COVID-19 Coronavirus Criminal Court Updates in Ontario

As Ontario struggles to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the criminal courts have taken measures to minimize the spread. These measures include adjourning cases, closing courthouses, expediting in-custody cases, increasing hygiene and protective measures for staff and counsel, and releasing updates to keep the public informed.

This page attempts to compile all that information in one location along with links to more detailed information released by the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice, Legal Aid Ontario, and other justice stakeholders.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Court and Justice Updates

Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020 (Published October 22, 2020)

The Ontario Court of Justice is continuing to implement virtual criminal case management courts, in which criminal case management appearances will be conducted by videoconference or audioconference.

Virtual criminal case management courts will be implemented in the following locations on the identified dates:

DateLocation
October 26 2020Exeter, Leamington, Walpole Island First Nation (West Region)
November 2, 2020Huntsville, Minden (Central East Region)
Blind River, Elliot Lake, Hearst, Hornepayne, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Smooth Rock Falls (Northeast Region)
November 9, 2020Bradford (Central East Region)
Sioux Lookout, Red Lake
November 16, 2020Collingwood (Central East Region)
Atikokan, Bearskin Lake, Big Trout Lake, Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Ignace, Kasabonika Lake, Keewaywin, Kingfisher, Lac Seul, Mishkeegogamang, Muskrat Dam, North Spirit Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Rainy River, Sachigo Lake, Sandy Lake, Wapekeka, Weagamow,  Wunnumin Lake
November 23, 2020Midland (Central East Region)
Alexandria, Morrisburg, Picton (East Region)
November 30, 2020Arnstrong, Geraldton, Longlac, Marathon, Manitouwadge, Schreiber, Nipigon, Fort Hope, Landsdowne, Ogoki Post, Summer Beaver, Webequie

Details about virtual criminal case management court appearances are available in the Notice, Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances.

Further information about criminal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including the definition of “case management appearances”, is available in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Note:  The automatic adjournment of criminal case management appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large dockets.  In addition, it will likely take all participants some time to adapt to the new procedures and technology involved in conducting these appearances using remote technology. The Court encourages and appreciates the cooperation and patience of all participants, particularly at the beginning of this initiative.  The Court will revise and refine the procedures for these virtual case management courts, as appropriate, based on feedback and as court operations continue to evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendance at Case Management Court

The number of people who may be present in the courthouse and in the courtroom remains restricted in order to comply with health and safety precautions and maintain safe physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  For this reason, in-person attendances for criminal court case management appearances can not currently be accommodated at all court locations.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in any of the court locations listed above, do not attend court in person.

Scheduling and Connection Information

Each case management court has its own unique video link and its own unique telephone number / passcode combination that is needed to connect to the court. This information is set out in courthouse-specific schedules available on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

To facilitate more orderly proceedings and to limit the number of people waiting on the line to have their matters addressed, case management court lists have been subdivided into tiers. Counsel and accused persons are encouraged to connect to the case management courtroom at the time specified for their tier. However, the Court recognizes that, as a result of the automatic adjournment of matters and other scheduling changes, counsel may have conflicting court obligations which will prevent counsel from being able to attend during the allotted time.

The scheduling and connection information for criminal case management courts may change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as court operations continue to expand.  Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Criminal Case Management Court Appearances in Other Satellite Court Locations

The Ontario Court of Justice has implemented virtual criminal case management courts in all base court locations across Ontario and in a number of satellite court locations. Implementation of virtual criminal case management courts in additional satellite court locations will continue over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, the automatic adjournment of criminal court appearances for accused persons who are not in custody will continue at satellite court locations until the virtual criminal case management court is implemented at that particular location.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice on or before November 30, 2020 in a satellite court location other than those listed below, do not attend court.  The court will adjourn your matter for approximately five weeks without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion”, which will require you to attend court on the new date.  To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.

Courthouse-specific Scheduling and Connection Information

The chart below includes all Virtual Criminal Case Management Court locations implemented on or before November 2, 2020.  Additional locations added before their Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts are implemented.

BarrieBellevilleBlind River
BracebridgeBramptonBrantford
BrockvilleCayugaChatham
CobourgCochraneCornwall
DrydenElliot LakeExeter
Fort ErieFort FrancesGoderich
Gore BayGuelphHaileybury
HamiltonHearstHornepayne
Huntsville (posted soon)KapuskasingKenora
KingstonKirkland LakeKitchener
LeamingtonLindsayLondon
MiltonMindenNapanee
NewmarketNorth BayOrangeville
L’OrignalOrilliaOshawa
OttawaOwen SoundParry Sound
PembrokePerthPeterborough
St. CatharinesSt. ThomasSarnia
SimcoeSmooth Rock FallsStratford
Sault Ste MarieSudburyThunder Bay
TimminsToronto (311 Jarvis)Toronto (College Park)
Toronto East (1911 Eglinton)Toronto (Old City Hall)Toronto North (1000 Finch)
Toronto West (2201 Finch)WalkertonWalpole Island First Nation
WellandWindsorWoodstock

Notice to the Profession and the Public – In-Person Criminal Hearings Temporarily Suspended at Guelph (36 Wyndham Street South) (Published October 21, 2020)

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has advised that the Guelph courthouse located at 36 Wyndham Street South will be closed effective October 21, 2020 until further notice for an HVAC assessment and remediation.

As a result, in-person criminal hearings of the Ontario Court of Justice at the Guelph courthouse (36 Wyndham Street South) are suspended until further notice. Remote proceedings, including bail, plea court, judicial pre-trials, and criminal case management court, will proceed as scheduled.

This notice sets out the procedure that will apply until further notice to in-person criminal hearings (including criminal trials and preliminary inquiries) of the Ontario Court of Justice scheduled to be heard in the Guelph courthouse (36 Wyndham Street South) on or after October 21, 2020.

Please note that, because family proceedings are conducted at a different courthouse (74 Woolwich Street), they have not been affected and will proceed as scheduled.

1) Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries at Guelph

Criminal trials and preliminary inquiries will not proceed in person at the Guelph Courthouse until further notice.

Where appropriate, trials and preliminary inquiries may proceed using remote technology (videoconference or audioconference) or may be relocated to another courthouse.

a) Trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled for the weeks of October 21 – 23, 2020 and October 26 – 30, 2020

For trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled the week of October 21 – 23 and the week of October 26 – 30, counsel will be contacted and provided with details about how their matter will proceed.

b) Trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to commence on or after November 2, 2020

All criminal cases scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry at Guelph commencing on or after Monday November 2, 2020 be addressed in the COVID-19 trial readiness court, in accordance with the procedure set out in section 1c of the Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings as of July 6, 2020. All counsel and accused persons will appear by videoconference or audioconference.

Details regarding the COVID-19 trial readiness court in Guelph as follows:

Court date: Monday of the week before
Court time: 1 pm (all matters)
Audioconference: 1-866-633-1033, Conference ID# 3763473

c) Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in Guelph may Proceed Using Remote Technology

The Court is prepared to hear trials or preliminary inquiries using remote technology (audioconference and videoconference) where the technology is available and subject to the discretion of the judge presiding over the hearing.

Counsel and parties are encouraged to consider and discuss with one another whether all or any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) can be conducted using remote technology. If counsel intend to propose that some or all of a hearing be conducted using remote technology, counsel should immediately advise the Court, so that the Court can confirm if the necessary technology is available and so that the matter can be brought forward to be addressed, if necessary.

2) Other Court Proceedings Will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All criminal proceedings other than criminal trials and preliminary inquiries will continue to be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody and case management (set date) appearances for accused persons who are in custody or out of custody.

3) Resumption of In-person Criminal Hearings in Guelph

Notice will be given advising when the Guelph courthouse is ready to resume in-person hearings. Please check back on the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding In-Person Operations in Newmarket (October 16, 2020)

Today, the Premier announced a return to a modified Stage Two in York Region as a result of significant increases in COVID cases. As a result, I have made the difficult decision that our Court must adjust our operations in the Newmarket Courthouse.

Jury trials

Jury Selection

New jury selection in Newmarket is suspended for the next 28 days.

In-progress jury trials and non-jury trials and proceedings

The decision to continue matters that are in progress, including jury trials, will be made by the trial judge.

Upcoming non-jury trials and other in-person proceedings – 10 persons or less

In-person non-jury trials and other in-person proceedings (including civil and family matters) that are upcoming in Newmarket can proceed as scheduled in-person if they are limited to 10 persons or less in the courtroom. However, efforts should be made to hear matters remotely, wherever possible.

I recognize that some counsel, parties and justice participants may be uncomfortable attending a courthouse during this time. Some may have underlying health conditions, or live with someone who does, or have other issues arising from the pandemic. In view of the concerning public health situation in these three centres, the Court must respond with great flexibility. I have encouraged all judicial officers, when exercising their authority, to be flexible and to respect the various reasons why an individual may not be comfortable attending a courthouse in person. The feasibility of a virtual hearing is to be explored, when requested. Similarly, I encourage counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings are made by opposing counsel or parties.

I wish to thank the Recovery Secretariat for the enormous efforts made in the past months to resume court operations and jury matters. It has been a monumental task.

This is a very difficult time. I did not make this decision lightly. We must continue to do what we can to move matters forward but also to make every effort to support public health efforts to stabilize the situation.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Notice: suspension of in-person hearings and processes at Milton Courthouse (October 15, 2020)

The Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) and Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) have suspended all in-person court hearings and processes at the Milton courthouse. Information regarding the re-scheduling of in-person criminal, youth, intake court, family and civil court proceedings will be provided as soon as possible.

Mould has been found and remediated in the Milton courthouse in the past. The Ministry of the Attorney General has recently informed the Courts of a new discovery of mould in the Milton courthouse. While air quality tests undertaken by experts suggest the air quality is safe, the SCJ and OCJ are concerned about the recurring discovery of mould in this building. Accordingly, both Courts have suspended in-person court hearings and processes at the Milton courthouse pending the completion of a comprehensive, independent health and safety investigation of the entire courthouse, which will include the remediation of any hazards identified.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz
Superior Court of Justice
Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve,
Ontario Court of Justice

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public Re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (October 14, 2020)

*This Notice supersedes previously announced notices.

Effective Date: 19 May 2020

Revised: 14 October 2020

1. INTRODUCTION

The Ontario Court of Justice continues to work with stakeholders to ensure all courts, including Provincial Offences courts, can return to operations in a safe manner. The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Recovery Secretariat is working with the municipalities that administer Provincial Offences courts to facilitate a consistent, province-wide recovery plan for all Provincial Offences courts. To ensure that municipalities safely reopen physical courthouses to meet provincial public health standards the Recovery Secretariat will take a leadership role in guiding a safe physical reopening of courthouses, based on provincial public health advice.

Until the in-person recovery is deemed safe, the Ontario Court of Justice will be adjourning all in-person Provincial Offences Act proceedings held in municipally-administered Provincial Offences courts. As a result, all in-person appearances scheduled in municipally-administered Provincial Offences courts will be adjourned until January 22, 2021.

While in-person proceedings will be adjourned, remote proceedings will continue to occur and be expanded across the province

Beginning September 28, 2020, Provincial Offences Act matters may proceed remotely as described below in s. 4.1.1. Judicial pre-trials as described below in s. 4.3 and early resolution guilty pleas described below in s. 4.4 may continue to be held remotely.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General and representatives of Provincial Offences courts, to determine how technology can be used to increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means, such as by the electronic filing of court material, remote scheduling processes, and remote hearings. The Court is also working with justice partners to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Do not come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor, or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates to this Notice.

2. APPLICATION

This Notice applies to all Provincial Offences Act matters before the Ontario Court of Justice.

3. LIMITATION PERIODS UNDER THE PROVINCIAL OFFENCES ACT

On September 10, 2020 the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice 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: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/files/POAs85OrderSeptember10.pdf

If you received an Offence Notice (ticket) or Parking Infraction Notice (parking ticket) after March 1, 2020, you have until December 1st, 2020 to exercise one of the options set out on the back of the Notice. If you do not respond by December 1st, 2020 you may be deemed not to dispute the charge and a justice may enter a conviction for the offence.

Please refer to the Order for a list of all steps in a proceeding that are impacted by the extension of time.

The Government of Ontario’s Order made pursuant to Ontario Regulation 73/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 suspending time limitations expired September 13, 2020. This order is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200073

4. SCHEDULING DIRECTIVES

4.1 Suspension of All In-Person Proceedings

Except as otherwise noted in this practice direction, all Provincial Offences Act (POA) in- person proceedings scheduled in a municipally-administered Provincial Offences court from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday, January 22, 2021 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. If you have a proceeding scheduled during this time, do not attend court in person. This applies to all Provincial Offences courts in Ontario.

All court locations will continue to hear matters remotely as outlined in this notice.

A notice of the new court date will be sent to both parties by mail to the address on file with the court. For more information, please contact your local Provincial Offences court.

Contact information for all Provincial Offences courts is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/poa/

4.1.1 Remote Hearings

Beginning September 28, 2020, the Ontario Court of Justice will hear non-trial POA proceedings (e.g., guilty pleas, withdrawals, judgment delivery, first appearances, and adjournments) remotely by audio conferencing. In addition, beginning October 19, 2020, the Ontario Court of Justice will hear closing submissions of trials, sentencing submissions and impose sentences remotely by audio conferencing subject to the direction of the Justice of the Peace assigned to the matter.

The Ontario Court of Justice continues to work with the Ministry of the Attorney General and Provincial Offences courts to prepare for the resumption of trials. More information about the resumption of trials in Provincial Offences courts will be forthcoming.

Recent amendments to the Provincial Offences Act permit most POA matters to proceed remotely. In light of these amendments, the Ontario Court of Justice will begin to schedule and hear additional POA proceedings by audio conferencing, which is the platform most Provincial Offences courts have available. Consistent with the remote proceeding provisions of the Provincial Offences Act, these proceedings will only be heard in locations where the electronic method (i.e., audio conferencing) is made available by the court office.

If you have a matter that will be proceeding by audio conferencing, you or your representative will receive notice of your hearing date from the court office. Please ensure your contact information is up to date with the court office where your matter is being heard.

Contact information for all Provincial Offences courts is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/poa/

4.2 POA Appeals

Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday, January 22, 2021 will be adjourned.

