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Provincial Court of Alberta

Last updated:
March 31, 2021

COVID-19 COURT INFORMATION (Main resource link)


COVID-19 MEASURES — UPDATED MARCH 16, 2021

  • Conduct Guide for Remote Hearings
  • Protocol for Booking Courtroom Technology for Remote Witnesses
  • Traffic court, including Circuit Court locations, will re-open for trials only as of April 6, 2021.
  • Circuit court dockets are continuing remotely; no personal attendance is allowed.
  • Regional Courts continue to conduct bail hearings, dispositions (both in- and out-of-custody), trials and preliminary hearings subject to adjournment applications by counsel.
  • Regional Courts family and child protection docket matters, youth matters and civil matters continue to proceed remotely.
  • Edmonton and Calgary low-complexity out-of-custody trials will reopen March 1, 2021.
  • Edmonton and Calgary all other criminal, civil and family and child protection matters continue to be heard as scheduled.
  • Detailed Court Resumption protocols have been established for each Court division and region, and are available at the links below.
  • With the increase in COVID-19 cases and the attendance restrictions on personal appearances, the Court has been receiving more requests for witnesses to appear remotely. All such requests should be made 30 days in advance. For information on how to make an application for a witness to appear remotely, please read the attached document.

More Information

COVID-19 Safety Measures

Strict health and safety measures have been put in place in all locations for:

  • physical distancing and monitoring of same;
  • wearing of masks and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE);
  • modifying courtrooms and other spaces; and
  • enhanced cleaning.

Do not come into a courthouse in person if you have been advised to self-isolate by public health officials, your doctor or the Alberta Health Services website; or you are self-isolating as a result of travel or contact with individuals with COVID-19.

The Provincial Court will continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, and will provide updates regarding the staged reopening. We thank all stakeholders who have provided support and input during the development of the resumption plans.

Managing physical distancing and other health and safety protocols will take the effort and cooperation of all court users and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

Covid-19 Criminal Adult Matters

  • All matters currently proceeding remotely will continue to proceed remotely.
  • Edmonton and Calgary low complexity out-of-custody trials (non-domestic violence) will re-open on March 1, 2021.
  • Regional Courts will continue to conduct bail hearings, dispositions (both in and out-of-custody), trials and preliminary hearings subject to adjournment applications by counsel.
  • Remote Dockets: No in-person attendance is permitted unless there is prior approval of the Court or the specific Regional Protocol allows it. Counsel and out of custody self-represented litigants must continue to appear remotely for docket appearances at court locations with CMOs and those without CMOs in accordance with the Case Management Office (CMO) and Out of Custody Docket Court Resumption Protocol.
  • Judicial authorization applications: The Court will continue to hear judicial authorization applications either through the Hearing Office, by attending in Provincial Court Judges’ Chambers at a base location or in Edmonton through the Edmonton Digital Judicial Authorization Rule and Protocol.
  • Criminal Fines (Adult and Youth): Applications for extension of time to pay for payment on criminal fines will be accepted by the Provincial Court via mail, email, fax or telephone.
  • Criminal Fine Extension Process

For further information regarding specific court locations, their protocols and practices, see the following links:

COVID-19 CIVIL MATTERS

  • Edmonton and Calgary:  All civil matters will continue as scheduled. Those trials scheduled between December 14, 2020 and January 29, 2021 will be assessed and may be adjourned to a future date.  Unless advised to the contrary the matters presently scheduled will proceed.
  • Regional Courts will continue to hear civil matters virtually.  All trials will proceed unless adjourned by the parties or with leave of the court

General Protocols

The following protocols apply to Civil Claims:

  • There will be no presumptive adjournments of any civil matters.
  • Matters scheduled after July 6 will proceed as scheduled.
  • There may be in-person mediations, pre-trial conferences, trials and other applications as set out in the Civil Court Resumption Protocol. In Edmonton and Calgary, pretrial conferences and applications will be conducted in person. In areas outside of Edmonton and Calgary, pretrial conferences and applications will be conducted by telephone.
  • See Regional Protocols below for specific instructions for your region.

