Legal Support for Contracts Impacted by COVID-19 (PDAD&C #60)

To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors, and Chairs
From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost
Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives
Date: March 31, 2020
Re: Legal Support for Contracts Impacted by COVID-19 (PDAD&C #60)

University legal support is available to advise on existing and proposed contracts entered into by academic units, principal investigators (PIs), and shared services offices that may be impacted by COVID-19. 

For example, U of T suppliers or service providers may ask the University to suspend an existing contract due to the supplier’s inability to fulfill the contract at this time. On the other hand, it may be U of T seeking to cancel a supply contract given that the original need for the service has now disappeared. Similarly, a PI who has entered into a service agreement with an outside entity such as an industry partner may be unable to fulfill the contract under agreed timelines due to their inability to access their research labs.  

University lawyers can assist in identifying key contractual rights and obligations of both parties in such situations. A COVID-19 legal contracts working group has been established to co-ordinate contract review during the pandemic, in order to provide consistent legal advice to units and offices seeking guidance on how to proceed with a contract at this time.

Process for Contract Submissions:

  • For those divisions that have embedded legal support (e.g., Research Services or the Faculty of Medicine), please continue to engage legal services as normal. But please copy the email address below when requesting advice on contracts impacted by COVID-19.
  • For those divisions that require legal support for contracts impacted by COVID-19 but do not have embedded legal support, please complete the checklist provided on the Provost’s website and send to:

Prior to submitting a checklist, please ensure that your Chief Administrative Officer, Chair (if a department), or Dean (for single-department faculties) has approved the request to obtain legal advice. University lawyers will respond to inquiries as soon as possible to assess your legal needs. 

Any questions regarding this process can also be sent to