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Ontario Court of Justice

Last updated:
October 19, 2021

COVID-19 Notices and Updates

Update October 15, 2021: Enhanced Designation Pilot Expanding to Old City Hall October 18, 2021

The pilot project authorizing out-of-court adjournments for Enhanced Designations of Counsel will launch at Old City Hall (Toronto) on October 18, 2021. In the pilot, accused persons whose counsel have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel may have their matters adjourned to the next court date without the matter being addressed in court.

Update October 4, 2021: Enhanced Designation Pilot Expanding to College Park October 4, 2021

The pilot project authorizing out-of-court adjournments for Enhanced Designations of Counsel will launch in College Park (Toronto) on October 4, 2021.   In the pilot, accused persons whose counsel have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel may have their matters adjourned to the next court date without the matter being addressed in court

Updated September 16, 2021: COVID-19: Out of Court Adjournment of Matters where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed – Pilot Project in Ottawa, Toronto, Oshawa, London and Guelph

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to limit the number of people who are required to attend court, the Court issued a Practice Direction Authorizing Alternate Form of Appearance where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed on August 6, 2020.  The Enhanced Designation benefits the Court and all parties by reducing the need for multiple case management appearances which result in lengthy dockets in case management (set date) courts.

To further streamline appearances and reduce the burden on case management courts, the Court has established a pilot project in which accused persons whose counsel have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel may have their matters adjourned to the next court date without the matter being addressed in court.

The pilot launched in Ottawa on February 1, 2021 and is now being expanded to other locations in Ontario, in accordance with the schedule listed in paragraph 1 below

Updated September 3, 2021: COVID-19 Judge-led Intensive Case Management Courts

The Ontario Court of Justice establishes new Judge-led Intensive Case Management Court to address backlog of cases in Ontario Court of Justice case management courts. For more information, see the court's update.

Updated September 1, 2021: COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public Re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

On August 10, 2021, the Chief Justice made an Order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending timelines until November 1, 2021 relating to POA appeals under the Act that would have expired on or after March 15, 2020.

Under this Order, the time limits relating to Provincial Offences Act appeal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice prescribed under the Provincial Offences Act in sections 116(2)(a), 116(3) and 135(2) of the Provincial Offences Act, and under sections 5(2) and 5(3) of the Rules of the Ontario Court (General Division) and the Ontario Court (Provincial Division) in Appeals under Section 116 of the Provincial Offences Act, O. Reg. 723/94, that would have expired on or after March 15, 2020, were extended until November 1, 2021.

Updated September 1, 2021: COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public Re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

The timelines for filing POA Appeals have been extended until November 1, 2021.  Prior to September 7, 2021, only urgent POA appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice will be accepted for filing. On September 7th POA appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice that are not urgent will also be accepted for filing. Urgent POA appeals are limited to those where the defendant is subject to a licence suspension. For more information, view the court's notice.

Update April 8, 2021: Updated message re COVID-19 from Chief Justice Maisonneuve
The Ontario Court of Justice provides essential justice services to the public and remains open during these difficult times. Following the government’s April 7, 2021 declaration of a state of emergency and issuance of a stay-at-home order, the Court again stresses the importance of limiting in-person attendance at courthouses. The Court is committed to facilitating the conduct of proceedings by remote technology (video or phone) wherever possible and urges all judicial officials, parties and counsel to use remote proceedings unless an in-person appearance is required to ensure meaningful access to justice. For more information, see Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve’s Message re COVID-19 (Updated April 8, 2021)

Quick Links

Latest Announcements About Criminal Proceedings in the OCJ

Update (July 15, 2021):  S. 810 Peace Bond Applications

Effective July 19, 2021 the Ontario Court of Justice will resume accepting applications for s. 810 Criminal Code peace bonds province-wide. If you wish to apply for a s. 810 peace bond, instead of attending a courthouse, you should contact your local courthouse using the contact information on the Contacts and Courthouse Info page of this website. The court has established a new remote application process so that you may not be required to attend in person to start a peace bond application. Prior to contacting the courthouse please review the Guide for Applying for a Peace Bond and the Peace Bond Application form. The Guide may answer many questions that you may have. Please note that the courthouse staff and Justices of the Peace/Judges cannot provide you with legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice please contact a lawyer.