Filing

In Edmonton and Calgary, in-person filing at the civil counters will be accepted for urgent matters only. Drop boxes are to be used for non-urgent filing, however the six-day waiting period has been eliminated. Documents placed in the drop boxes in Edmonton and Calgary will be processed as soon as reasonably possible.

The drop boxes are located at the entrances to the Calgary Court Centre and Edmonton Law Courts. Once the filing procedures have been completed, the documents may be picked up by lawyers/agents/runners and will be mailed out to self represented litigants. Please include a cheque in instances where there is a filing fee.

In areas other than Edmonton and Calgary, filing of documents regarding Provincial Court Civil matters will be accepted at the counters although drop boxes are also available in Red Dear and Wetaskiwin and their use is encouraged.

Mediations

Mediations are being held as previously scheduled in both Edmonton and Calgary by telephone. WebEx or Zoom processes are being developed.

Pre-trial Conferences

  1. All pretrial conferences which have been adjourned pursuant to the master COVID-19 order have been rescheduled. All pretrial conferences that had been scheduled for after July 3 are proceeding as scheduled.
  2. In-person appearances commenced July 6, 2020, in Edmonton and Calgary. For matters scheduled in areas other than Edmonton and Calgary pre-trial conferences will be held virtually.
  3. Pre-trial conferences are being held in courtrooms in both Edmonton and Calgary. Conference rooms are not being utilized due to social distancing concerns.

Trials

  1. In person civil trials commenced across the province on July 6, 2020. Social distancing, masks and sanitization protocols are enforced.
  2. Matters that have been scheduled for July 6 and after will proceed as scheduled.

Applications

  1. In-person applications have been conducted after July 6, 2020 in Edmonton and Calgary. Social distancing, masks and sanitization protocols are being enforced.
  2. Applications outside of Edmonton and Calgary will be held by teleconference.
  3. Staggered scheduling of in-person applications may be implemented to avoid an influx of people at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. each day.

WebEx

We continue to encourage virtual hearings where feasible whether by telephone or Webex. Parties are to contact the local court clerks to determine availability of WebEx for their matter, and to arrange scheduling.

Edmonton and Calgary Civil Division Hotlines

For scheduling concerns, please call the civil division hotlines. Those lines are:

  • Edmonton: 780-422-2508
  • Calgary: 403 297-7217

Regional Protocols

Provincial Court Pandemic Plan - COVID19

Conduct Guide for Remote Hearings

Master Order Relating to Court's Response to COVID-19  

COVID-19 FAMILY AND YOUTH CRIMINAL

  • Subject to further notice, Youth Criminal docket matters will continue as currently scheduled. Counsel are to appear remotely or in person, and use designations of counsel where possible. Trials and sentencing are to occur as scheduled. In certain cases, the young person must appear. For Youth tickets follow the Traffic Court protocol.
  • Until further notice, all Family and Child Protection matters in Edmonton and Calgary will continue as scheduled.
  • Until further notice, Family and Child Protection in Regional Courts will continue to conduct docket matters in Family and Child Protection but all dockets are proceeding virtually. All trials will proceed unless adjourned by the parties or with leave of the court.
  • Until further notice, Calgary Regional Family and Child Protection matters may be moved to a different court location. Contact the Calgary Regional Court Clerks office for more information.
  • Child Protection Docket matters, Case Management Conferences, Case Conferences and Pretrial Conferences will be by remote appearance or in person, depending on your local area, so please check the protocol for the courthouse you will be appearing in.
  • Initial Custody Hearings and trials will occur as scheduled with in-person attendance of witnesses, parties and counsel unless otherwise directed by the court.
  • Emergency Protection Orders, PCHAD, PSECA, Mental Health Warrants, and Secure Services applications are to occur in person unless exceptional circumstances exist.
  • In Family Law matters, docket and pretrial conferences are to occur by remote appearance by parties and counsel, or in person depending on your local area, so please check the protocol for the courthouse you are appearing in. Trials and JDRs are to occur as scheduled with local protocols governing how counsel and parties are to appear.  Matters are not being presumptively adjourned.

