adversely affected depending upon government modifications or closures
- Corporate filings are electronically accessed and currently are unaffected
- Should the need arise, our corporate department is prepared to work remotely to ensure uninterrupted service
In an effort to maintain a safe work environment and to further reduce the potential for spread of viruses, when possible, we are strongly encouraging clients to utilize our website for submitting searches and filings. While not all documents and searches can be submitted electronically (Land Titles filings and Court filings require original documents), any reduction of paper submissions certainly helps in reducing the potential for viral spread.