Update (June 30, 2021):  Electronic Signatures and Enhanced Designations of Counsel

The Court has issued a new rule (Rule 3.4 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice) authorizing the use of electronic signatures, which comes into force July 5, 2021.  Rule 3.4(1) sets out the definition of electronic signature.  Rule 3.4(2) authorizes the Court to issue practice directions authorizing additional methods of signing particular electronic documents.   Pursuant to this rule, a new provision (paragraph 10.1) has been added to the Practice Direction Authorizing Alternate Form of Appearance where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed, allowing accused persons to sign Enhanced Designations through their counsel.

Update (May 18, 2021): Resumption of out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries as of May 25, 2021

In-person out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries may proceed as scheduled commencing Tuesday May 25, 2021.  The Court continues to urge all judicial officials, parties and counsel to use remote proceedings unless an in-person appearance is required to ensure meaningful access to justice.  See Update re Criminal Proceedings: resumption of out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries as of May 25, 2021 (published May 18, 2021).

Update (May 4, 2021): Reducing out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries between April 26 and May 21, 2021

The reduction of out-custody trials and preliminary inquires has been extended to May 21, 2021.  However, between May 10 and May 21, 2021, virtual out of custody trials and preliminary may proceed. For more information, see Update re Criminal Proceedings: reducing out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries between April 26 and May 21, 2021 (April 21, 2021; updated May 4, 2021).

Update April 22, 2021:  Updates to the Ontario Court of Justice Bail Protocol
The Ontario Court of Justice Bail Protocol (introduced in May 2020) has been updated. The revisions clarify and reinforce the Protocol’s objective of ensuring that bail proceedings are dealt with justly and efficiently.  See Ontario Court of Justice Protocol Re Bail Hearings

Update (April 21, 2021):  Adjournment of out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries between April 26 and May 7, 2021
The Ontario Court of Justice is suspending all criminal trials and preliminary inquiries involving out-of-custody accused persons scheduled between Monday April 26, 2021 and Friday May 7, 2021, subject to a judge seized with a continuing matter ordering otherwise.  Other criminal matters involving out of custody accused persons may proceed as scheduled.  All criminal matters involving accused persons who are in custody, including trials and preliminary inquiries, may proceed as scheduled.  See Update re Criminal Proceedings: adjournment of out-of-custody trials and preliminary inquiries between April 26 and May 7, 2021 (April 21, 2020).

Update January 28, 2021: Enhanced Designation Pilot Launching in Ottawa February 1, 2021
On February 1, 2021, a pilot project involving Enhanced Designations of Counsel will launch in Ottawa.   In the pilot, accused persons whose counsel have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel may have their matters adjourned to the next court date without the matter being addressed in court.  For more information, see  Out of Court Adjournment of Matters where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed – Pilot Project in Ottawa

Update December 11, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations, December 14, 2020 and January 4, 2021 and January 26, 2021
On December 14, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Espanola. On January 4, 2021, virtual case management courts will launch in Brighton, Mattawa and Sturgeon Falls. On January 26, 2021, virtual criminal case management court will launch in Sharbot Lake. For more information, see  Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020

Update December 4, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations December 7, December 14, 2020 and January 4, 2021
On December 7, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will launch in Bancroft, Killaloe and Wawa. On December14, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Espanola. On January 4, 2021, virtual case management courts will launch in Brighton, Mattawa and Sturgeon Falls. For more information, see  Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020