If you need to update your address with the court, please contact the courthouse where the appeal is scheduled to be heard. A listing of all court addresses is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

4.3 Judicial Pre-Trials

Judicial pre-trials continue to be held by audio conference.  Cases subject to judicial pre-trials will be determined by local protocol. Parties will be notified of the date and time of the judicial pre-trial and the information for attending the audio conference.

4.4 Early Resolution Guilty Pleas

Beginning July 6, 2020, early resolution guilty pleas pursuant to s. 5.1(8) of the Provincial Offences Act started proceeding before a Justice of the Peace remotely by audio conference in some of the early resolution Provincial Offences courts in the province.

Formal early resolution is only available in some jurisdictions across the province where the Offence Notice (ticket) indicates the option to request an early resolution meeting with the prosecutor. The decision to offer early resolution is a decision made by the municipalities.

These will continue to proceed remotely.

4.5 Young Persons

Provincial Offences Act matters where the defendant is a young person (individual under 16 years of age) are scheduled to appear and be heard in a provincially-administered Ontario Court of Justice. As a result, these matters will be dealt with consistent with matters in criminal court.

Up to date information about cases in criminal court, which applies to POA young person matters, is available on the Ontario Court of justice website at https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/

If you need to update your address with the court, or need information about a specific case, please contact the courthouse where the matter is scheduled to be heard. A listing of all provincially-administered court addresses are available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

5. ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES

5.1 Electronic Signatures

The Ontario Court of Justice will accept electronically signed documents where a signature is required. An electronic signature consists of electronic information that identifies the signatory and the date and place of signing. For example, you may type your name as your signature.

6. FILING OF POA APPEALS

6.1 Filing of POA Appeals

Until further notice 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.

If you are subject to a licence suspension and would like to file an appeal, you may do so by emailing your Notice of Appeal to the appropriate courthouse. For a list of courthouse email addresses see: Contacts and Courthouse Info. If you are unable to file documents by email, contact your local courthouse by email or telephone to find out about other options that are available or information about attending your local courthouse.

If you are appealing a matter under PART III (summons offences) of the POA, you must still serve your Notice of Appeal on the prosecutor’s office before you file it with the appeal court office.

More information about POA appeals is available in the Guide to Appeals in Provincial Offences Cases. The Guide is available here: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/self-represented-parties/guide-to-appeals-in-provincial-offences-cases/guide/.

Please note that most timelines under the Provincial Offences Act have been extended by an Order of the Chief Justice as described above in s. 3 of this Notice.

Notice to the Profession – Central West Region (September 25, 2020)

Effective October 5, 2020

This is a further Notice to the Profession to deal with the continued re-opening of the Superior Court of Justice in the Central West Region. This Notice to the Profession supersedes the prior Central West Notices to the Profession dated May 13, 2020 and June 25, 2020.

Counsel, parties and the public attending the courthouses must ensure strict compliance with all health and safety requirements posted throughout the courthouse. Failure to comply will result in being denied admission to or being required to leave the courthouse. If you are uncertain about the health and safety requirements in the courthouse, please inquire before attending the courthouse.

The Superior Court of Justice is moving towards complete electronic filing of all court documents. All electronic materials MUST be filed in accordance with any provisions in the Rules of Civil Procedure, the Family Law RulesAmendments to the Criminal Proceedings Rules for the Superior Court (Ontario), August 12, 2020, Part IX and the Central West Region Filing Court Documents linked at the end of this Notice. Counsel and parties are encouraged to check this link before filing documents with the court as the Central West Region Filing Court Documents will be updated from time to time. Failure to file court documents in accordance with the Central West Region Filing Court Documents will result in the documents being rejected.

Each electronic material filed for use in court proceedings must have proper file names. This requires the file name to indicate:

  1. the name of the party filing the material AND whether they are the plaintiff/applicant or defendant/respondent such as Ms. X, Respondent;
  2. a description of material such as, “Affidavit” or “Notice of Motion” or “Factum”; and
  3. the date of the material was created or signed.

For example: “ABC Inc. Applicant’s Notice of Motion September 14 2020

Each electronic material must have each page consecutively numbered, including any attachments such as exhibits.

All electronically filed documents must be served on all interested parties in accordance with the applicable Rules and must clearly set out the email addresses of the party filing the materials and all other interested parties.

Barrister gowns must be worn for all trials and for criminal pre-trial applications unless the presiding justice orders otherwise. All other hearings, including virtual hearings are formal court hearings which require counsel and the parties attending to act with due respect for the Rules and court decorum including wearing proper business attire at such hearings.

CRIMINAL MATTERS

Criminal Applications and pre-trial conferences

All requests for criminal applications and pre-trial conferences will require the applicant to email the Trial Coordinator’s Office, briefly outlining the case name, nature of the application and if there is any urgency to the matter. The email should be copied to opposing counsel.

For applications, counsel will be contacted with an available date and time for a conference call with a judge to determine whether the application will proceed, when it can proceed, time estimates, whether the application will proceed in person, by audioconference or videoconference and other details of the application.

For pre-trial conferences, the Trial Coordinator will provide counsel with the date and time for a conference call pre-trial conference.

Please contact the local Trial Coordinator for further details.

Brampton: Criminal Trials

All Criminal Jury and Non-Jury trials scheduled in Brampton will be tried subject to courtroom availability. The “Monday morning pre-trials” will now be held on the Thursday and/or Friday afternoon before the trial is to commence at times to be arranged by the Trial Coordinator.

All Pre-trial conferences and Trial Readiness Court attendances remain mandatory for all trials scheduled to proceed.

Trial Readiness and Assignment Court appearances will be by audioconference unless ordered otherwise. The cases will be called in the order in which they appear on the docket. Counsel should call 416-212-8013 ID 3360284# Please do not announce your name when prompted. Just push the # key.

With regards to accused in custody, counsel are strongly encouraged to obtain and file designations so that the accused does not have to be brought to court or appear remotely in Assignment Court or Trial Readiness Court.

For Assignment Courts, counsel can obtain a pre-trial date as noted above from the Trial Coordinator’s Office before committal for trial. The accused can then be remanded directly to the pre-trial date without an Assignment Court appearance. Where a pre-trial date has not been obtained before the committal, counsel can arrange a pre-trial date in advance of the Assignment Court through the Trial Office as noted above. If the date is after the Assignment Court, the accused will be remanded from the Assignment Court with a discretionary bench warrant to the pre-trial date.

For Trial Readiness Court appearances, counsel are reminded that Form 18 C-1 to the Criminal Proceedings Rules of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) that can be emailed to the Trial Coordinator three days in advance of Trial Readiness Court. Provided all counsel agree that all filings requirements have been met, there is no need to attend Trial Readiness Court.

As with all Superior Court appearances, all counsel must know the net Jordan date and be prepared to indicate whether the proposed dates raise Jordan issues.

Milton, Guelph, Orangeville, Walkerton and Owen Sound: Criminal Trials

Criminal trials scheduled in these centres will be tried subject to courtroom availability.

Criminal jury trials in these centres, which cannot be accommodated in the center, may be moved to Brampton or other courthouses within or outside the Region, depending on courtroom availability and jury selection facilities.

Summary Conviction Appeals in Central West region

Summary Conviction Appeals will continue to be scheduled and heard. Once all filings are completed, counsel will be notified of the time assigned for the appeal and to arrange a scheduling conference call to determine the time/date and whether the appeal will proceed in person, by audio or video.

ELECTRONIC FILING

All documents filed with the court must be in accordance with the attached “Central West Region Filing Court Documents”, failing which, the documents may NOT be before the court.

The following link contains the updated information as to where court documents MUST be electronically filed by counsel and the parties. https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/notice-cw-september-25-2020/cw-filing/

RSJ Ricchetti

Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances (Published August 20, 2020; last updated September 17, 2020)

This Notice outlines how virtual criminal case management appearances will be conducted.

The Ontario Court of Justice is implementing virtual criminal case management courts, in which criminal case management appearances will be conducted by videoconference or audioconference.  On Monday August 10, 2020, a virtual criminal case management court pilot was launched in Ottawa and Kitchener. Province-wide implementation began on August 24, 2020 and is continuing over the next several weeks

Further information about criminal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including the definition of “case management appearances”, is available in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Note:  The automatic adjournment of criminal case management appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large dockets.  In addition, it will likely take all participants some time to adapt to the new procedures and technology involved in conducting these appearances using remote technology.  The Court encourages and appreciates the cooperation and patience of all participants, particularly at the beginning of this initiative.  The Court will revise and refine the procedures for these virtual case management courts, as appropriate, based on feedback and as court operations continue to evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1)    Implementation of Criminal Case Management Courts

Set out below is a list of court locations that have implemented virtual criminal case management courts or whose implementation dates have been confirmed:

Court location(s)Date
Kitchener, OttawaAugust 10, 2020
Cayuga, Goderich, Guelph, L’Orignal, Orangeville, Pembroke, Stratford, Simcoe, St. Thomas, Windsor, WoodstockAugust 24, 2020
Oshawa, Timmins, Thunder Bay, Toronto East/1911 EglintonAugust 31, 2020
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), Toronto West (2201 Finch)September 8, 2020
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, WalkertonSeptember 21, 2020

This list will be updated regularly as virtual case management court are implemented in additional locations.

Case management appearances include a “first appearance” and matters scheduled “to be spoken to” or to “set a date”. They do not include trials, preliminary hearings, guilty pleas or sentencings.  A description of the case management court(s) at each court location is set out in the schedules setting out courthouse-specific scheduling and connection information.

2)    Remote Appearances Using Zoom

As of the implementation date noted in the chart above, counsel and accused persons who are out of custody will be able to attend for criminal case management appearances by audioconference (telephone) or videoconference using Zoom.

Criminal case management appearances will be conducted using Zoom, which allows participants to join by videoconference or audioconference (telephone).

A Zoom account is not required to participate in Zoom hearings. You can download Zoom at https://zoom.us/ free of charge. User tutorials for Zoom are available at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

Except as set out within this notice, criminal case management appearances will be conducted by remote appearance (audioconference or videoconference) only.  Attendance in criminal case management courtrooms will be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

The number of people who may be present in the courthouse and in the courtroom remains restricted in order to comply with health and safety precautions and maintain safe physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  For this reason, in-person attendances for criminal court case management appearances can not currently be accommodated at all court locations.  If you have a case management criminal court appearance in any of the locations listed above other than Timmins, do not attend court in person.

Health and safety measures have been implemented in Timmins to permit personal attendance for criminal case management criminal court appearance in exceptional circumstances.  For details about in-person attendances in Timmins, see Timmins Virtual Case Management Court – Scheduling and Connection details.

The number of locations in which in-person criminal case management appearances can be accommodated will expand as the Ministry of the Attorney General implements health and safety measures in additional courthouses and courtrooms.  Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

3)    Appearances by Counsel

Counsel are strongly encouraged to attend case management court appearances by videoconference.

The Court expects that counsel will notify their clients that criminal case management appearances have resumed and that the client is required to attend by videoconference or audioconference, unless counsel is appearing on their behalf.

Because of the nature of remote appearances and because of the high volume of matters in case management courts, there will be limited, if any, opportunity for private discussion between and among participants during a virtual case management court appearance.  It is therefore essential that Crown and defence counsel speak with their client (where applicable), and with one another in advance of the case management appearance.

4)    Appearances by Accused Persons

Accused persons are encouraged to attend case management court appearances by videoconference. However, accused persons who cannot attend by videoconference may attend by audioconference (telephone).

Self-represented accused persons are encouraged to contact Legal Aid Ontario before the day of their criminal case management appearance. Legal Aid Ontario has provided the following information for self-represented accused persons:

Please contact Legal Aid Ontario well in advance of your court appearance. If you would like general legal advice, or if you want to apply for legal aid, call the central Legal Aid Ontario number at 1-800-668-8258. If you want to speak to a local Duty Counsel, and are eligible, Duty Counsel may provide you with legal advice and assistance for your court appearance. At this time local Duty Counsel cannot guarantee same day assistance; it is therefore strongly recommended that you contact Legal Aid Ontario and/or Duty Counsel well in advance of your court date.

Contact information for local Duty Counsel offices is set out in the schedules setting out courthouse-specific scheduling and connection information.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present an extraordinary situation requiring ongoing restrictions on persons being able to attend courthouses in person.  The Court recognizes that there may be accused persons who are unable to attend case management court by audioconference or videoconference. Until further notice, if an accused person does not attend for their criminal case management appearance, their matter will be adjourned to a date five (5) weeks from the scheduled appearance date, with a “bench warrant with discretion” returnable on the next date.

The presiding judicial official may adjourn a matter to a different date where satisfied that it is in the interest of justice to do so, for example where an accused person, although unable to attend court, has communicated a request that their matter be adjourned to a specific date or where a case would otherwise be adjourned to a holiday or to an incorrect case management date.

5)    Scheduling and Connection Information

Each case management court has its own unique video link and its own unique telephone number / passcode combination that is needed to connect to the court.  This information is set out in courthouse-specific schedules available on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

To facilitate more orderly proceedings and to limit the number of people waiting on the line to have their matters addressed, case management court lists have been subdivided into tiers.  Counsel and accused persons are encouraged to connect to the case management courtroom at the time specified for their tier.  However, the Court recognizes that, as a result of the automatic adjournment of matters and other scheduling changes, counsel may have conflicting court obligations which will prevent counsel from being able to attend during the allotted time.

The scheduling and connection information for criminal case management courts may change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as court operations continue to expand.  Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

6)    Accused persons who are in custody

Criminal case management appearances for accused persons who are in custody will continue to be conducted by remote appearance (audioconference or videoconference), in accordance with the procedures in place since March 2020.

7)    Enhanced Designations of Counsel

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 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 and in accordance with rule 4.5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

8)    Additional Resources

The Court has published resources to assist participants and help ensure that remote hearings, including virtual case management court appearances, run effectively.

For a review of best practices for remote hearings, see Guidelines for Conducting Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice.

