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Ontario Court of Justice

Last updated:
August 11, 2020

COVID-19 Notices and Updates

***Update (August 6, 2020): Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice resume August 17, 2020 at College Park, Kenora, Timmins and Peterborough. They will resume August 24, 2020 in Burlington.   For more information see Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice at College Park, Kenora, Timmins, Peterborough and Burlington.

In order to limit the number of people who are required to attend court, the Court has issued a Practice Direction Authorizing Alternate Form of Appearance where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed.  Accused persons who are represented by counsel and who have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel may have their matters adjourned, without the accused personally appearing, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Practice Direction.

A Notice providing details about the Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts Pilot launching in Kitchener and Ottawa, including information about how counsel and accused persons may connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference,  is now available:  see Notice to the Profession and the Public: Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in Kitchener and Ottawa Beginning August 10, 2020

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***Update (July 28, 2020):   On Monday August 10, 2020, a virtual criminal case management court pilot will be launched in Ottawa and Kitchener, in which criminal case management appearances will be conducted by videoconference or audioconference.  The Court expects to begin conducting criminal case management appearances by audioconference or videoconference at additional court locations later in August.  In the meantime, the automatic adjournment of criminal court appearances for accused persons who are not in custody, will be extended to August 21, 2020, at court locations across Ontario except Ottawa and Kitchener.   For more information see Notice to the Profession and the Public: Update regarding Criminal Case Management Appearances

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The Ontario Court of Justice will be further expanding its operations on July 6, 2020, as it resumes hearing additional family law matters and criminal trials and preliminary inquiries.To continue limiting the number of people who must attend within courthouses and courtrooms, the adjournment of criminal case management appearances, which began on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is being extended to July 31, 2020.  On July 6, 2020, the Court will also resume setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates, including rescheduling trials and preliminary inquiries that were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.  The Ministry has announced the first phase of the plan (Phase One) will be implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

For more information about how family law proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice will be scheduled and conducted as of July 6, 2020, please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

For more information about the resumption of criminal trials and preliminary inquiries, please see Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings as of July 6, 2020

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.

In Phase One and by July 6, 2020, the Court has been advised that site assessments of 93 OCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.

More information about the precautionary health and safety measures at courthouses implemented by the Ministry is available on the following website:  COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms.

Do not come to a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor or the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) website to self-isolate.  If you are unable to come to court because you have been told to self-isolate, please contact your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, please contact the courthouse:  courthouse email addresses and  courthouse addresses and phone numbers.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.  The Court will provide additional information about the scheduling and conduct of all court proceedings, including the Court’s ongoing work to make more services available using remote technology.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the opening of additional courthouses and courtrooms in accordance with its recovery plan.  The Court will continue working actively with all justice partners to implement a fair and orderly return to operations. As we do so, the health and safety of all court users remains our paramount concern.

Notices and Directives

Criminal Matters

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice at College Park, Kenora, Timmins, Peterborough and Burlington (August 6, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public: Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in Kitchener and Ottawa Beginning August 10, 2020 (August 6, 2020)

Practice Direction Authorizing Alternate Form of Appearance where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed (August 6, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public: Update regarding Criminal Case Management Appearances (July 28, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries and Family Trials, Summary Judgment Motions and other In-Person Family Matters Resuming in the Ontario Court of Justice at Guelph on July 7, 2020 (July 6, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Delay in Resuming Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in the Ontario Court of Justice at College Park and Guelph (July 4, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates (updated July 2, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings as of July 6, 2020

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (effective May 11, 2020, updated May 22, 2020 and June 1, 2020)

COVID-19 Pandemic — Scheduling of Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (effective May 11, 2020)

Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused

COVID-19: Ontario Court of Justice Protocol re Bail Hearings (effective May 11, 2020)

COVID-19:  Consent Variation Procedures for Release Orders and Police Undertakings in the Ontario Court of Justice (effective May 11, 2020)

Family Matters

Provincial Offences Act Matters

General

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