Update November 27, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations November 30, December 7 and December 14
On November 30, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will launch in Armstrong, Fort Hope (Eabametoong), Geraldton, Landsdowne House (Neskantaga), Longlac, Manitouwadge, Marathon, Nipigon, Ogoki Post, Renfrew, Schreiber, Summer Beaver (Nibinamik) and Webequie. On December 7, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Bancroft, Killaloe and Wawa. On December 14, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Espanola. For more information, see  Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020

Update November 20, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations November 30, December 7 and December 14
On November 30, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will launch in Armstrong, Fort Hope (Eabametoong), Geraldton, Landsdowne House (Neskantaga), Longlac, Manitouwadge, Marathon, Nipigon, Ogoki Post, Renfrew, Schreiber, Summer Beaver (Nibinamik) and Webequie. On December 7, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Killaloe and Wawa. On December 14, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Espanola. For more information, see  Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020

Update (November 18, 2020): Criminal Case Management Appearances on or after November 30, 2020
Previous directives of the Ontario Court of Justice directing that criminal case management matters will be adjourned for five weeks, with a discretionary bench warrant, if the accused person does not appear will end Friday November 27, 2020.  As of Monday November 30, 2020, accused persons are required to attend for their scheduled appearance in criminal case management court – either by having counsel appear on their behalf or by appearing by telephone or video. See Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances on or after November 30, 2020.

Update November 16, 2020: In-person hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice will resume November 30, 2020 at the following locations: Alexandria, Bradford, Elliot Lake, Kirkland Lake, Picton, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout.
Criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in the Ontario Court of Justice will resume November 30, 2020 at the following locations:  Alexandria, Bradford, Elliot Lake, Kirkland Lake, Picton, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout.  For more information, see Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries November 30, 2020 in additional locations of the Ontario Court of Justice

Update November 16, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations
On November 23, 2020. Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts will launch in Alexandria, Attiwapiskat, Chapleau, Fort Albany, Gogama, Kashechewn, Midland, Moosonee, Morrisburg, Peawanuck, Picton,  Sundridge, and Wikwemikong. For more information, see Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020

Update November 6, 2020: Court proceedings in Thunder Bay
Court proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including in-person trials, are continuing despite a fire in the Thunder Bay courthouse. Court matters are either being conducted remotely or are being relocated to another location. For information see, Notice to the Profession and the Public: Continuity of Court Operations in Thunder Bay using Remote Technology or at an Alternate Location

Update November 2, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations
On November 9, 2020. Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts will launch in Bradford, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout
See Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020 for more details

Update October 30, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal hearings at Guelph on November 2, 2020

In-person criminal hearings at the Guelph courthouse (36 Wyndham Street South), which had been temporarily suspended, will resume on November 2, 2020.

Update October 29, 2020: Changes to Thunder Bay schedule for the weeks of October 26-30 and November 2 – 6.

Due to an emergency in the Thunder Bay Courthouse facility, the schedule for family and criminal proceedings between October 26 and November 9 have been revised. For details, see the schedules for the October 31 – November 1 WASH Court (weekend bail court), the November 7 – 8 WASH Court, and for the weeks of October 26-30 and November 2 – 6.

Update October 26, 2020: Changes to Thunder Bay schedule for the week of October 26-30.

Due to an emergency in the Thunder Bay Courthouse facility, the schedule for family and criminal proceedings between October 26 and October 30 has been revised. For details, see the schedules for the WASH Court (weekend bail court) and for the week of October 26-30.

Update October 22, 2020:Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations

Virtual criminal case management courts will be implemented between October 26 and November 30, 2020 in over 50 locations. On October 26, 2020, courts will launch in Exeter, Leamington and Walpole Island First Nation. On November 2, 2020. Courts will launch in Blind River, Elliot Lake, Hearst, Hornepayne, Huntsville, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Minden and Smooth Rock Falls.

See Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020.

Update October 21, 2020: In-Person Criminal Hearings Temporarily Suspended at Guelph (36 Wyndham Street South)

In-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries at the Guelph courthouse (36 Wyndham Street South) are suspended effective October 21, 2020 until further notice.