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 additional information to assist self-represented accused persons, please see Information for Self-Represented Accused Persons with Criminal Cases in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Courthouse-specific Scheduling and Connection Information

BarrieBellevilleBracebridge
BramptonBrantfordBrockville
CayugaChathamCobourg
CochraneCornwallDryden
Fort ErieFort FrancesGoderich
Gore BayGuelphHaileybury
HamiltonKenoraKingston
KitchenerL’OrignalLindsay
LondonMiltonNapanee
NewmarketNorth BayOrangeville
OrilliaOshawaOttawa
Owen SoundParry SoundPembroke
PerthPeterboroughSt. Catharines
St. ThomasSarniaSimcoe
StratfordSault Ste MarieSudbury
Thunder BayTimminsToronto (College Park)
Toronto (Old City Hall)Toronto (311 Jarvis)Toronto East (1911 Eglinton)
Toronto North (1000 Finch)Toronto West (2201 Finch)Walkerton
WellandWindsorWoodstock

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)

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On September 11, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice announced that the resumption of criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses, originally scheduled for September 14, 2020, would be delayed.

The Ministry has now advised that it is satisfied that all of the necessary health and safety measures are in place in the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses to allow in-person proceedings to resume.  As a result, the Ontario Court of Justice will resume hearing in-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses on September 16, 2020.

Background

The resumption of in-person hearings in the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses is part an incremental plan established by the Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.

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. 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.

The 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. Based on your answers, you will be told whether or not you can enter. If you cannot enter, you will be told what to do next. You can complete the online screening before going to court:  https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening. You must show the result as you enter.  If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

The Ministry confirmed it would not re-open any courthouse unless and until it has concluded that the health and safety of courthouse participants will be adequately protected.

On September 11, 2020, the Ministry advised that it was not satisfied that all of the necessary health and safety measures were in place in the Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock courthouses to allow in-person proceedings to resume as of September 14, 2020.  As a result, the Ontario Court of Justice announced that it will not resume hearing in-person trials, preliminary inquiries, summary judgment motions and other in-person matters at those courthouses on September 14, 2020.

The Ministry has now advised that the necessary health and safety measures are in place in the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses to allow in-person hearings to resume.  As a result, the Ontario Court of Justice will resume hearing in-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries at the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses on September 16, 2020.

For more information, see the previous notices issued by the Ontario Court of Justice:

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)

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)

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)

On August 26, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice announced it would resume hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries on September 14, 2020 at certain locations: see 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). This resumption of hearings was the second phase of an incremental plan established by the Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.

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.

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.

The Ministry confirmed it would not re-open any courthouse unless and until it has concluded that the health and safety of courthouse participants will be adequately protected.

The Ministry has advised that it is not satisfied that all of the necessary health and safety measures are in place in the following courthouses to allow in-person proceedings to resume as of September 14, 2020: Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock. As a result, the Court will not resume hearing in-person trials and preliminary inquiries at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock on September 14, 2020.

Trials and preliminary inquiries at all other court locations identified in the August 26, 2020 notice will be proceeding as scheduled.

This notice sets out the procedure that will apply until further notice to criminal trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to be heard in the Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock courthouses on or after September 14, 2020.

1)    Trials and Preliminary Inquiries at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock

Trials and preliminary inquiries will not resume at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock on September 14, 2020 unless they are able to proceed using remote technology, as described in section 2.

a. Trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled for the week of September 14 – 18

All cases scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock the week of September 14 to September 18 will be addressed in their location’s COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court the week of Monday September 14, 2020. All counsel and accused persons will appear by videoconference or audioconference.

Arrangements will be made for accused persons who are in custody to attend by audioconference or videoconference.

Accused persons who are out of custody and are represented by counsel do not need to be present for the Trial Readiness Court. If their matter is adjourned to a new date, a bench warrant with discretion, returnable on the new date, will be issued.

Accused persons who are not represented by counsel are to attend the Trial Readiness Court by audioconference, to speak to their matter.

Set out below are details about the COVID-19 Trial Readiness Courts in Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock:

CourthouseTrial Readiness Court Details
Gore BayCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before
Court time:  9:30 am (all matters)
Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848  Conference ID# 4800482
OrilliaCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before
Court time:  9 am (all matters)
Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848  Conference ID# 4712564
StratfordCourt date:  Monday of the week before  – Courtroom 1
Court time:  9:45 am (all matters)
Audioconference:  1-866-633-1033  Conference ID# 2164807
WoodstockCourt date:   Tuesday of the week before (beginning Tuesday, September 15) – Courtroom 2
Court time:  9 am (all matters)
Audioconference:  1-866-633-1033  Conference ID# 5240997

b. Trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to commence on or after July 13

All cases scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock commencing on or after Monday September 21, 2020 will be addressed in the COVID-19 trial readiness court, in accordance with the procedure set out in section 1c of the Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings as of July 6, 2020. All counsel and accused persons will appear by videoconference or audioconference.

2)    Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock may Proceed Using Remote Technology

The Court is prepared to hear trials or preliminary inquiries using remote technology (audioconference and videoconference) where the technology is available and subject to the discretion of the judge presiding over the hearing.

Counsel and parties are encouraged to consider and discuss with one another whether all or any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) can be conducted using remote technology. If counsel intend to propose that some or all of a hearing be conducted using remote technology, counsel should immediately advise the Court, so that the Court can confirm if the necessary technology is available and so that the matter can be brought forward to be addressed, if necessary.

3)    Plan for Resumption of Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock

Notice will be given advising when Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock will be opening so that counsel and parties can prepare for the resumption of trials or preliminary inquiries. Please check back on the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

4)    Other Court Proceedings will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquiries at Gore Bay, Orillia, Stratford and Woodstock will continue to be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody and case management (set date) appearances for accused persons who are in custody or out of custody.

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public Re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (September 2, 2020)

*This Notice supersedes previously announced notices.

Effective Date: 19 May 2020

Revised: 2 September 2020

1. INTRODUCTION

The Ontario Court of Justice continues to work with stakeholders to ensure all courts, including Provincial Offences courts, can return to operations in a safe manner.

Until further notice, no in-person Provincial Offences Act proceedings will be conducted until at least Monday, October 19th, 2020. Beginning September 28, 2020, Provincial Offences Act matters may proceed remotely as described below in s. 4.1.1. Judicial pre-trials as described below in s. 4.3 and early resolution guilty pleas described below in s. 4.4 may continue to be held remotely.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General and representatives of Provincial Offences courts, to determine how technology can be used to increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means, such as by the electronic filing of court material, remote scheduling processes, and remote hearings. The Court is also working with justice partners to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Do not come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor, or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates to this Notice.

2. APPLICATION

This Notice applies to all Provincial Offences Act matters before the Ontario Court of Justice.

3. LIMITATION PERIODS UNDER THE PROVINCIAL OFFENCES ACT

All limitation periods under the Provincial Offences Act have been suspended by an order under s. 7.1.2(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This order is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200073

This order has been extended by the Government of Ontario until September 11, 2020.

In addition, on March 15, 2020 the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice made an order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending most timelines under the act until April 23, 2020. A copy of this order is available here: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/files/POAs85OrderMarch15.pdf?id=5f4934750d0b2

4. SCHEDULING DIRECTIVES

4.1 Suspension of All In-Person Proceedings

Except as otherwise noted in this practice direction, all Provincial Offences Act (POA) in- person proceedings scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday, October 16, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. If you have a proceeding scheduled during this time, do not attend court in person. This applies to all Provincial Offences courts in Ontario.

During this time, matters may proceed by audio as described below in s. 4.1.1.

A notice of the new court date will be sent to both parties by mail to the address on file with the court. For more information, please contact your local Provincial Offences court.

Contact information for all Provincial Offences courts is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/poa/

4.1.1 Expansion of Remote Hearings

Beginning September 28, 2020, the Ontario Court of Justice will hear non-trial POA proceedings (e.g., guilty pleas, withdrawals, judgment delivery, first appearances, adjournments) remotely by audio conferencing.

The Ontario Court of Justice continues to work with the Ministry of the Attorney General and Provincial Offences courts to prepare for the resumption of trials. More information about the resumption of trials in Provincial Offences courts will be forthcoming.

Recent amendments to the Provincial Offences Act permit most POA matters to proceed remotely. In light of these amendments, the Ontario Court of Justice will begin to schedule and hear additional POA proceedings by audio conferencing, which is the platform most Provincial Offences courts have available. Consistent with the remote proceeding provisions of the Provincial Offences Act, these proceedings will only be heard in locations where the electronic method (i.e., audio conferencing) is made available by the court office.

If you have a matter that will be proceeding by audio conferencing, you or your representative will receive notice of your hearing date from the court office. Please ensure your contact information is up to date with the court office where your matter is being heard.

Contact information for all Provincial Offences courts is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/poa/

4.2 POA Appeals

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, September 11, 2020 will be adjourned.

Please check back on this website before your next court date for further information.

If you need to update your address with the court, please contact the courthouse where the appeal is scheduled to be heard. A listing of all court addresses is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

4.3 Judicial Pre-Trials

Judicial pre-trials continue to be held by audio conference.  Cases subject to judicial pre-trials will be determined by local protocol. Parties will be notified of the date and time of the judicial pre-trial and the information for attending the audio conference.

4.4 Early Resolution Guilty Pleas

Beginning July 6, 2020, early resolution guilty pleas pursuant to s. 5.1(8) of the Provincial Offences Act started proceeding before a Justice of the Peace remotely by audio conference in some of the early resolution Provincial Offences courts in the province.

Formal early resolution is only available in some jurisdictions across the province where the Offence Notice (ticket) indicates the option to request an early resolution meeting with the prosecutor. The decision to offer early resolution is a decision made by the municipalities.

These will continue to proceed remotely.

4.5 Young Persons

Provincial Offences Act matters where the defendant is a young person (individual under 16 years of age) are scheduled to appear and be heard in a provincially-administered Ontario Court of Justice. As a result, these matters will be dealt with consistent with matters in criminal court.

Up to date information about cases in criminal court, which applies to POA young person matters, is available on the Ontario Court of justice website at https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/ .

If you need to update your address with the court, or need information about a specific case, please contact the courthouse where the matter is scheduled to be heard. A listing of all provincially-administered court addresses are available here:  https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

5. ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES

5.1 Electronic Signatures

The Ontario Court of Justice will accept electronically signed documents where a signature is required. An electronic signature consists of electronic information that identifies the signatory and the date and place of signing. For example, you may type your name as your signature.

6. FILING OF POA APPEALS

6.1 Filing of POA Appeals

Until further notice 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.

If you are subject to a licence suspension and would like to file an appeal, you may do so by emailing your Notice of Appeal to the appropriate courthouse. For a list of courthouse email addresses see: Ontario Court of Justice – Courthouse Email Addresses. If you are unable to file documents by email, contact your local courthouse by email or telephone to find out about other options that are available or information about attending your local courthouse.

If you are appealing a matter under PART III (summons offences) of the POA, you must still serve your Notice of Appeal on the prosecutor’s office before you file it with the appeal court office.

More information about POA appeals is available in the Guide to Appeals in Provincial Offences Cases. The Guide is available here: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/self-represented-parties/guide-to-appeals-in-provincial-offences-cases/guide/

Please note that all limitation periods under the Provincial Offences Act, including the 30 day time limit to file POA appeals, have been suspended by an order under s. 7.1.2(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This order is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200073 . This order has been extended by the Government of Ontario until September 11, 2020.

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

 The Ontario Court of Justice is continuing to implement virtual criminal case management courts, in which criminal case management appearances will be conducted by videoconference or audioconference.

On September 8, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will be implemented in the following locations:

RegionCourthouse
Central EastBarrie, Lindsay, Peterborough
Central WestBrantford, Milton, Niagara (St. Catharines/Welland/Fort Erie)
EastBrockville, Cornwall, Perth
WestChatham, London, Sarnia,
NortheastNorth Bay, Parry Sound, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury
TorontoToronto North (1000 Finch), Toronto West (2201 Finch)

Details about virtual criminal case management court appearances are available in the Notice, “Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances”.

Further information about criminal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including the definition of “case management appearances”, is available in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Note:  The automatic adjournment of criminal case management appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large dockets.  In addition, it will likely take all participants some time to adapt to the new procedures and technology involved in conducting these appearances using remote technology. The Court encourages and appreciates the cooperation and patience of all participants, particularly at the beginning of this initiative.  The Court will revise and refine the procedures for these virtual case management courts, as appropriate, based on feedback and as court operations continue to evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendance at Case Management Court

The number of people who may be present in the courthouse and in the courtroom remains restricted in order to comply with health and safety precautions and maintain safe physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  For this reason, in-person attendances for criminal court case management appearances can not currently be accommodated at all court locations.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in any of the court locations listed above, do not attend court in person.

Scheduling and Connection Information

Each case management court has its own unique video link and its own unique telephone number / passcode combination that is needed to connect to the court. This information is set out in courthouse-specific schedules available on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

To facilitate more orderly proceedings and to limit the number of people waiting on the line to have their matters addressed, case management court lists have been subdivided into tiers. Counsel and accused persons are encouraged to connect to the case management courtroom at the time specified for their tier. However, the Court recognizes that, as a result of the automatic adjournment of matters and other scheduling changes, counsel may have conflicting court obligations which will prevent counsel from being able to attend during the allotted time.

The scheduling and connection information for criminal case management courts may change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as court operations continue to expand.  Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Criminal Case Management Court Appearances in Other Court Locations

Province-wide implementation of virtual criminal case management courts will continue over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, the automatic adjournment of criminal court appearances for accused persons who are not in custody will continue at other court locations until the virtual criminal case management court is implemented at that particular location.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice on or before September 18, 2020 in a location other than those listed below, do not attend court.  The court will adjourn your matter without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion”, which will require you to attend court on the new date.

Appearances between August 24, 2020  and September 18, 2020 will be adjourned to a date approximately five (5) weeks from the original date.  To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.

