Law Firm Offering Free Legal Advice for Small Business Owners in Canada

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Small businesses across Canada are in survival mode right now, doing everything they can to get through the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And one of their toughest challenges is navigating all the legal issues that they face from questions about rent and employment to all the government assistance programs put in place to help businesses during this challenging time.

Calgary-based Goodlawyer, an online, on-demand service that provides access to lawyers across the country, is offering free legal advice to small business owners in Canada to help them navigate the complex and difficult legal questions related to the impact of the pandemic on their business.

“As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to impact small businesses in Canada, we’ve seen a significant increase in engagement with our platform as the need for legal support grows across the country. These companies have many questions, but few answers,” said Brett Colvin, CEO & Co-founder of Goodlawyer. “We want to give back to small businesses during this unprecedented time by offering free, no-strings-attached, legal advice from our network of lawyers to help them manage areas such as leases, employee relations, and various government support programs.”

Colvin said Goodlawyer has waived the fee for legal advice sessions for any business affected by the shutdown. Interested clients can visit goodlawyer.ca/coronavirus, enter the promo code #washyourhands, and then select their province and legal area they would like advice. Clients are instantly matched with an appropriate lawyer and their availability. On average, clients can apply in as little as five minutes and speak with a lawyer in less than 24 hours, said the company.

“We’re doing that because we can. We’re in a position where we have access to legal experts right across Canada that are able to offer services at these barn-burner prices and for a very small outlay from the company we’re able to help Canadians across the country,” said Colvin. “It’s been great for us as a young company to build our brand and to show that we’re actually out here and helping do some good. There really was a genuine desire to help Canadians and given our position to provide affordable legal help right across the country we were well situated to do that.”

Goodlawyer was founded in 2018. Colvin noticed early on in his legal career that it was challenging for people and businesses to access quality, affordable, and transparent legal services.

So an online platform was created to help find, connect, and receive “micro” legal services from qualified and vetted lawyers across Canada – all from the convenience of a laptop or mobile device. Today, Goodlawyer has over 60 lawyers in its network.

“We have lawyers signed up from right across the country,” said Colvin.

Colvin said Canadians can connect with a qualified lawyer to discuss issues related to rent and real estate, employee/employer relations, contract negotiations, access to government support, and more.

“All of the shut downs have been catastrophic and more today than any time in my lifetime certainly legal issues are at the forefront of people’s minds because we’re in unprecedented times and they’re bound to contracts whether it’s a lease, an employment agreement, a buyer contract, but these contracts weren’t designed to live in a world of a pandemic,” explained Colvin.

“That is bringing all sorts of legal issues and then overlaid on top of that are all of the government’s support programs that they’ve been trying to push out as quickly as possible fumbling some, doing a good job with others. It’s been just a fury of information for retailers and small business owners to kind of navigate through just to keep their business alive hopefully at the end of this pandemic.”

Colvin said navigating government support programs has been one of the ways people have utilized the free 15-minute sessions because business owners can get a ton of information to figure out where they fit within those government programs.

“Our lawyers are well versed in them. So for retailers in particular the CECRA (Canada Emergency Commercial Real Estate Assistance program) is huge and then obviously the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy are the two big ones that retailers should have on the forefront of their minds and make sure that they maximize those,” he said.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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