See Notice to the Profession and the Public – In-Person Criminal Hearings Temporarily Suspended at Guelph (36 Wyndham Street South)

Update September 25, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford will proceed on September 28, 2020

The resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 28, 2020.

Update September 17, 2020: Virtual Case Management Courts Opening in Certain Court Locations

Virtual criminal case management courts will be starting on Monday September 21 in the following locations:

311 Jarvis (Toronto), Belleville, Bracebridge, Brampton, Cobourg, Cochrane, College Park (Toronto), Dryden, Fort Frances, Gore Bay, Haileybury, Hamilton, Kenora, Kingston, Napanee, Newmarket, Old City Hall (Toronto), Orillia, Owen Sound and Walkerton

Update September 15, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal hearings at Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock will proceed on September 16, 2020

The resumption of in-person criminal hearings at Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock and of in-person family hearings in Gore Bay and Woodstock, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 16, 2020.

Update September 2, 2020:  Virtual Case Management Courts Opening in Certain Court Locations

Virtual case management courts will be starting on Tuesday September 8, 2020 in the following locations:

Barrie, Brantford, Brockville, Chatham, Cornwall, Lindsay, London, Milton, Niagara (St. Catharines / Welland / Fort Erie), North Bay, Parry Sound, Perth, Peterborough, Sarnia, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, Toronto North (1000 Finch) and Toronto West (2201 Finch)

Update September 2, 2020: Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts

For details about the scheduling and conduct of virtual criminal case management courts, including information about how counsel and accused persons may connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference, see Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances (Published August 20, 2020; Updated September 2, 2020).

Update August 26, 2020: New Virtual Case Management Courts Opening in Certain Court Locations

Virtual case management courts will be starting on Monday August 31, 2020 in the following locations:

Oshawa
Thunder Bay
Timmins
Toronto East (1911 Eglinton)

Update August 24, 2020: Guides for Court Appearances by Video or Telephone

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice is holding some court proceedings by using the Zoom platform or the JVN (Justice Video Network) WebRTC  platform or by audioconference (telephone).

To help to ensure that remote hearings run effectively, the Court is publishing Guidelines for Conducting Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice. The Guidelines provide best practices for remote hearings.

For technical information about participating in a Zoom hearing, please see the ZOOM User Guide for Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice.

For technical information about participating in a JVN hearing, please see the JVN WebRTC Manual and JVN WebRTC Troubleshooting Tips.

Latest Announcements About Family Proceedings in the OCJ

Updated May 26, 2021 – Scheduling of Family Matters at the Ontario Court of Justice: New Standardized Naming Protocol for documents that are filed electronically: COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Updated May 18, 2021 – Scheduling of Family Matters at the Ontario Court of Justice: COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Updated May 4, 2021 – Scheduling of Family Matters at the Ontario Court of Justice: COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Updated April 21, 2021 – Adjournment of Family and CYFSA Trials scheduled between April 26 and May 7, 2021:

Please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Updated April 8, 2021: COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (April 8, 2021)

Update March 31, 2021

On March 31, 2021, the Chief Justice made an Order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending timelines until September 7, 2021 relating to POA appeals under the Act that would have expired on or after March 15, 2020. Please see Order pursuant to s. 85 of the POA (March 31, 2021).

The time limits for proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice prescribed under the Provincial Offences Act in sections 116(2)(a), 116(3) and 135(2) of the Provincial Offences Act, and under sections 5(2) and 5(3) of the Rules of the Ontario Court (General Division) and the Ontario Court (Provincial Division) in Appeals Under Section 116 of the Provincial Offences Act, O. Reg. 723/94, that would have expired on or after March 15, 2020 are extended until September 7, 2021.

Prior to September 7th, 2021, only urgent POA appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice will be accepted for filing.  Urgent POA appeals are limited to those where the defendant is subject to a licence suspension.