Courthouse-specific Scheduling and Connection Information

(for all Virtual Criminal Case Management Court locations implemented on or before September 8, 2020)

BarrieBrantfordBrockville
CayugaChathamCornwall
GoderichGuelphKitchener
LindsayLondonMilton
Niagara (St. Catharines / Welland / Fort Erie)North BayOshawa
OrangevilleL’OrignalOttawa
Parry SoundPembrokePerth
PeterboroughSt. ThomasSarnia
SimcoeStratfordSault Ste Marie
SudburyThunder BayTimmins
Toronto East (1911 Eglinton)Toronto North (1000 Finch)Toronto West (2201 Finch)
WindsorWoodstock

Notice to Profession – Toronto

Toronto Expansion Protocol for Court Hearings During COVID-19 Pandemic

Notice of amendments:

Effective August 31, 2020:

  • Part A.4 (viii)(Summary Conviction Appeals/Extraordinary Remedies) is amended, and the email address for downtown Crown Attorneys is updated.

Effective July 10, 2020: Part A is amended and its title changed from “Criminal Matters” to “Criminal Matters Upon Resumption of Operations”.

Effective June 29, 2020:

  • Section A.7.3(a)(Criminal Court Operations as of July 6, 2020 – 361 University Avenue) is added;

Urgent matters will continue to be heard, as provided in the Chief Justice’s May 13, 2020 Notice to the Profession.

The Toronto Region of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) has further expanded the matters which it will hear virtually in an ongoing effort to facilitate timely access to justice.

This revised Notice to the Profession provides updated guidance to assist justice system participants and the public in navigating available SCJ virtual proceedings in the Toronto Region.

The Toronto Region will continue to monitor the situation and, if possible, will further expand the types of matters and hearings that will be heard during these extraordinary times.

  1. Criminal Matters Upon Resumption of Operations

A.1 GUIDING PRINCIPLES

In order to ensure the safety of all justice participants, upon the resumption of court operations, every measure possible will be taken to reduce the number of people who physically attend the courthouse each day.

Lawyers and accused persons should not attend the courthouse in person unless their physical presence is required. Generally, no lawyers or accused persons should attend court in person except for a trial or for a pre-trial application or motion in which viva voce evidence is called or for an application that cannot be heard remotely because it is required to be in camera.

No person shall attend the courthouse for any purpose if that person is experiencing symptoms of COVID -19 or if that person has recently been exposed to COVID-19. Any justice participant who would otherwise be required to attend court in person but is unable to do so because of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure shall call 416 327 5558 and leave a voicemail message. The message must provide contact information in order to allow the court to contact the justice participant and to reschedule the appearance.

There will be COVID-19 screening in effect at the entry to the courthouse and physical distancing and other precautionary measures within the courthouse. All persons attending the courthouse should follow the directions regarding physical distancing, masks and hand hygiene as posted in the courthouse.

Water fountains will not be operating. Justice participants should bring a personal water bottle.

A.2- GENERAL

(i) Communication with the trial coordinators

Most communications to arrange dates for trials, judicial pre-trials and applications will occur by email. In e-mail communications with the trial coordinators, Counsel should put, in the subject line, the name of the accused person and the nature of the request (eg. Trial date, JPT, application date).

(ii) Interpreters

  1. If an interpreter is required for any scheduled remote appearance, Crown Counsel/the Federal Crown or Counsel for the defendant shall advise the trial coordinator.
  2. Counsel requiring the interpreter shall advise of the language, time and date of the proceeding.
  3. The trial coordinator shall advise the Registrar’s Office so that arrangements can be made for the interpreter to be available.

(iii) Serving and filing documents

The protocols in place from March to June 2020 will continue apply upon resumption of in person proceedings. See the following link for filing in criminal matters: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/consolidated-notice/#2_Filings_in_Criminal_Matters

(iv) Reference to ‘Admin Crown’.

Wherever reference is made to the ‘Admin Crown’ this term is to be interpreted as the Admin Crown or their designate.

(v) Judges Signing documents

Pursuant to s.3.1(2) of the Criminal Code, the clerk of the court may sign orders or other writings on behalf of the presiding judge.

A.3 MATTERS TO BE HEARD IN PERSON

(i) Trials – Presumptively in-person

Counsel, accused persons and witnesses shall attend in person for all scheduled trial dates on and after July 6th 2020, unless otherwise directed by the Court. If the matter must proceed as a jury trial it will be adjourned until after September 1st, 2020.

(ii) Pre-trial Applications

Counsel, accused persons and witnesses shall attend in person for all scheduled pre-trial application dates on and after July 6th 2020, unless otherwise directed by the court. As set out in paragraphs  A.4 (iv) and (v)   below, if agreed between counsel, an in person pretrial application may be converted to a remote hearing.

A.4 MATTERS THAT WILL CONTINUE TO BE HEARD REMOTELY

(i) Judicial Pre-trials (JPTs)

All JPTs will continue to be heard remotely, by audioconference or videoconference.

(a) Where the accused person is represented by counsel, the following procedure applies:

For Matters prosecuted by the Provincial Crown

  1. Within 2 business days following committal, after consultation with defence, the Crown, through the administrative Crown or their designate, will book a JPT using the shared Microsoft Outlook calendar.
  2. Crowns should prepare a Form 17 at least 10 days before the JPT and send it to all defence counsel in Word Format.
  3. Defence counsel should complete the Form 17 and return it to the Crown at least 5 days before the JPT in Word and PDF format.
  4. The Administrative Crown will post the Form 17 in Word and PDF and other relevant documents to the Shared Outlook File for the JPT.
  5. The judge conducting the JPT may annotate the Form 17 or prepare a Form 18.

For matters prosecuted by PPSC

  1. Within 2 business days following committal, the prosecutor or their designate, after consultation with the defence will book a JPT and advise the trial co-ordinators by telephone or email[1]. Federal judicial pre-trials will be scheduled on Wednesdays.
  2. Crowns should prepare a Form 17 at least 10 days before the JPT and send it to all defence counsel in Word Format.
  3. Defence counsel should complete the Form 17 and return it to the Crown at least five days before the JPT in Word and PDF format. The Crown will send the Form 17 in Word and PDF by email to the trial coordinator.
  4. The judge conducting the JPT may annotate the Form 17 or prepare a Form 18.

(b) Where the accused person is self-represented the following procedure applies:

  1. Where an accused person is self-represented, the judicial pre-trial will be scheduled at the first appearance of the accused in Superior Court. The JPT will be conducted on the record by audioconference or videoconference on the date agreed upon.

(ii)  Administrative Pre-trial Appearances in the Superior Court – “Practice Court”[2]) – On and after July 13th 2020

(a) Scheduling First Appearances

  1. The first appearance of an accused person in the Superior Court should be scheduled for the fourth week after committal.
  2. If the case is prosecuted by the Downtown Crown’s office, the matter should be scheduled for a Monday at 9 am.
  3. If the matter is prosecuted by the Scarborough Crown’s office or Guns and Gangs, it should be scheduled for a Tuesday at 9 am.
  4. If the matter is prosecuted by the PPSC or DOJ it should be scheduled for a Wednesday at 9 am.
  5. If the matter is prosecuted by North York or Etobicoke, it should be scheduled for a Friday at 9 am.
  6. If there is a statutory holiday on the day when a matter would normally be scheduled for a first appearance, it may be scheduled two weeks after the JPT or it may be scheduled on the Thursday of the week after the JPT.
  7. Where cases have already been scheduled before this Notice took effect, the matter will be addressed on the scheduled date by way of audio or video conference and adjourned to the next available date after the JPT and on the day of the week assigned to the relevant Crown’s office.

(b) Remote Attendance

  1. All administrative attendances are presumptively remote.
  2. Accused persons shall attend court by audioconference, videoconference or by designation of counsel.
  3. Persons in custody at the Toronto South Detention Centre, who are not appearing through counsel by designation, will attend at 9 am. Persons in custody at the Toronto East Detention Center, who are not appearing through counsel by designation, will attend at 11 am.
  4. The attendance of persons detained in other institutions will be arranged as needed.
  5. In addition to remand dates , the endorsement on the warrant of remand will also indicate the manner in which the accused person will re-attend: “by audioconference” or “by videoconference” or “in person” (in person appearances should be used only if the accused is required to attend for an application, case management, guilty plea or trial).
  6. Counsel for the Crown and counsel for the accused shall attend Practice Court by audioconference or videoconference.[3]

(c) Duty Counsel/Amicus

  1. There will be a duty counsel or amicus present to assist self-represented accused persons in joining the audio or videoconference[4]and to assist is addressing their matters.
  2. In order to increase efficiency, duty counsel/amicus will also be available to address matters on behalf of counsel. The contact details of the assigned duty counsel will be posted with the daily court list.
  3. Self-represented accused persons must contact the duty counsel/amicus before court and provide a telephone number where they can be reached for the hearing.

(d) Subsequent Administrative Appearances

  1. All subsequent administrative appearances, after the first appearance will be conducted in the same way: remotely, on the day designated for the particular Crown’s office.
  2. If there is a reason that the appearance must be in person, the case will be adjourned to 9 am in a courtroom that has been opened for trial matters.

(e) Designations

  1. Counsel are encouraged to file designations for accused persons both in and out of custody. If, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, counsel are unable to meet in person with a client to have a designation signed, the designation can be signed by counsel on behalf of the client if the client has so directed.
  2. A designation may provide for unlimited appearances by counsel or it may indicate that the lawyer is authorized to appear for limited purposes or for a limited time.
  3. Designations may be filed electronically with the court.

(f) Setting Trial Dates

  1. Trial dates should be arranged by all counsel with the trial co-ordinators following the JPT and before the appearance in court.
  2. Where a trial date is to be set, counsel will complete a trial confirmation form that will be filed electronically with the court. The trial confirmation form will set out the first available dates for trial for the court and counsel as well as the trial date agreed upon. A trial confirmation form must be completed for all cases including long trials.
  3. A trial confirmation date should also be agreed upon.
  4. Counsel should continue to contact the trial co-ordinators through the generic email.

(g) Re-elections and Short Applications (For example, Remove counsel, release exhibits)

  1. An accused person may re-elect their mode of trial at the Practice Court appearance.
  2. Short applications or matters that are on consent can be scheduled for Practice Court. Longer applications should be scheduled through the trial co-ordinators.

(h) Case Management

  1. Where a case requires case management, the matter may be held down until the end of the set dates or adjourned to another court, to a JPT, or to the afternoon session (2 pm) of Practice Court.

(iii)  Guilty Pleas

If an accused person who has an appearance in Practice Court to set a date wishes on that appearance to enter a guilty plea, the matter may be dealt with by the presiding judge or held down until all of the dates have been set or sent to another court or to the afternoon session (2 pm) of Practice Court.

Guilty pleas will continue to be scheduled in other courts on any day. For scheduled guilty pleas, the following protocol continues to apply:

  1. Counsel will contact the Admin Crown or their designate who will send an email to the Trial Coordinator’s Office using the generic email address CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and provide all the necessary documentation for the plea. The Admin Crown/designate will also file the documentation with the Criminal Intake Office at SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  2. The trial coordinator will schedule a date and time for the plea and advise all parties.
  3. If the accused is in custody, the Admin Crown/ designate will advise the institution so that the inmate can be available to participate in the teleconference or videoconference.
  4. The trial coordinator will provide the parties with the teleconference or videoconference information for the hearing.

(iv)  Pre-trial Applications in which no viva voce evidence is to be heard and which are not to be held in camera

Pre-trial applications in which no viva voce evidence is to be heard and which are not required to be held in camera will continue to be heard remotely. These applications can be booked through the trial coordinators’ office. No Judicial Pre-trial is required unless counsel request it. A date for the application can be arranged by contacting the trial coordinator through the generic email. The email should indicate that no viva voce evidence is to be called and that a remote hearing is sought.

(v) Pre-trial applications in which viva voce evidence is to be heard or which are to be held in camera

Pre-trial applications in which viva voce evidence is to be heard or which are to be held in camera may be heard remotely if the parties consent and agree on a procedure and a judicial pre-trial is held before the hearing is scheduled.

All materials are to be filed with the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and with the Criminal Intake Office at TORONTO.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.

(vi) Extradition Matters

All extradition matters will be heard remotely unless otherwise ordered.

(vii) Bail Reviews (including 90-day reviews)

All bail reviews will continue to be heard remotely. The following protocols will continue to apply:

(a) Consent releases

  1. Counsel will fill out the conditions of release and surety declaration (if applicable). These will be forwarded to the Admin Crown who will forward it to the registrar’s office at SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca and to the Criminal Intake Office at Toronto.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  2. The trial coordinator will assign a judge and a registrar.
  3. The registrar will complete the paperwork and provide it to the parties for their signature. A written confirmation from counsel that they have ‘witnessed’ the sureties’ signatures will be accepted (whether it be over the phone, via Facetime, Skype, etc.).
  4. The release order will be sent to an available judge for approval and execution.
  5. The signed release order will be returned to the registrar who will provide it to the relevant institution and to the parties.

(b) Contested Hearings

  1. Counsel are to consult each other about the necessity of booking a time for a contested bail/90-day review. Self-represented defendants should be directed to Ms. Maija Martin of the Criminal Lawyers Association (Maija@martincriminaldefence.ca). If a self-represented defendant is identified by Mr. Hank Goody (A.C.A.) during the 90-day set date court on Thursdays, he will advise the Crown from that borough who will then advise Ms. Martin.
  2. Defence counsel will email materials to the Admin Crown to effect service. Defence counsel will include their availability and the time estimate for the hearing when serving the Crown.
  3. The Admin Crown will file all materials with the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.caand with the Criminal Intake Office at CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca. The Admin Crown will ensure any response materials are filed and copied to the defence.
  4. In the case of 90-day reviews, the trial coordinator will email Ms. Maria Ranaudo (Ranaudo@Ontario.ca) to determine if a bail hearing has been conducted. If there was no bail hearing, the trial coordinator will provide a date for the review hearing. If there was a bail hearing, Ms. Ranaudo will order the transcript by email copying the trial coordinator. An available judge will authorize the transcript order.
  5. The trial coordinator will provide a date and time for the hearing once defence materials have been served on the Admin Crown and filed (or fifteen (15) days after the transcript has been ordered in the case of 90-day reviews). Counsel must file all materials by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday if they wish to conduct the bail / bail review / 90-day review the following week.
  6. To avoid any unnecessary adjournments of scheduled hearing dates, the applicant is not permitted to file additional materials after the 10:00 a.m. deadline on Thursday unless the responding party consents. If possible, the responding party should file their materials at least two clear days prior to the scheduled hearing.
  7. The bail / bail review / 90-day reviews can be heard each day at 10:00 a.m. (four (4) possible slots) and 2:00 p.m. (four possible slots).
  8. The trial coordinator will provide the interested parties with the videoconference or teleconference information.
  9. Counsel should complete the “terms of release” form and circulate it to the other parties in advance of the hearing.
  10. Counsel should ensure they have a copy of the photo identification from the proposed sureties.
  11. The defendant need not be present for a bail review. A defendant is likely required to be present for a 90-day detention review (by audio or video) pursuant to s. 502.1(1) of the Criminal Code.
  12. If counsel wish for their client to be present, they must make arrangements with the appropriate Admin Crown who will contact the institution and make the request. The contact information is set out in above.
  13. If released, the registrar will complete the paper work, scan it and forward it to the parties for signature. As stated above, during this time, we are willing to accept a written confirmation from counsel that they have ‘witnessed’ the sureties’ signatures (whether it be over the phone via Facetime, Skype, etc.).
  14. The release documents will then be scanned and sent to the judge for signature and returned to the registrar. The paperwork will then be forwarded to the institution.

