Picture
Picture
Name and Title
John De Vellis
Partner
Partner
Year of Call

2002 (Ontario)

Memberships
  • Canadian Bar Association
Publications
Description

John Devellis HeadshotEmployees who believe they have been constructively dismissed take a risk when they walk away from their job, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-09-10
Description

John Devellis HeadshotJust because Ontario's highest court has ruled that the tort of harassment does not exist, doesn’t mean there aren’t options available to wronged parties, says Toronto employment lawyer John De Vellis.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-07-17
Description

John Devellis HeadshotCondo corporations should err on the side of caution when it comes to limitation periods in disputes with service providers, says Toronto condominium lawyer John De Vellis.

De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, says a recent Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) case revolving around a couple’s problems with their $60,000 HVAC system should serve as a warning to condos that hesitate to sue for fear it may interfere with a professional relationship.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-05-10
Description

John Devellis HeadshotIn rejecting a ride-sharing company’s demand that a case against it be heard in the Netherlands at the expense of the plaintiffs, the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) has drawn a line on an “outrageous” clause in the company's contract with drivers, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.





This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2019-04-22
Description

John Devellis HeadshotAs the first few cases trickle out of the new Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT), Toronto condominium lawyer John De Vellis says the decisions released so far largely follow existing case law.

“Many of the cases are following the same jurisprudence,” says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP. “For the most part, none of the tests has changed. It’s just that you have a specialized tribunal handling matters.”

The tribunal was set up as an online-only body, devoted exclusively to condo-related disputes in Ontario. The hope, says De Vellis, is that specialized adjudicators ruling on written submission will allow cases to settle more quickly and inexpensively than going through the courts.

So far, CAT’s jurisdiction extends only as far as record disputes covered by s. 55 of the Condominium Act, but will likely expand as time goes on, he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The stepped process begins with a $25 access fee that allows the parties to try to settle the issues themselves. The next stage, which costs $50, escalates the matter to mediation before a final adjudication stage by a tribunal member, which costs $125.

Below, De Vellis picks out some of the highlights of the cases decided so far:

Legal invoices case

This decision involved an owner’s request for unredacted copies of the invoices from the condo corporation’s lawyer.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-11-19
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2018-10-01
Publication
Description
Date_Published
2018-09-01
Description

John Devellis HeadshotIt's up to off-site condominium owners to provide up-to-date contact information in case of emergencies and to receive compliance notices, says Toronto condo lawyer 

"There are two big problems with off-site owners," says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP. "One is that it's often difficult to get a quorum for an annual general meeting because the owners who don’t live in the building don't bother showing up."

The bigger problem, he tells AdovcateDaily.com, is when off-site owners don’t leave current contact information, it makes dealing with compliance issues very difficult.

"The corporation is supposed to keep owners apprised because if they don't and try to get compensation for legal costs later, the owner may argue they were not aware of the issue and could have dealt with it had they known."

Under the Condominium Act, for such things as condo owner meetings, owners must give consent to being contacted by email by the condo corporation. But compliance notices can be sent by email without formal consent from the owner, De Vellis explains.

"If you have someone's email address — even though it’s not technically authorized electronic communication for official Condominium Act notices — you can send the message from a compliance perspective," he says.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-08-01
Title
Description

Some condominium corporations are struggling to address the growing popularity of short-term rentals, Toronto condominium lawyers Armand Conant and John De Vellis write in The Lawyer’s Daily.

“They create a significant problem for condominium corporations, from increased wear and tear on common elements, increased security costs, disruption and general anxiety as residents complain that what they thought was their home has been turned into a hotel,” say Conant, head of the condominium law group with Shibley Righton LLP, and De Vellis, who also sits on the firm’s condo group.

They say it’s often a tenant — not the owner — who offers the unit for rent, adding that a veritable “cottage industry has blossomed” where people rent from unit owners on a long-term basis and then lease to others for short-term stays.

Sometimes they are featured on specialty websites but in other cases, the tenant has created their own online portal where they list "a number of units at various locations, all available for rent on a hotel-like basis," Conant and De Vellis explain. "Often the owner has no idea what is happening to their unit."

Tenants who sublet may “run afoul” of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, which states that a rental unit may only be sublet with the consent of the landlord, Conant and De Vellis say. It also states that they cannot charge more than they pay in rent to the owner.

“For condominium unit owners, these unlawful sublets are not just a nuisance, they may create a big financial headache,” they write.

“That’s because most condominium corporations have indemnity clauses in their declarations that make the owner responsible for all costs incurred by the condominium corporation, including legal costs, in the event the owner or the owner’s tenants breaches the condominium corporation’s declaration, bylaws or rules.”