As of April 12, 2021, any POA Appeal that is already before the court may be scheduled for a remote hearing as per the direction of the Regional Senior Justice.  No in-person POA Appeals will be held earlier than October 4, 2021.

Please see COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Update January 14, 2021: COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (January 14, 2021)

Update November 17, 2020: Resumption of Family matters in Northeast / Northwest regions; Resumption of First Appearance Court before the Clerk of the Court; Requirement to file sworn Form 6B: Affidavit of Service.

Family law matters in Elliot Lake and Kirkland Lake and Red Lake and Sioux Lookout are expected to resume on November 30, 2020.
Beginning November 30, 2020, across the province, First Appearance Court/First Court Date before a clerk will no longer be waived at locations where First Appearance Court/First Court Date before a Clerk is available.  These appearances before a clerk will resume and they will be held remotely.
And, beginning November 30, 2020,  the Ontario Court of Justice is requiring that sworn Affidavits of Service must be filed at all family court locations across the province, including filings received by e-mail or through the ministry’s Family Submissions Online platform.  Please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (November 17, 2020).

Update November 6, 2020: Court proceedings in Thunder Bay
Court proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including in-person trials, are continuing the despite a fire in the Thunder Bay courthouse. Court matters are either being conducted remotely or are being relocated to another location. For information see, Notice to the Profession and the Public: Continuity of Court Operations in Thunder Bay using Remote Technology or at an Alternate Location

Update October 29, 2020: Changes to Thunder Bay schedule for the weeks of October 26-30 and November 2 – 6.

Due to an emergency in the Thunder Bay Courthouse facility, the schedule for family and criminal proceedings between October 26 and November 9 have been revised. For details, see the schedules for the October 31 – November 1 WASH Court (weekend bail court), the November 7 – 8 WASH Court, and for the weeks of October 26-30 and November 2 – 6.

Update September 25, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford will proceed on September 28, 2020

The resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 28, 2020.

Update September 18, 2020: First Appearance Court/First Court Date Before a Clerk (Family Matters)

The First Appearance Court/First Court Date (Family Matters) will be waived between September 28, 2020 and November 27, 2020. The First Appearance Court/First Court Date before a clerk will resume on November 30, 2020.

Update September 15, 2020: Resumption of in-person family hearings in Gore Bay and Woodstock will proceed on September 16, 2020

The resumption of in-person family hearings in Gore Bay and Woodstock, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 16, 2020.

Update September 2, 2020: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

As of September 28, 2020,  the Ontario Court of Justice will begin to resume hearing Applications, Motions to Change, and Family Responsibility Office (FRO) matters. The resumption of these matters is in addition to the family law matters that the Ontario Court of Justice is currently hearing.

For further details about the scheduling of family matters, including a list of the court locations where family matters are being conducted with in-person appearances, please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice and the related First Appearance Court Waiver.

Update August 24, 2020: Guides for Court Appearances by Video or Telephone

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice is holding some court proceedings by using the Zoom platform or the JVN (Justice Video Network) WebRTC platform or by audioconference (telephone).

To help to ensure that remote hearings run effectively, the Court is publishing Guidelines for Conducting Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice. The Guidelines provide best practices for remote hearings.

For technical information about participating in a Zoom hearing, please see the ZOOM User Guide for Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice.

For technical information about participating in a JVN hearing, please see the JVN WebRTC Manual and JVN WebRTC Troubleshooting Tips.

Latest Announcements About Provincial Offences Act Proceedings in the OCJ

Update January 21, 2021

On January 21, 2021, the Chief Justice made an order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending timelines relating to POA appeals under the Act until April 12, 2021. In addition, Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday April 9, 2021 will be adjourned. Please see Order pursuant to s. 85 of the POA (January 21, 2021)

Remote hearings by video conference may begin at court locations that have the technology available and have advised the Ontario Court of Justice of their readiness to support video proceedings. This includes both trial and non-trial proceedings.