(c) Consent Bail Variations

  1. Counsel should fill out and sign the 10b Form available on the SCJ website under “Forms under the Criminal Proceeding Rules” and forward it to the appropriate Crown.
  2. The Crown will review and sign the form.
  3. Sureties sign the form either in the presence of counsel or counsel should provide written confirmation that they have “witnessed” the sureties’ signatures by video.
  4. The Crown will send the variation to an available judge for approval.
  5. The Registrars will be copied by emailing CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca and the criminal intake office at Toronto.SCJ.Criminalintake@ontario.ca.
  6. Once approved, the paperwork will be completed and provided to counsel.

(viii)  Summary Conviction Appeals/Extraordinary Remedies

(a) The Hearings

  1. Hearings will proceed remotely through secure telephone lines unless counsel request a video hearing. Requests for video hearings are to be made to the Court at the time hearing dates are scheduled by the Court. For hearings that were scheduled prior to September 1, 2020, counsel are to make the request in writing through the SCA/Special Motions Registrar at SCJ.CriminalIntake@ontario.ca as soon as practicable and no later than one week prior to their scheduled hearing date or September 22, 2020 whichever is the earlier.
  2. Any appellant currently required, by the terms of their current bail, to surrender into custody prior to the appeal hearing is not required to do so. That condition is varied to one which only requires a surrender into custody if their appeal is dismissed and they are subject to a custodial sentence.
  3. All judgments in appeals where the appellant/respondent is potentially liable to be returned to custody will be reserved until the autumn or such time as it is deemed safe to enter incarceration.
  4. All out of custody appellants required to attend the hearings in person are no longer required to do so, unless self-represented. Hearings for self-represented appellants/applicants shall be conducted in person, unless in custody, in which case they will be conducted remotely.
  5. Hearings with Counsel will be conducted either by video using Zoom or telephone conferencing depending on the wishes of Counsel. If the hearing is one in which Counsel elects to proceed by video, their client will not be allowed to participate. However, if the hearings are held by teleconference, arrangements will be made by the defence to permit their client to attend through a conference line, but Counsel shall not provide the secure number of the Court to their client.
  6. There may be cases where Counsel wish to proceed by video and have their client present for the hearing. Counsel shall not share the video link with their client. In these cases, Counsel should contact the court by email through the criminal intake office to request arrangements for co-ordinated video and audio hearings. Due to limited capacity, these types of dual hearings should be conducted sparingly and may not be possible in all cases.

(b) Service and Filing

  1. Notices of appeal/application and supporting materials by a defendant that is not an inmate appeal/application shall be served on the Attorney General for Ontario electronically at Crown.SCA.SpecialMotions@ontario.ca or the Attorney General for Canada at OntarioFedProsecutionServices@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca, or SignifierOntarioPoursuitesFedS@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca, depending on who had/has carriage of the matter giving rise to the impugned order.
  2. The Crown shall provide email confirmation of acceptance of service or rejection of service as soon as practicable.
  3. The Notice and a copy of the email confirmation of acceptance of service shall be filed electronically with the court through the criminal intake office at SCJ.CriminalIntake@ontario.ca along with any documents/materials required under the Criminal Proceedings Rules for the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario).
  4. Where the appellant/applicant is the Attorney General, his or her agent, or was the informant or any party other than the defendant (the accused) in proceedings before the court/preliminary inquiry court, the notice of appeal/application shall be served by mail on each person in respect of whom the appeal/application is brought against unless there is counsel of record, in which case service will be effected by sending the notice electronically to counsel.  The appellant/applicant shall send a courtesy copy of the notice mailed to the respondent electronically to counsel of record in the proceedings the appeal/application relates to, if there was counsel of record.  Filing the notice with the court shall be done electronically by sending it to the criminal intake office.
  5. The parties shall electronically serve the opposing party and shall electronically file with the criminal intake office copies of all factums, appeal books/application records and any other material being relied upon.These materials shall be sent to the opposing party and to the court in the same email. This does not preclude a party or the court from rejecting the documents for non compliance with the rules.
  6. The appellant/applicant shall serve transcripts electronically by email to the opposing party and file transcripts electronically by email to the criminal intake office.
  7. The subject line of all emails should clearly identify the name of the case, court fie number (if known), date of hearing (if known), nature of the proceedings (e.g. conviction appeal) and for PPSC matters the court location, and be prefaced by” SCA” if an appeal or “Special Motion” if an extraordinary remedy application.
  8. Cases and other source materials referenced in factums shall be hyperlinked and it will not be necessary to file a Book of Authorities unless requested by the judge.
  9. E-service and e-filing documents and materials replaces the requirement to serve and file a paper/hard copy.
  10. Where the appellant/applicant is self-represented and does not have access to electronic means for e-service and e-filing, documents and materials may be served and filed in paper/hard copy.

(c) Facta Filing Timelines

  1. For summary conviction appeals, the Appellant shall serve and file their factum not later than sixty (60) days before the day first scheduled for the hearing and the Respondent shall serve and file their factum not later than twenty (20) days before the day first scheduled for the hearing.
  2. For extraordinary remedy applications, the Applicant shall serve and file their factum not later than thirty (30) days before the day first scheduled for the hearing and the Respondent shall serve and file their factum not later than ten (10) days before the day first scheduled for the hearing.

(d) Bail Pending Appeal/Stays

  1. Applications for bail pending appeal and stays of driving prohibition, fine, forfeiture, restitution, victim fine surcharge, probation or conditional sentence orders are subject to the same procedure outlined in this protocol for bail reviews, with the following modifications:
    1. Applications shall be served electronically on the Crown at  Crown.SCA.SpecialMotions@ontario.ca, or  OntarioFedProsecutionServices@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca / SignifierOntarioPoursuitesFedS@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca. depending on who had carriage of the trial. The subject line of the email should clearly identify the name of the case, nature of the proceedings (e.g. bail pending appeal) and for PPSC matters the court location, and be prefaced by” SCA”;
    2. The Crown shall provide email confirmation of acceptance of service or rejection of service as soon as practicable;
    3. The applicant shall contact the Crown to ascertain the Crown’s position, and canvass available dates if the application is being contested, prior to electronically filing their application with the Court through the criminal intake office at SCJ.CriminalIntake@ontario.ca. Dates for a contested hearing shall be set out on the email at the time of e-filing contested applications;
    4. The criminal intake office will arrange for a contested hearing to be held remotely and notify the parties;
    5. A draft order shall accompany applications on consent, including a Form 10A (if applicable) signed by all parties, and e-filed with the criminal intake office by the applicant, unless self represented, in which case the crown shall electronically file the application and materials with the court;
    6. Draft orders should be e-filed in the Microsoft Word format (.docx) rather than a PDF version;
    7. The paperwork will be completed by the criminal intake office and provided to the parties for their signature.  The applicant shall return the signed paperwork to the criminal intake office by email, and the criminal intake office will distribute the court order(s) to all interested parties and to the institution, if applicable;

If the Applicant indicates that they wish to be present, arrangements will be made for them to have access to the teleconference call. If in custody, the Crown will contact the institution to provide the applicant with telephone access. If out of custody, Defence Counsel will make the necessary arrangements but shall not provide the secure number of the Court to their client.

A.5 THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION TO BE USED:

TitleNameEmail Address
Toronto Criminal Trial CoordinatorsAnna Katsoulis, Christine Rusk and Elaine SakorafasCriminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@Ontario.ca
Criminal Lawyers AssociationMaija Martin[4]Maija@Martincriminaldefence.ca
Guns and GangsLiz NadeauElizabeth.Nadeau@Ontario.ca
Downtown TorontoMike Cantlon
Mary Humphrey
Anna Tenhouse
VirtualCriminalCrownSCJToronto@Ontario.ca
ScarboroughJackie GarrityJackie.Garrity@Ontario.ca
North YorkAllison MacPhersonAllison.MacPherson@Ontario.ca
Metro WestSarah LeeceSarah.Leece@Ontario.ca
90-Day ReviewsHank GoodyHank.Goody@Ontario.ca
Summary Conviction AppealWendy SabeanWendy.Sabean@ontario.ca
Federal Crown – PPSCBrian Puddington

Chris Gruppuso

Brian.Puddington@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca

Chris.Gruppuso@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca

Federal Crown – Department of Justice (Extradition and MLAT)Christopher BundyChristopher.Bundy@justice.gc.ca
Registrars, Court StaffSusan JohnsonToronto.SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca
Court ReportersNatalie CesarioNatalie.Cesario@Ontario.ca

Justice Stephen E. Firestone
Regional Senior Judge
Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region

[1] The Admin Crowns may email the trial coordinator responsible for long/short trials directly rather than using the generic email box, if appropriate.

[2] A court reporter may not be necessary because the telephone conference lines used for the bail/90-day reviews will be recorded. It is an added precaution to ensure that the proceedings are recorded. The failure to have a court reporter present should not prevent the hearing from occurring.

[3] A court reporter may not be necessary because the telephone conference lines used for the bail/90-day reviews will be recorded. It is an added precaution to ensure that the proceedings are recorded. The failure to have a court reporter present should not prevent the hearing from occurring.

[4] Ms. Martin has agreed to assist any self-represented litigant or others requiring assistance during this time.

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

The Ontario Court of Justice is continuing to implement virtual criminal case management courts, in which criminal case management appearances will be conducted by videoconference or audioconference. On Monday August 31, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will be implemented in Oshawa, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Avenue East.)

Details about virtual criminal case management court appearances are available in the Court’s August 20 notice, “Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances”.

Further information about criminal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including the definition of “case management appearances”, is available in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Note:  The automatic adjournment of criminal case management appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large dockets.  In addition, it will likely take all participants some time to adapt to the new procedures and technology involved in conducting these appearances using remote technology. The Court encourages and appreciates the cooperation and patience of all participants, particularly at the beginning of this initiative.  The Court will revise and refine the procedures for these virtual case management courts, as appropriate, based on feedback and as court operations continue to evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendance at Case Management Court

The number of people who may be present in the courthouse and in the courtroom remains restricted in order to comply with health and safety precautions and maintain safe physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  For this reason, in-person attendances for criminal court case management appearances can not currently be accommodated at all court locations.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in Oshawa, Thunder Bay, or Toronto East (1911 Eglinton), do not attend court in person.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in Timmins, health and safety measures have been implemented to permit personal attendance in exceptional circumstances. You will need to answer screening questions before you enter an Ontario courthouse. Based on your answers, you will be told whether or not you can enter. If you cannot enter, you will be told what to do next. You can complete the online screening before going to court. You must show the result as you enter. The online screening tool may be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening. If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

Face coverings are mandatory for everyone who is in a courthouse. If you do not have a face covering with you, you will be given one to put on before entering the courthouse. Persons with a valid medical reason for not wearing a face covering will not be required to wear one.

Scheduling and Connection Information

Each case management court has its own unique video link and its own unique telephone number / passcode combination that is needed to connect to the court. This information is set out in courthouse-specific schedules available on the Ontario Court of Justice website and at the end of this notice.

To facilitate more orderly proceedings and to limit the number of people waiting on the line to have their matters addressed, case management court lists have been subdivided into tiers. Counsel and accused persons are encouraged to connect to the case management courtroom at the time specified for their tier. However, the Court recognizes that, as a result of the automatic adjournment of matters and other scheduling changes, counsel may have conflicting court obligations which will prevent counsel from being able to attend during the allotted time.

The scheduling and connection information for criminal case management courts may change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as court operations continue to expand.  Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

Courthouse-specific Scheduling and Connection Information

Oshawa
Thunder Bay
Timmins
Toronto East/1911 Eglinton

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)

Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice resume September 14, 2020 at additional locations across the province.  

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 court operations across Ontario. The first phase of the plan (Phase One) was implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms. Additional courthouses resumed hearing trials and preliminary hearings on August 17 and 24. The next phase of the plan (Phase Two) is anticipated to be implemented on September 14, 2020. Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan across the province, 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 by the Ministry is available on the following website:  COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms.

The 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. Based on your answers, you will be told whether or not you can enter. If you cannot enter, you will be told what to do next. You can complete the online screening before going to court:  https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening. You must show the result as you enter.  If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

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.

1.    Resumption of Trials and Preliminary Inquiries on September 14, 2020

The Court will resume hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in a limited number of courtrooms in courthouses that are part of Phase Two of the Ministry’s Plan.

Ontario Court of Justice Courthouses where Trials and Preliminary Inquiries will Resume as of September 14, 2020
RegionCourthouses
Central EastBracebridge, Cobourg, Orillia
Central WestCayuga, Simcoe, Welland
EastBrockville, L’Orignal, Napanee, Perth
NortheastCochrane, Gore Bay, Haileybury, Parry Sound
NorthwestDryden, Fort Frances
WestGoderich, Stratford, Walkerton, Woodstock

All trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody will proceed as scheduled at these locations starting on September 14, 2020.

All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

While court operations are expanding at these locations, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remain restricted in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

In light of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance, and in light of the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties take reasonable steps to ensure matters scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry are ready to proceed.

