In Elson v. Polyethics Industries Inc., 2020 ONSC 4335, the defendant corporation refused to provide an affidavit of documents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The defendant stated that requiring someone to attend at the office would risk spreading COVID-19 and that its CEO, who would be the person responsible for reviewing files and collecting documents, lived with a high-risk individual.
The defendant is an essential business and has continued operating throughout the COVID-19 emergency. Justice Casullo held that arrangements can be made for the CEO to safely attend at the company’s premises, with appropriate physical distancing measures.
Her Honour stated:
These are challenging times, and we are all adapting to our new normal. The defendant is a shining example of this. If the defendant can ensure the safety of 103 employees while remaining operational over the last four months, it can facilitate the attendance of one individual to obtain documentation. While access to our courts has been circumscribed, the wheels of justice have not ground to a halt. Litigation is not “on hold,” and litigants are expected to move their matters forward, ideally in the spirit of cooperation.
As a result, the defendant was ordered to deliver an affidavit of documents.