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-05-16
Description

John Devellis HeadshotBusinesses must reassess their relationships with independent contractors after recent changes to Ontario’s workplace laws, Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Following the passage of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, Ontario employers must prove their independent contractors are not employees subject to the province’s Employment Standards Act (ESA).   

“None of the definitions have changed, but the onus has shifted to the employer to show they haven’t misclassified an employee as an independent contractor,” says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

“As a result, businesses are going to have to evaluate their relationships with the people who work for them.”

The province has also promised to hire up to 175 more employment standards inspectors to enforce the new law, which also boosted the minimum wage and requires part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees to be paid the same rate as full-time employees when performing the same work.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-03-23
Description

John Devellis HeadshotWhen it comes to making changes in condominiums, boards don’t always have to seek input from unit owners, Toronto condo lawyer John De Vellis tells Law Times.

Usually, substantive changes — ones that represent more than 10 per cent of the annual budget — require a vote with two-thirds support, reports the online legal publication.

But boards can make some modifications above that limit without notifying the owners. For example, the board can authorize repair and maintenance projects that are required by law or for the safety and security of those using the property, says the article.

Similarly, utilities, management and maintenance contracts often represent more than 10 per cent of the budget but don’t require approval for their renewal, says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

In a recent case, De Vellis, along with Stefan Rosenbaum, acted for a condo corporation that entered into a bulk cable television contract with a new provider for all the units, adding internet services to the common expenses.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-02-13
Description

John Devellis Headshot With urban land becoming increasingly scarce, many condominium boards will be asked for access to their land when their neighbours want to build or renovate, Toronto condo lawyer John De Vellis tells CondoBusiness.

“The condominium may be asked for permission to allow a crane to swing over its property, scaffolding to be erected on its property, for its property to be used to shore up part of the excavation on the neighbouring property, or for construction materials to be stored on its property,” writes De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

“But these are just a few examples. The possibilities are endless and the disruption to the condominium’s residents can vary from minor to quite significant,” he tells the online publication.

Just because the developer wants access to the property, doesn’t mean he has a right to it, says De Vellis.

“In some jurisdictions, the law allows neighbouring property owners to access adjoining properties for repairs or renovations as long as certain conditions are met. In New York State, for example, the law allows a property owner to apply for a licence to effect repairs if the adjoining owner refuses to consent.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2018-01-26
Description

John de Vellis head shot

Condominium corporations should start factoring increased labour costs into their budgets as amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act come into effect in the new year, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.

 

Proposed changes to the Act include equal pay for part-timers who do the same work as full-timers with the same seniority; on-call provisions for employees; longer leaves for various purposes; and a higher minimum wage, says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

 

Those higher labour costs should now be in the minds of those who pen annual budgets for condos, he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

 

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which contains amendments to the Employment Standards Act, received royal assent on Nov. 27. Parts of the bill are already in force but most provisions will take effect on Jan. 1 and April 1. 

 

De Vellis says condominium corporations must budget for the proposed minimum wage increases — $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018, and $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2019, followed by inflation adjustments.

 

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Date_Published
2017-12-07
Description

It's a common scenario in condominium corporations: during a dispute, anonymous email accounts or Facebook pages begin spreading rumours and making false accusations against board members, management or staff.

An Ottawa condo corporation facing this scenario managed to obtain a court order directing the email provider to identify the author of anonymous messages.

In this case, an anonymous email was sent to board members and unit owners after the resignation of the corporation's superintendent. The sender alleged that the board allowed a contractor to harass the superintendent because members of the board were receiving illegal kickbacks from the contractor. Cease and desist letters were sent to the anonymous email account but the messages continued.

The condo corporation wanted to sue the sender for defamation but didn’t know who was sending the emails. The group was prepared to go to court to find out the identity of the sender.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please clickhere to read the complete story.

Date_Published
2017-09-22
Publication
Description

John de Vellis head shotThe applicants are owners of units at Metropolitan Condominium Corporation No. 949 ("MTCC 949") which is a two-tower condominium complex in Toronto. They are both lawyers.


Since its construction in the 1990s, MTCC 949 has contracted for television services pursuant to a bulk services contract with Rogers, the costs of which were charged to unit owners as a common expense. In June 2016 MTCC entered into a bulk services agreement with a new service provider, Frontline, to provide bundled television and internet services (the "Frontline Agreement").

Date_Published
2017-09-20
Description

Shibley Righton's John De Vellis appeared on CondoVoice's podcast to talk about a recent case concerning harassment in condo buildings.