Sections a to d, below, apply to trials and preliminary inquiries at these courthouse locations.

a.    Filing of Pre-trial and Trial Applications

All application materials in relation to trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to proceed on or after September 14, 2020 at these locations should be filed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Materials can be filed electronically in accordance with s. 5.2 of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

b.    Witnesses

All witnesses who have been subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled on or after September 14, 2020 at these locations must attend court on the scheduled date unless the party who subpoenaed them advises that their attendance is no longer necessary.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email or telephone.

c.    COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Judge and until further notice, all cases currently scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry on or after September 14, 2020 will be spoken to approximately one week before the scheduled hearing date before a judge presiding in a special COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court. The purposes of the Trial Readiness Courts are:

(i) to confirm that trials or preliminary inquiries are ready to proceed on their hearing date; and

(ii) to assign cases into courtrooms that are open and operating.

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Justice, cases will appear in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week of the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry. Where the Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court will be held on Tuesday. Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of September 14 – 18 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled in each jurisdiction for Tuesday, September 8.

For details about the Trial Readiness Court in each court location, including scheduling information, see COVID 19 Trial Readiness Court.

All appearances in Trial Readiness Court will be by audioconference or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judge.

Accused persons who are represented by counsel do not need to be present for the Trial Readiness Court.

All counsel who speak to matters in Trial Readiness Court must be fully informed about the case and have authority to make binding decisions regarding the conduct of the case.

Accused persons who are not represented by counsel are to attend Trial Readiness Court by audioconference, or videoconference where applicable, to speak to their matter.

There is no need for counsel or accused persons to file a “bring forward” request or application to have their case addressed.

The Court expects the Crown and defence counsel will have communicated before Trial Readiness Court to identify and discuss any issues that may affect the scheduling or conduct of the hearing including, but not limited to:

  • whether, and on what basis, a party may be bringing an application to adjourn the case at the Trial Readiness Court appearance;
  • any witnesses or parties who may be unable to attend court due to health concerns, public health orders or COVID-19 symptoms or other issues;
  • whether any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) will be conducted using remote technology.

The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court may hear and determine any application(s) regarding the scheduling or conduct of the hearing that the judge is satisfied should be determined in advance of the trial or preliminary inquiry date.  The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court will not hear applications that are reserved to the trial judge or in respect of a continuing trial or preliminary inquiry with which a different judge is seized.

Where the parties indicate a matter is going to resolve, the matter will be scheduled into a resolution court on or before the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry date, where feasible.

d.    Other Court Proceedings will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquiries will be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody, remand and case management (set date) appearances.

Attendance in courtrooms for criminal matters other than trials and preliminary inquiries will continue to be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

The Court is actively working to expand opportunities for counsel and parties to attend court proceedings using remote technology.  Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will continue to be announced on the court’s website.

COVID-19 Trial Readiness Courts

**Except as otherwise specified below, cases will be spoken to in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week in which the case is scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry.  Where Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court is held on Tuesday.  For example, trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled for the week of September 14 – 18 will be spoken to in trial readiness court on Tuesday, September 8.  Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of September 21 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled for Monday, September 14.

Central EastCentral WestEast
NortheastNorthwestWest

Central East Region

BracebridgeCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before

Court time:  9:30 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848  Conference ID# 9013859

CoburgCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before

Court time:  9 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848  Conference ID# 2803646

OrilliaCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before

Court time:  9 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848  Conference ID# 4712564

Central West Region

Cayuga

** Note: Matters will be addressed in the Brantford trial readiness court

Court date:  Tuesday of the week before (with some on Monday; please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to confirm)

Court time:  10 am (all matters)

Audioconference: 1-866-633-0848, Conference ID# 3654983

Simcoe

** Note: Matters will be addressed in the Brantford trial readiness court

Court date:  Tuesday of the week before (with some on Monday; please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to confirm)

Court time:  10 am (all matters)

Audioconference: 1-866-633-0848, Conference ID# 3654983

Welland

** Note: Matters will be addressed in the St. Catharines trial readiness court

Court date:  Monday of the week before

Court time:  3 pm (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848, Conference ID# 2037454

East Region

BrockvilleCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before

Court time:  2 pm (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848 Conference ID: 5681731

L’OrignalCourt date:  Monday of the week before

Court time:  9 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848 Conference ID: 2828887

NapaneeNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.
PerthNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.

Northeast Region

CochraneCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before (beginning Tuesday, September 8)

Court time:  10 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-500-5845  Conference ID: 9199047

Gore BayCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before

Court time:  9:30 am (all matters)

Audioconference: 1-866-633-0848   Conference ID: 4800482

HaileyburyNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.
Parry SoundNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.

Northwest Region

DrydenNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.
Fort FrancesNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.

West Region

GoderichCourt date:    Monday of the week before (beginning Tuesday, September 8 due to holiday Monday) – Conference Call line 1

Court time:    11:30 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-1033  Conference ID# 1172703

StratfordCourt date:  Monday of the week before (beginning Tuesday, September 8 due to holiday Monday) – Courtroom 1

Court time:  9:45 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-1033  Conference ID# 2164807

WalkertonCourt date:   Wednesdays of the week before (beginning Wednesday, September 9)

Court time:   11:30 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-1033  Conference ID# 3173454

WoodstockCourt date:   Tuesday of the week before (beginning Tuesday, September 15)– Courtroom 2

Court time:  9 am (all matters)

Audioconference:  1-866-633-1033  Conference ID# 5240997

Updated Notice to the Profession for Court Operations in the Superior Court of Justice, Northwest Region During the Covid-19 Pandemic

GENERAL

Expansion Protocol:

This Notice to the Profession sets out the matters and procedure for the partial re-opening of the courts for the Northwest Region effective July 6, 2020 and replaces prior Notices to the Profession/Expansion Protocols dated April 2, 2020 and May 13, 2020. Counsel, parties and the public may review this, and province-wide information, and orders and directions of Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz on the Ontario Courts website. In particular, the Provincial Practice Direction/Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules Regarding Criminal Proceedings dated August 12, 2020; the Notice to the Profession re: Justice Participants Unable to attend In-Court Hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dated July 21, 2020 and the Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused, Media and Members of the Public dated June 25, 2020. These Notices as well as this Northwest Notice to the Profession may be found at:

www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/

On July 6th, 2020 the Northwest Region expanded matters and hearings. This Notice sets out the protocols that must be followed for proceedings in Criminal, Family and Civil proceedings in the Northwest Region. Please review these carefully, as all litigants, whether represented by counsel or not, are expected to comply with the process set out in this Notice.

Please note that the number of courtrooms currently available for in-person appearances is reduced significantly from what was available before the suspension of court operations due to COVID-19:

  1. Effective July 6, 2020 Thunder Bay has one (1) courtroom available for all SCJ proceedings. In November 2020, it is expected that additional courtrooms will become available if public health considerations permit;
  2. Kenora is in the process of opening courtrooms. Priority for courtroom use will be provided to trials and long proceedings provided public health considerations permit; and
  3. Fort Frances will not have any courtrooms available for in-person appearances until September 2020 (public health considerations permitting).
  4. You will receive more information as courtroom availability is known.

Given the limited number of available courtrooms within the Region, the court will do its utmost to accommodate all matters where in-court hearings are determined to be necessary and in the interests of justice.  This may not always be possible, and flexibility will be required. Many matters will continue to be heard by tele/videoconference, with the preferred platform being videoconference (via Zoom) for all but brief matters.

While the Northwest Region is fortunate to experience fewer COVID-19 cases than other judicial regions, the virus continues to present a considerable public health and safety threat. In these unprecedented times that have necessitated significant changes to the operations of the SCJ, we ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation. This is new for court staff, judges, lawyers, parties and the public. The court is anxious to deal with matters in the most efficient and effective way possible given the current challenges we are all faced with. It is important that all justice system participants act in good faith and cooperate with each other and with the court to ensure that matters are focused and fair and can be completed in a timely fashion.

In addition to the directives established at the provincial, regional and local level, the presiding judicial officer may give further direction.

Kenora and Fort Frances:

Because so much of our work will now be conducted via video conference, there is no longer a need to hold separate speak to dates, assignment courts and motion dates for each of our centres. Commencing in September 2020, we will be moving these events to be heard on a regional basis rather than by court location. This will provide more access to the courts for counsel and parties in Fort Frances and Kenora. Motions days will now proceed every Thursday morning commencing at 10:00 am EST (9:00 am CST) starting Thursday, September 3, 2020.

Motions that will be dealt with on the Thursday motions day will be short matters; consent matters; unopposed hearings or other speak to issues.

Contested motions will be assigned a special date and time and counsel should obtain a hearing date as described later in this Notice. Notwithstanding this direction, counsel and self represented parties are also invited to place their contested motion on the regular Thursday motion date if there is a disagreement between parties/counsel regarding timing, materials required and any other issue where the court is able to provide direction. Once that direction is provided, a hearing date will be provided by the trial coordinator from the location where the proceeding originated.

By proceeding in this manner, all Kenora and Fort Frances matters will have the same access to zoom hearing dates as proceedings in Thunder Bay.

There will be a regional Assignment Court conducted via zoom video conference held on the last Monday of every month commencing September 28, 2020. Criminal Assignment Court will begin at 1:30 EST (12:30 CST). Please follow the directions in this Notice regarding preparation for Assignment Courts including obtaining hearing dates in advance of the Assignment Court.

Notwithstanding that there will now be a regional approach to these proceedings, you must still file your material in the location where you case is proceeding. Please note that documents must be filed by email not in person for all proceedings unless you are directed otherwise. For example, the Kenora trial coordinator is to be contacted through the generic email address for the scheduling of all Kenora matters, and the Kenora CSD email is to be used for filing of all documents for Kenora matters even for proceedings that will be now be heard on a regional basis. The same process applies to both Fort Frances and Thunder Bay.

Because the judge hearing the matter will not be in the courthouse, they will not have access to a paper file. Similarly, the ability for court staff to process paper filings are limited.

There are size limits and other information in this Notice regarding how materials should be filed that you must adhere to including organization of electronic files.

Given the expansion of dates available for Kenora and Fort Frances matters, all regular court sitting dates in Kenora and Fort Frances for regular motions, assignment courts will be combined to one regional date and time. This will occur in consultation with the Regional Manager and local trial coordination staff and the profession and public will be informed when these combined assignment courts will commence.

Similarly, contested motions and criminal pre-trials will be assigned a hearing date upon request as the court schedule permits.

Email Addresses:

Any reference in this notice to email communication with the trial coordinator shall be directed to:

Thunder Bay ThunderBay.SCJ@ontario.ca
Kenora Kenora.scj@ontario.ca
Fort Frances FortFrances.SCJ@ontario.ca

Please do not use the personal email addresses of the trial coordinators unless invited to do so. If you contact them directly, it may cause your inquiry to be delayed or not acknowledged.

Any reference in this notice to email communication with Court Services Division shall be directed to:

Thunder Bay CSD.ThunderBay.SCJ@ontario.ca
Kenora courts.kenora@ontario.ca
Fort Frances Courts.FortFrances@jus.gov.on.ca

Case Lines – on line filing:

The Superior Court of Justice is in the process of establishing an on-line filing portal that will permit materials to be filed electronically rather than through this email system. We are looking forward to this new development and to announcing when it will be available in the Northwest.

Guiding Principles – Health and Safety:

In order to ensure the safety of all justice participants, every measure possible will be taken to reduce the number of people who physically attend the courthouse each day.

Lawyers, parties, accused persons and witnesses should not attend the courthouse in person unless their physical presence is required. Unless necessary, parties are asked not to bring individuals to their proceeding who are not parties, not giving evidence, or otherwise required for the proceeding.

Generally, and unless ordered otherwise by a judge, no in-person attendance will be required except for a trial, criminal pre-trial application or motion in which viva voce evidence is called or for an application that cannot be heard remotely because it is required to be in camera.

In order to ensure that the Open Court Principle is honoured, access to a hearing or trial via zoom may be provided to individuals and the press at their request. Daily Court Lists are now available on line on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice website. There may be instances where access to a proceeding is not possible due to technical constraints. We are doing everything we can to ensure that this will be a rare occurrence. Certain types of proceedings do not permit access to the public and those continue to be held in camera.

Counsel, parties and the public attending the courthouses must ensure strict compliance with all health and safety requirements posted throughout the courthouse. Failure to comply will result in that person being denied admission to or required to leave the courthouse. If you are uncertain about the health and safety requirements in the courthouse, please inquire before attending the courthouse.

All persons are encouraged to review the Ministry of Attorney General Covid-19 Recommended Precautionary Measures Guidebook for safety protocols and expectations in the courthouse. This Guidebook may be found at https://files.ontario.ca/mag-covid-19-recommended-precautionary-measures-en-2020-08-19.pdf.  All persons shall follow the directions regarding physical distancing, masks and hand hygiene as posted in the courthouse.

Please also note that no person will be permitted entry to the courthouse without first answering the screening questions. You are encouraged to complete the online screening tool before going to court to avoid delays upon entering the building. You must show the result as you enter. Other screening options are available at the courthouse. The online screening tool is available at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening/.

Please ensure that all participants arrive at least 20 minutes early for their scheduled matter to allow for sufficient time for any delays arising out of screening protocols.

No person shall attend the courthouse for any purpose if that person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or if that person has recently been exposed to COVID-19. Any justice participant who would otherwise be required to attend court in person but is unable to do so because of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure shall either email the trial coordinator for their court location, or if no access to email shall call (807) 626-7000 and leave a voicemail message. The email or voicemail message must provide information as to the name of the court matter, the date and time of the matter and contact information in order to allow the court to contact the justice participant and to reschedule the appearance. If you are represented by a lawyer or have been subpoenaed as a witness by a lawyer for a party, please contact the lawyer directly (instead of the court) and they will advise the court accordingly.

Local Administrative Judges:

In order to streamline the expansion of services and to assist with coordination of hearings, the following judges have been appointed as Local Administrative Judges (LAJ):

Justice Fregeau will continue as the LAJ for Kenora and Fort Frances;

Justice Newton has been assigned the LAJ for criminal proceedings in Thunder Bay;

CRIMINAL MATTERS

The SJC in the Northwest Region will resume hearing all criminal matters either virtually or in-person, depending on the availability of a courtroom. There may continue to be some disruption to our ability to offer jury trials. Please see “Jury trial” section below.

