COVID-19: Changes being made to facilitate business conduct

Businesses face wide-ranging issues as the world responds to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Here is the latest guidance from Torys.

A largely remote workforce, volatile markets, and ongoing liquidity concerns: the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19 on business are prompting regulators and legislators to introduce changes to make the conduct of business easier in a new environment. From the execution of commercial documents to capital raisings and liquidity access for small businesses, we are seeing adaptation of rules and procedures on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. In our latest guidance, we discuss:

COVID-19 and electronic signatures: a guide for organizations

Electronic signatures are fast becoming standard practice for organizations operating in a new work-from-home normal. Our comprehensive report covers the legislative steps being taken to facilitate the execution of commercial agreements, real estate documents, lending and secured transactions, and securities offerings using electronic signatures. We also discuss the detailed requirements for virtual commissioning and notarizing.

Facilitating market access

Canadian securities regulators have introduced long-awaited amendments to Canada’s “at-the-market” equity distribution regime, which may have benefit for public companies seeking to raise equity capital in the current environment.

Increasing loan flexibility for U.S. businesses

The United States Congress has enacted the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which modifies conditions of the Paycheck Protection Program. These changes alter eligibility requirements for small businesses accessing the United States’ forgivable loan program, introducing more flexibility around the conditions relating to the use of the loan proceeds, among other terms.

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