For further information regarding specific court locations and their protocols, see the following links:

COVID-19 TRAFFIC COURT

Traffic court, including Circuit Court locations, will re-open for trials only as of May 17, 2021.

If you have an appearance scheduled for anything other than a trial, do not attend the Court in person.  Contact the Court handling your matter by telephone, email or fax if you:

  • Do not dispute your ticket but need time to pay,
  • Wish to adjourn your matter, or
  • Wish to plead not guilty and set a trial date. Not guilty pleas will also continue to be accepted by mail. Follow the instructions on your ticket for submitting a not guilty plea by mail.

If you fail to contact the Court handling your matter on or before your scheduled appearance date, you may be convicted in absence or a warrant may be issued for your arrest.  If you are convicted in absence, you may be subject to a late penalty charge.

FINE PAYMENT MAY BE MADE:

  • Online at fine payments: As part of the overall response to COVID-19, the Government of Alberta has temporarily waived the service fee for online fine payments to assist Albertans while traffic courts are closed to the public.
  • By mail to the Provincial Traffic Production Centre, 601 – 5 Street S.W., Calgary, Alberta T2P 5P7. Please make your cheque payable to the Government of Alberta.
  • Through a registry office. You must take a copy of your ticket with you. A fee is applicable.

All provincial ticket, bylaw and other matters scheduled for trial between December 14 and April 1, 2021 (inclusive) will need to be rescheduled.  Please contact the court office noted on the back of your ticket to reschedule your trial date.

Court contact information for traffic closure matters.

TICKETS WITH AN UPCOMING COURT DATE

If you have a ticket with an upcoming first court appearance date, you can pay it online, at a registry office or by mail (see below under Paying Tickets and Fines). Contact the court handling your matter by telephone or email if you:

  • Do not dispute your ticket but need time to pay;
  • Wish to adjourn your matter, or
  • Wish to plead not guilty and set a trial date.  Not guilty pleas will also continue to be accepted by mail, as per the instructions on your ticket.

IF YOU MISSED YOUR COURT DATE

If you recently became aware that you were convicted of a traffic or other ticket offence in your absence, resulting in an overdue fine plus late payment charge, and if you have a reasonable excuse for not paying the ticket or pleading not guilty to it by the appearance date, or not appearing for trial, you can apply to have the conviction set aside. To do so, follow the instructions provided with the COVID-19 application to set aside a conviction.

If you missed a court appearance date that has resulted in a warrant issuing for your arrest, contact the court handling your matter by phone or email for further direction.

REMOTE OUT-OF-CUSTODY DISPOSITIONS AND OTHER APPLICATIONS

Commencing July 6, 2020, Calgary Traffic Court will remotely hear, via Webex and in the absence of the Defendant, out-of-custody dispositions and/or any other applications ONLY where the Defendant is represented by Defence Counsel or a Commercial Legal Agent (a person who routinely represents others in Traffic Courts in Alberta for a fee, but is not a lawyer).  Matters will be heard before a Justice of the Peace by Webex, and will include:

  • Matters that the Crown and Defence Counsel/Commercial Legal Agent have proposed are eligible to be heard;
  • Guilty pleas, adjournment requests, requests for time to pay extensions, set-aside applications after conviction in absence, and joint submissions that do not involve a period of incarceration.

Details of the Remote Out-of-Custody Dispositions and Other Applications are set out in the Traffic Court Practice Note.

As the Court considers hearing other remote hearings for Traffic Court matters, a further practice note will be provided.

REQUESTS FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO PAY

If you require more time to pay your fine, you can request more time by completing the Request for Extension of Time to Pay form and emailing the form to the court office handling your matter.

A Justice of the Peace/Provincial Court Judge will review your request on the day that your fine is due and you will be notified of the decision by email/mail at the contact information provided on the form.

Requests for extensions must be made in advance of the fine due date.

NOTE: EXTENSIONS OF TIME TO PAY ARE NOT AUTOMATIC.

Further Information


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