Scheduling of Dates:

Assignment Court will resume and continue to be held on the last Monday of each month, with the December assignment court being held December 14, 2020. These assignment courts shall include Thunder Bay, Kenora and Fort Frances matters commencing September 28, 2020 until further notice. Criminal assignment court will commence at 1:30 p.m. EST (12:30 p.m. CST) by videoconference. There shall be no in-person attendance. A telephone conference number will also be provided in the event you are not able to attend via videoconference.

Trials, pre-trials and application dates shall be scheduled in assignment court if not previously assigned. Application dates may also be scheduled at the pre-trial or through the trial coordinator by email and placed on the record at the next assignment court if needed. All other matters shall be scheduled by emailing the trial coordinator in your area. All parties and counsel should canvass dates with the trial coordinator in advance of assignment court and then have the dates confirmed, and any further directions endorsed at assignment court.

Trials:

For any scheduled trial, a video or teleconference must be scheduled with the presiding judge in advance to discuss the trial procedure, filing requirements for exhibits, whether any witnesses will be required to testify remotely, evidentiary issues and any other matters necessary to ensure the efficient operation of the trial.

Please note that criminal trials will only proceed by videoconference with the consent of the accused, and otherwise shall proceed in a courtroom, subject to any orders or agreements regarding certain participants appearing via video conference due to health and safety concerns or for any other reason the trial judge may decide is valid.

Judicial Pre-Trials (JPTs)

All JPTs will continue to be heard remotely, by teleconference or videoconference. Crown and Defence counsel are encouraged to work together to ensure that only one copy of the Form 17 is filed with the court in both Word and PDF format, along with any other relevant documents. Service of the Form 17 by the Crown or Defence shall be by email to Court Services Division.

Filing of Materials:

Application materials from either party are limited to 35MB unless a judge orders otherwise.

All materials for criminal proceedings shall be filed with CSD electronically by email to the appropriate CSD email address for your court location. Materials shall be filed in PDF format with indexes and bookmarks for ease of navigation. In addition, all documents shall be clearly identified with the case name, who is filing and type of matter.

Please refer to the section in this Notice in the General Requirements and Advice regarding directions for filing materials.

Order for Attendance of Prisoner at Court Proceeding:

Counsel shall resume responsibility for completing and electronically filing an Order for Attendance of Prisoner at Court Proceeding (Form 12) when their client is in custody and is required for a court appearance. If the accused is self-represented, the Crown shall assume this responsibility.

The Order for Attendance of Prisoner shall be completed on Form 12 with all required information, including virtual connection information. It is not necessary to have this form commissioned or signed. This form can be located on the Superior Court of Justice website:  http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/static/media/uploads/courtforms/scjcpr/form12/csr-12-23-e.pdf.   Once the Form is completed, it shall be filed electronically with the Registrar’s Office at the appropriate CSD email address for Thunder Bay, Kenora or Fort Frances, for judicial approval and distribution. Please note that the prisoner will be connected to the hearing remotely from the jail unless personal appearance is required for a trial or by order of the court.

Designations of Counsel:

Counsel are encouraged to promptly file a Superior Court designation (Form 18 – Schedule 1 to the Criminal Proceedings Rules) for accused persons both in and out of custody. Counsel are reminded that designations filed in the Ontario Court of Justice are not valid in the Superior Court of Justice. Designations should be emailed to the appropriate CSD email address for your court location. A designation may provide for unlimited appearances by counsel or it may indicate that the lawyer is authorized to appear for limited purposes or a limited time. If, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, counsel are unable to meet in person with a client to have a designation signed, the designation may be signed by counsel on behalf of the client if the client has so directed.

Jury Trials:

The Northwest Region will endeavour to resume jury trials in Thunder Bay effective October 2020, subject to the availability of courtroom and other required spaces, and public health considerations. It is anticipated that jury selection will take place at off site locations to allow for physical distancing. Sites have been sourced in Thunder Bay and are currently being sourced in Kenora and Fort Frances. Once these sites are located and courtrooms are opened in Kenora and Fort Frances, the court will begin setting jury trials in these areas. In the meantime, Defence Counsel and the Crown are encouraged to consider and discuss the possibility of re-election.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS AND ADVICE

  1. Please take care to ensure that documents and requests for court dates are sent to the proper email address set out in this Notice or else they may not come to the attention of the Court. Do not send requests to personal email addresses of the trial coordinators unless specifically invited to do so.
  2. To avoid documents being rejected for filing, please ensure that the directions of the Court with respect to size, format and labeling of documents are complied with.
  3. When sending your request for a hearing, please clearly identify the case name, type of proceeding and the nature of your request in the subject line of your email. This will ensure that your request is processed as quickly as possible. For example:

“R. v. Paul Smith (CR-file no.) – Application for Habeas Corpus”

“Paul Smith v. Ann Smith (FS-file no.) – Application for Restraining Order”

“Paul Smith v. 1234 Ontario Ltd. (CV-file no.) – Request for Urgent Motion”

  1. All electronically filed documents must clearly set out the email addresses of the party filing the materials and of all other interested parties in that matter. If there is a case management judge or a judge is seized of the proceeding, the judge must also be identified.
  2. When filing documents you must identify the case and file number, the party submitting the document and the type of document, otherwise they may be rejected.
  3. Documents should be individually labelled, (i.e.) affidavit of the Applicant, Paul Smith; Factum of the Respondent, Amy Smith, indexed and bookmarked in PDF format. Hyperlinks should be provided in documents (including briefs) to relevant excerpts of the evidence, case law, and any other pertinent documents. With the requirement for hyperlinks to case law, no book of authorities or copies of cases shall be filed.
  4. Orders and facta shall be filed in both PDF and Word format.
  5. Where time estimates are provided by the parties or set by the court for all hearings, in-court and by videoconference, such time estimates will be strictly enforced, subject to the discretion of the presiding judge.
  6. A list of the matters scheduled (including assignment court and motions matters) will be posted on the SCJ website at www.ontariocourtdates.ca. The daily hearing lists will include the case name, time, and reason for the appearance. This information is updated each day at 4:30 p.m. and posted for the following day.
  7. When joining a virtual assignment court or motions list, please ensure that your audio remains muted until your case is called. You may be in a virtual “waiting room” during this time. When your case is called out, please “unmute” your audio, state your name and the party you represent (if counsel). As a general practice, you should also mute your audio on both video and teleconference calls when not speaking to minimize background noise.
  8. Matters placed on an assignment court or motions list may be struck from the list and require an order to be re-instated if no one attends virtually. All parties and counsel should canvass dates with the trial coordinator in advance of assignment court and then have the dates confirmed, and any further directions endorsed at assignment court.
  9. When appearing by videoconference, please try to ensure that your name appears on your screen as opposed to simply the firm name or location name of the room you are in.
  10. Lawyers are not required to gown for virtual or in-person proceedings at this time. Lawyers are required to appear in business attire whether in person or attending via video conference.
  11. Mechanisms are in place by the court to record certain hearings, as required. Counsel and parties and members of the public and press may not record a proceeding for their own purposes unless otherwise authorized by a judge, pursuant to section 136(3) of the Courts of Justice Act.

Sincerely,

Bonnie R. Warkentin,
Regional Senior Justice, Northwest Region

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

The Ontario Court of Justice will begin province-wide implementation of virtual criminal case management court on August 24, 2020.  Starting Monday August 24, 2020, virtual criminal case management court appearances for out of custody accused will resume, using remote technology (videoconference or audioconference), in the following locations: Cayuga, Goderich, Guelph, Orangeville, L’Orignal,  Pembroke, Saint Thomas, Simcoe, Stratford, Windsor, Woodstock.

Starting Monday August 31, 2020, criminal case management court appearances for out of custody accused will resume, using remote technology, in Oshawa Thunder Bay, Timmins  and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave. E.).

This Notice provides an update regarding criminal case management appearances in the Ontario Court of Justice by accused persons who are out of custody.

The Ontario Court of Justice is implementing virtual criminal case management courts, in which criminal case management appearances will be conducted by videoconference or audioconference.  On Monday August 10, 2020, a virtual criminal case management court pilot was launched in Ottawa and Kitchener.  Province-wide implementation of virtual criminal case management courts will occur in stages over the next several weeks.  The first stage of province-wide implementation begins on August 24, 2020.

Further information about criminal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including the definition of “case management appearances”, is available in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

1)    Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts Launching Monday August 24, 2020

Commencing Monday August 24, 2020, criminal case management court appearances for out of custody accused will resume, using remote technology, at the following fourteen locations:

Central West:  Cayuga, Orangeville, Simcoe

East:  L’Orignal, Pembroke

West:  Goderich, Guelph, St. Thomas, Stratford, Windsor, Woodstock

Beginning Monday August 24, 2020, counsel and accused persons who are out of custody will be able to attend for criminal case management appearances at these locations by videoconference or audioconference (telephone) using Zoom.

Criminal case management appearances will be conducted by remote appearance (audioconference or videoconference) only.  If you have a case management criminal court appearance at one of these locations, do not attend court in person.

Further details, including information about how counsel and accused persons can connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference, will be published shortly.

2)    Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts Launching Monday August 31, 2020

Commencing Monday August 31, 2020, criminal case management court appearances for out of custody accused will resume using remote technology, at the following fourteen locations:

Central East:  Oshawa

Northeast: Timmins

Northwest: Thunder Bay

Toronto:  Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave East).

Beginning Monday August 31, 2020, counsel and accused persons who are out of custody will be able to attend for criminal case management appearances at these locations by videoconference or audioconference (telephone) using Zoom.

Further details, including information about how counsel and accused persons can connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference, will be published shortly.

3)    Criminal Case Management Court Appearances in Other Court Locations

Province-wide implementation of virtual criminal case management courts will continue over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, the automatic adjournment of criminal court appearances for accused persons who are not in custody will continue at other court locations until the virtual criminal case management court is implemented at that particular location.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice, on or before September 4, 2020, in a location other than those listed above, do not attend court.  The court will adjourn your matter without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion”, which will require you to attend court on the new date.

Appearances between or after August 24, 2020  and September 4, 2020 will be adjourned to a date approximately five (5) weeks from the original date.  To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.

4)    Accused persons who are in custody

Criminal case management appearances for accused persons who are in custody will continue to be conducted by remote appearance (audioconference or videoconference), in accordance with the procedures in place since March 2020.

Information for Self-Represented Accused Persons with Criminal Cases in the Ontario Court of Justice

 Published: August 19, 2020

In response 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 first phase of the plan (Phase One) was implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry continues to implement its plan across the province, 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. The number of people who may enter courthouses has been limited in order to help curb the spread of the virus.

As the Province safely and gradually reopens, in-person hearings are starting to resume in those courthouses where the Ministry of the Attorney General has put in place health and safety measures to protect people from COVID-19.  Courts will continue to conduct many types of court proceedings using telephone or videoconference technology.

This document provides general information to self-represented accused persons who have criminal cases in the OCJ during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not a complete review of the criminal process and does not cover every circumstance that might arise in your case.

The following are general answers to some common questions that you may have. For more specific information that may impact your case, seek legal advice. You should also review the COVID-19 notices posted on the OCJ website which are updated often.

General Information for Self-Represented Accused Persons

1.    I don’t have access to the internet. Are there other ways to obtain information about how my court case will be dealt with during the pandemic without coming to the courthouse?

If you do not have access to the internet and are unable to get help to access the information on the OCJ website, you can call the local courthouse and speak with a court services representative.

Your release document will tell you the courthouse where your case is being dealt with.

You may also contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 or at 416-979-1446 or on the web at https://www.legalaid.on.ca/ for assistance.

2.    The date for my criminal trial or my preliminary inquiry is in or after July 2020. Should I come to the courthouse on the date set for the hearing?

Starting on July 6, 2020, the OCJ began hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in a limited number of courthouses in Ontario.

Your trial or preliminary inquiry may or may not be going ahead, depending on the courthouse where your case is scheduled.

Please contact your local courthouse to determine if your trial or preliminary inquiry is going ahead and whether you should attend at the courthouse on your scheduled date. The following public notice indicates which courthouses are currently hearing trials and preliminary hearings. This information changes regularly and you should check back for up to date information.

3.    I had a scheduled case management court appearance between March 16 and July 31, 2020.  What happened to my case?  

A case management court appearance includes a “first appearance”, matters scheduled “to be spoken to”, or to “set a date.” They do not include scheduled trials or preliminary hearings. If your court appearance was scheduled sometime between March 16 and July 31, 2020, your case was automatically adjourned for 10 weeks without you having to come to court. When your case is automatically re-scheduled or adjourned, the court will issue an order known as a “bench warrant with discretion”.

4.    My next court date will be after August 24, 2020. Should I come to the courthouse?

If you have a scheduled case management court appearance on or after August 24, 2020, you should not attend at the courthouse. On August 10 some of these courts re-opened to the public using remote technology. Commencing August 24, more will follow. Details will be provided on the Court’s website. You should check the website for updated information or call your local courthouse to determine whether you should attend in person.

If a case management court has not yet resumed at your local courthouse, the court will automatically re-schedule, or “adjourn”, your case for 5 weeks. The court will issue an order called a “bench warrant with discretion”.  This order states that you must appear in court at another date that is approximately 5 weeks later.

5.    If my case was automatically adjourned, how do I find out when my next court date is?

To find the date when you should next attend court, you can check the information provided on the Ontario Court of Justice’s website or call the local courthouse.

6.    How can I get information about hiring a lawyer or paralegal to assist me?

The information in this notice is not legal advice and does not replace the advice of a legal professional. The Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials on the OCJ website explains how you can retain a lawyer or paralegal.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can obtain information by calling the following services. Both offer limited legal advice for free:

If you qualify for legal aid, LAO will issue you a legal aid certificate that you can use to hire a lawyer.

7.    I need an interpreter. How can I get one?

If you need an interpreter, you can contact a court services representative in the courthouse where your case is being heard. More information can be found online at https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/interpreters/.

8.    I have a disability and will have trouble attending the courthouse. What should I do?

If you have questions about a courthouse’s accessibility features, you can contact the Accessibility Coordinator at the courthouse where your matter is being heard. Additional information can be found online at https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/commitment_to_accessibility.php.