Once the Ontario Court of Justice is advised that a Provincial Offences court has implemented all the necessary health and safety measures, very limited in-person appearances, may begin at that location.

Remote appearances (by audio or video conferencing) will continue to be the presumption unless otherwise ordered by the Regional Senior Justice of the Peace or the presiding justice of the peace.

Update December 23, 2020

All in-person appearances scheduled in municipally-administered Provincial Offences courts and all Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice  will be adjourned until January 22, 2021. All court locations will continue to hear matters remotely. Please see COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Update November 25, 2020

On November 25, 2020, the Chief Justice of Ontario Court of Justice made an order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending most timelines under the Act until February 26, 2021. A copy of this order is available here:

Additionally, the Court has provided additional information about the scheduling direction on POA proceedings during COVID-19 in s. 4.0 of the revised COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Update October 14, 2020

All in-person appearances scheduled in municipally-administered Provincial Offences courts and all Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice  will be adjourned until January 22, 2021. All court locations will continue to hear matters remotely. Please see COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Update September 11, 2020: Order Extending Time Lines

On September 10, 2020, the Chief Justice of Ontario made an order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending most timelines under the Act until December 1, 2020. A copy of this order is available here:

Additionally, all Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday, October 30, 2020 will be adjourned.

Update September 2, 2020: Provincial Offences Act Matters

Until further notice, no in-person Provincial Offences Act proceedings will be conducted until at least Monday, October 19th, 2020. For details on the types of Provincial Offences Act matters that may proceed by audio conferencing, please see COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

General Information: COVID-19 Procedures and Scheduling

The Ontario Court of Justice has significantly revised its procedures and schedules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court adopted a reduced operational schedule beginning on March 16, 2020.  In accordance with directives from the Chief Medical Officers of Health of Canada and Ontario, restrictions and measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including requirements for physical distancing and limits on the numbers of people permitted in courthouses and courtrooms.

Since March 2020, the Court has been working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to adopt technology that will allow participants to access justice and court-related services without the need for attending in person. Many court proceedings, which have traditionally taken place in person, are now taking place using remote technology, such as videoconference or audioconference. The Court has also been working with justice partners to plan for the resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Criminal and Family Proceedings in the OCJ

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 first phase of the plan was implemented Monday July 6, 2020 in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms; additional courthouses resumed in-person hearings August 17 and 24 and September 14, 2020.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms resuming operations, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.   This involves the completion of site assessments at all courthouses and the implementation of all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, 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 any courthouse unless and until it has concluded that the health and safety of courthouse participants will be adequately protected.

More information about the precautionary health and safety measures at courthouses implemented is available on the following website:  COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms.  These heath and safety measures include screening of all persons entering the courthouse.  Before you enter an Ontario courthouse, you will need to answer screening questions. You can complete the online screening before going to court: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening and then show the result as you enter.  If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

Updates

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the resumption of hearings in 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

Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances on September 21, 2020 (Published September 17, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries Resuming in the Ontario Court of Justice at Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock on September 16, 2020 (Published September 15, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Delay in Resuming Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in the Ontario Court of Justice at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock (Published September 11, 2020)

Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances on September 8, 2020 (Published September 2, 2020)

Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances (Published August 20, 2020; updated September 2, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice (Published August 26, 2020)

Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances: Oshawa, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave. East) (Published August 26, 2020)

Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances (Published August 20, 2020)

Update regarding Criminal Case Management Appearances – Province-Wide Implementation of Virtual Case Management Courts (Published August 19, 2020)

Information for Self-Represented Accused Persons with Criminal Cases in the Ontario Court of Justice (Published August 19, 2020)

COVID-19:  Waiver of Personal Attendance and Request for Adjournment / Remand by Accused Persons in Custody (August 12, 2020)

Notice to the Profession and the Public: Update regarding the Scheduling of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries (August 12, 2020)

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)

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