To listen to the podcase please click here.

Date_Published
2017-08-23
Description

An article in CondoVoice where Shibley Righton's John De Vellis and Joel Berkovitz discuss Harassment of Managers or Staff being a serious problem for Condo Corporations.

To read the complete article please click here.

Date_Published
2017-08-23
Description

Two recent decisions demonstrate how far the courts are willing to go to deal with disruptive condominium owners and tenants, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.

“These court decisions are welcome news for condo corporations because they show that abusive and harassing behaviour will not be tolerated,” says De Vellis, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

In the first case, a condo owner’s behaviour grew increasingly bizarre and eventually became threatening and dangerous, De Vellis tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The condo corporation ultimately took the case to court, claiming the woman’s behaviour constituted workplace harassment as defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and that she breached s.117 of the Condominium Act by harassing, threatening, intimidating, verbally abusing and physically assaulting a staff member.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the full story.

Date_Published
2017-06-09
Description

A recent decision that allowed a condo corporation to unilaterally amend an oppressive shared facilities agreement is an important win for the condo community, Toronto condominium lawyers Armand Conant, Deborah Howden and John De Vellis write in Condo Voice magazine.

In its August ruling in TSCC No. 2130 v. York Bremner Developments Limited, the Ontario Superior Court upheld the condo corporation’s decision to amend a shared facilities agreement under s. 113 of the Condominium Act, 1998, write Conant, partner and head of the condominium law group at Shibley Righton LLP, and Howden and De Vellis, partners with the firm.

“Under s. 113 of the Act, the court may make such an order if the application is filed within one year of turn-over and the court is satisfied that the disclosure statement did not clearly and adequately disclose the provisions of the agreement and the agreement produces a result that is oppressive or unconscionably prejudicial to the corporation,” they write in the article.

As is increasingly common in new condo developments, write Conant, Howden and De Vellis, the shared facilities were part of a large, complex development involving other commercial owners, including the developer.

This article appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here for the fully story.

Date_Published
2016-10-20
Description

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal judgment may resolve a long-standing question in the courts as to whether terminated employees are entitled to bonus payments earned during their notice period, says Toronto labour and employment lawyer John De Vellis.

"Historically, there’s been a fair amount of uncertainly around the issue of bonus payments in wrongful termination cases,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Employers fall back on their bonus policies that state employees are eligible to receive bonuses if they’re employed as of a specific date, whereas employees generally argue they should be deemed to be actively employed until the end of the notice period.”

This articles appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the full story.

Date_Published
2016-10-18
Experience
More About
BIO

John’s multi-faceted practice includes condominium law, commercial litigation, and employment law. His experience includes everything from counselling investors in major fraud cases to serving clients in wrongful-dismissal actions.

As a member of Shibley Righton LLP's  condominium law group, John acts for condominium corporations throughout south and southwestern Ontario on all aspects of condominium law including compliance and governance issues, general litigation including oppression applications, employment and human rights disputes, construction deficiency issues, arbitration of shared facilities disputes, and commercial matters such as contract review and drafting and general governance issues. 

John is a frequent contributor to condo industry publications and has spoken and taught on a number of condo law topics. He is a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute (Toronto) and sits on its Education Committee. 

John also has a breadth of experience in employment law litigation, having litigated complex wrongful dismissal matters and issues of sexual harassment and discrimination. 

John has also been involved in a number of complex commercial litigation and professional negligence matters.  

John has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario including the Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court, Divisional Court, and Court of Appeal, as well as a number of administrative tribunals including the Ontario Energy Board and Licence Appeal Tribunal.

John is a lawyer with a strong attachment to the community. When in law school, he spent eight months working at a legal aid clinic in Toronto’s Parkdale community. He has volunteered his time a Long-Term Disability and Employment Law Clinic run by Wellspring, a not-for-profit organization that helps cancer patients and Pro Bono Law Ontario, which provides legal counsel to those who can’t afford representation. In addition, for eight years he sat on the board of a community-run daycare centre, serving as its Vice-Chair and Chair of the Personnel Committee.

He has also been a guest judge for students at Osgoode Hall Law School and Sheridan College and a guest instructor at Humber College and a speaker at the Osgoode Professional Development programme.

John graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from York University and a Master of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto. Prior to law school he worked as an Economist with the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Contact Information

T: 416.214.5232
F: 416.214.5432
john.devellis@shibleyrighton.com

vCard
Education

Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B., 2000
University of Toronto, M.A. (Industrial Relations), 1996
York University, B.A. (Hons), 1995

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