9.    I am a young person and do not have a lawyer to assist me. Where can I get help?

The Youth Criminal Justice Act provides young persons (12-17 years old) with special rights and protections. Young persons or their parents or guardians should apply to Legal Aid Ontario for a legal aid certificate that they can use to hire a lawyer. If a young person wants to hire a lawyer to represent them, but has been denied a legal aid certificate, they can appeal the decision or ask to have their matter brought before a judge to explain why they cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The judge may order a referral to Legal Aid for the appointment of counsel.

Young persons or their parents or guardians may wish to contact Justice For Children and Youth (JFCY), which is a legal clinic that gives free legal advice to any young person in Ontario. JFCY also can help to connect a young person facing criminal charges with a lawyer in their community. You can call JFCY at 416-920-1633 or toll free at 1-866-999-5329.

Moving My Case Forward

10. What is disclosure and how can I get disclosure?

A person accused of committing a crime is entitled by law to receive a copy of the evidence that the Crown possesses or controls that is not clearly irrelevant or privileged. This could include: police notes, witness statements, diagrams, and photographs. This information is called “disclosure”.  The prosecutor (also known as a Crown Attorney or an Assistant Crown Attorney) will provide you with your disclosure in court, often at a first court appearance after your release. If your court appearance was automatically adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and you did not receive disclosure, do not come to the courthouse to get it. You should contact the Crown Attorney’s office that is prosecuting your case to ask them how to get your disclosure. If you lost your original disclosure and need a new copy or if you think that you should be getting additional disclosure, contact the Crown Attorney’s office.

When you contact the Crown Attorney’s office, be prepared to provide:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • a list of your charges
  • the police occurrence number (found on your release papers)
  • your email address, telephone number; and mailing address

Please also advise whether you have a secure email address where you can receive disclosure.

This information is required so the Crown can provide you with disclosure on an ongoing basis.

In some cases, you may also be asked to provide identification or other information confirming your identity, because the Crown must ensure that disclosure is released to the correct person.

For more information about how criminal cases in the OCJ are conducted, please refer to The Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials on the OCJ website.

11. I would like to speak with the prosecutor about my case. How can I do this without attending the courthouse?

You may be able to schedule a telephone meeting with a Crown Attorney (or prosecutor) to discuss your case. This is often referred to as a “Crown pre-trial”. Please contact the Crown Attorney’s office that is prosecuting your case to determine if you are able to have a Crown pre-trial without a legal representative.

12. I have already spoken with the prosecutor and would like to speak with a judge about my case. Can I do this?

If your case was scheduled for a trial or a preliminary inquiry between March 16 and July 3, 2020 and was automatically adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your matter may require a court appearance with a judge and a Crown Attorney, referred to as a “Judicial pre-trial” or JPT. The judge and the Crown Attorney will be at this hearing. A JPT is not a trial and no witnesses will testify at a JPT. A JPT may be done through a telephone conference call or through a videoconference.

Once the case management court in your jurisdiction re-opens to the public, you will be able to set a JPT in accordance with local practices when you appear in court.  Your court appearance might be in person or by remote technology. Details will be provided on the Court’s website. You should check there for updated information or call your local courthouse.

To find out more information, please contact your local courthouse.

13. How can I plead guilty to the charges against me?

Before you decide to plead guilty, you are strongly encouraged to obtain legal advice. If you were scheduled to appear at a courthouse to enter a guilty plea between March 16 and July 3, 2020 and your appearance was adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you will need to get a new court date to enter a guilty plea.  A legal professional may be able to assist you in getting a new court date.

If you do not have access to a legal professional, you can contact the Crown Attorney’s office to set a date for pleading guilty by providing the following information:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • a list of your charges
  • the police occurrence number (found on your release papers)
  • your next court date
  • the date you would like to plead guilty

After July 6, 2020 if you want to plead guilty to your charge(s) and you are not in custody, the hearing will be done by way of a videoconference hearing rather than in person.  You should try to get legal advice to see if you will be permitted to plead guilty by way of a videoconference hearing.

14. I would like to set a trial date as soon as possible. When will I be able to set a trial date?

If your trial date was originally set between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020, it was adjourned due to COVID. The court has posted a notice about setting trial dates. It is anticipated that in August you will be able to reschedule these matters for a future trial date. Please check the court’s website regularly for more information.

If you would like to schedule a trial date for a case that has never had a trial date set, information will be posted soon on the court’s website about that process.

You are encouraged to obtain legal advice from a legal representative who will be able to tell you about local directions involving court scheduling. Updated information will be posted on the OCJ website and should be consulted frequently.

15. Am I able to enter a courthouse to file court documents?

If you have materials that you would like to serve and file with the court, this can be done electronically by email.  Information on how to submit documents by email may be found on the OCJ website. If you are unable to file documents by email, contact your local courthouse by telephone to find out about the options that are available to you.

16. How can I apply to change the conditions of my release (e.g., of a bail/ release order or a police undertaking)?

If you are concerned about your bail/release conditions or the conditions in an undertaking to the police, you can fill out an Application for Consent Variation Bail Form and send it to the Crown Attorney’s office by email. Before you try to change the terms of your release, you are encouraged to obtain legal advice or contact Legal Aid for assistance.

If the Crown Attorney’s office agrees to the proposed change(s), the OCJ has implemented a procedure so that you will not need to attend the courthouse in person. Information about this procedure can be found on the OCJ website: COVID-19: Ontario Court of Justice Consent Variation Procedures for Release Orders and Police Undertakings.

If you have been released on a bail order with any sureties, any sureties must also consent to the proposed change(s) and they must complete Part B of the Application for Consent Variation Bail Form. Part C of the Form is completed by a lawyer if you have one.

You will receive a decision by email. A bail variation form must include the Crown Attorney’s consent and the authorization of a judicial official, in writing, to take effect. If your request to vary your release order is granted, a copy will be sent to you by email.  Keep it with the original release order.

If the Crown Attorney does not consent to your proposed variation(s), you may bring an application called a “bail review” asking a judge of the Superior Court of Justice to change your bail conditions. You are encouraged to seek legal advice and contact your courthouse to determine when the application can be scheduled.

17. I don’t have a scheduled court appearance, but I would like to act as a surety and may have to testify at a bail hearing for a person who is in custody. Am I expected to come to the courthouse to testify?

Most bail hearings are being conducted by telephone and/or videoconference during the pandemic. A person who is prepared to act as a surety should contact the lawyer representing the accused person, or duty counsel who is assisting the accused person. The lawyer or duty counsel will provide you with information about joining the hearing by telephone or videoconference. You should ask the accused person for the name and contact information of their lawyer, if they have a lawyer.

18. I am not in custody but I urgently require the court to consider my case. What can I do to bring my case to the court’s attention?

If you have an urgent criminal matter, please speak with your lawyer.  If you do not have a lawyer, please contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 for assistance in submitting a request to have your matter brought before the Court. Requests to bring a matter forward must be approved by a judge.  If you do not have access to a legal professional, you can contact the Crown Attorney’s office to set a date to speak to the court by providing the following information:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • a list of your charges
  • the police occurrence number (found on your release papers)
  • your next court date
  • the date you would like to speak to the court
  • the reason your case requires urgent attention

19. I have read that some court proceedings will be offered by telephone and/or video. Can my case be heard this way even if I don’t own a telephone or a computer?

The court is committed to ensuring access to justice and fairness for all litigants. If you do not have a phone or a computer, your case will be heard in a courtroom when it is safe to do so.

If you want to have your trial go ahead during the pandemic and want to appear using a phone or a computer or other device rather than by coming to the courthouse, you can ask at a Crown pre-trial or at a judicial pre-trial about how this can be done. Please contact the Crown Attorney’s office that is prosecuting your case to determine if you are able to have a Crown pre-trial without a legal representative. You are encouraged to get legal advice before you agree to attend your trial using a phone, computer or other device rather than by appearing in person at the courthouse.

Health and Safety

20. What steps are being take health and safety if I need to attend a courthouse?

The Ministry of the Attorney General implemented health and safety measures at each courthouse. Information about the strict health and safety measures that are in place may be found online at https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-reopening-courtrooms. You are encouraged to review the information prepared by the Ministry which explains all of the measures that are in place to protect your health and safety. These measures include:

  • enhanced cleaning
  • hand sanitizer stations
  • plexiglass barriers
  • markers that will promote physical distancing by having people to stay two metres apart from each other

You will need to answer screening questions before you enter an Ontario courthouse. Based on your answers, you will be told whether or not you can enter. If you cannot enter, you will be told what to do next. You can complete the online screening before going to court. You must show the result as you enter. The online screening tool may be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening. If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

Face coverings are mandatory for everyone who is in a courthouse. If you do not have a face covering with you, you will be given one to put on before entering the courthouse. Persons with a valid medical reason for not wearing a face covering will not be required to wear one.

21. What do I do if I don’t feel well or if I am sick on a date of a scheduled court appearance?  

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been advised by a public health official, a physician or by the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate, it is important that you do not attend at the courthouse even if you have a scheduled court appearance. Please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to let the court staff know if you have been advised by a public health official, a physician or by the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

22. I am not sick but feel very nervous about attending a public courthouse during the pandemic. What do I do?

You are expected to attend any scheduling court hearings unless arrangements have been made to have you appear by telephone or video conference. See question 19 for details on requesting to appear by telephone or video conference.

As noted above, the Ministry of the Attorney General has made a commitment to put strict measures in place to protect everyone in a courthouse.

23. Will I be able to bring witnesses, family and friends to the courthouse?

There are limits on the number of people who may be admitted to the courthouse to ensure that people can practice physical distancing and remain 2 meters or 6 feet apart.

If a person is required to attend as a witness in a case, they will be subject to the same screening requirements described above in question 20 before being admitted.

Everyone who attends at the courthouse will be required to wear face coverings while inside the courthouse.

Please allow extra time to arrive in advance of a hearing. You should expect delays in entering the courthouse in order to conduct the necessary COVID-19 screening measures.

24. Will I be able to bring documents and other materials that I want to file?

If you bring documents with you, remember that you may be asked to show court staff your belongings, deposit them in a bin for screening or place them on an examination table.  You should wash or sanitize your hands before and after sharing any documents. Hand sanitizer will be available at the courthouse.

You may bring documents with you, but you can also file documents for your case by email at the Ontario Court of Justice. If you have trouble submitting documents by email, please ask court staff at the courthouse who can assist you with this process.

Note: The above information is meant to assist self-represented litigants with common questions during the courts’ re-opening and does not replace legal advice. Please contact a lawyer or paralegal or the courthouse to obtain case specific information about the circumstances of your case. If you are a self-represented litigant with a family law or provincial offences matter, please visit the OCJ website for specific resources that might apply to your case as this information is meant to assist self-represented litigants with criminal cases before the Ontario Court of Justice.

Provincial Practice Direction / Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules Regarding Criminal Proceedings

August 12, 2020

Part I: Interpretation and Application of this Practice Direction

  1. This Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules applies to all criminal proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. It replaces the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction of May 1, 2017 as amended May 13, 2019.
    This Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules should be considered as amendments to the Criminal Proceedings Rules of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) These amendments are made pursuant to the Court’s rule making authority s. 482(1) of the Criminal Code.
    This document shall be considered publication of Rules or making Rules available to the public for the purposes s. 482(4) of the Criminal Code until such time as the Criminal Proceedings Rules are fully reviewed, amended and published.
  1. The purpose of this Practice Direction/ Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules is to
    • enhance the timeliness, appropriate scheduling and trial readiness of criminal proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice,
    • address certain matters in respect of the open courts principle
    • address the Court’s need to modernize and increase its use of electronic processes.
  1. Subject to section 4, this Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules as it relates to Jordan matters applies to all Indictments in the Superior Court of Justice as of May 1, 2017.
  2. Part III (Factums) does not apply to Indictments that were pre-tried before May 1, 2017 unless a subsequent pre-trial is held on or after May 1, 2017.
  3. The provisions in this Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules are subject to any orders made by the presiding judge in a specific proceeding.
  4. All references to a rule or rules in this Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules refer to the Criminal Proceedings Rules of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario).
  5. All references to the Code refer to the Criminal Code.

Part II: s. 11(b) – Appearances on Indictments

  1. On every appearance on an indictment in the Superior Court of Justice, Crown and defence counsel and any self-represented accused person must be prepared to advise the presiding judge whether any
    1. previous time periods in the case in either the Superior Court of Justice or the Ontario Court of Justice; and
    2. any adjournments or time periods to future scheduled events in the Superior Court of Justice

are attributable to defence delay or exceptional circumstances as described in R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27.  Counsel must also be prepared to identify the start and end dates for any such time periods.

Part III: Factums

  1. Unless otherwise ordered by a judge, factums are required for all applications including but not limited to:         
    1. change of venue applications under rule 22;
    2. applications to take evidence on commission under rule 24;
    3. applications regarding constitutional issues under rule 27 (including applications regarding s. 11(b) of the Charter);
    4. applications to admit evidence under rule 30; and
    5. applications to exclude evidence under rule 31.
  1. Factums shall comply with rule 33, unless otherwise ordered by a judge.

Part IV: Pre-trial Conferences

A. Updated Pre-trial Forms

  1. Counsel (and accused, if self-represented) shall use the updated version of the pre-trial conference report (Form 17) dated May 2017 available on the Ontario Court Forms website. As of May 15, 2017, the Court may refuse to accept filing of any previous versions of the pre-trial conference report (Form 17).
  2. The pre-trial conference judge shall use the updated version of the Report to Trial Judge (Form 18-A1) dated May 2017.

B. Directions and Orders of Pre-Trial Conference Judge

  1. The pre-trial conference judge may make any order that the rules provide may be made by a judge, including an order with respect to the following:
    1. directing that factums are required, or are not required, in respect of a particular application;
    2. the nature, scope and content of other materials required in support of an application;
    3. the manner and timelines for the service and filing of notices, application records factums or other materials in support of an application;
    4. setting time limits for oral arguments of pre-trial applications that parties should expect will be imposed subject to the discretion of the trial judge; and
    5. whether a matter ought to be argued in-writing, in-person, by a remote process such as audio or by video conference (subject to any consents the court determines are required) or some combination of these.

C. Conducting Pre-trial Conferences by telephone or video conference

  1. Pre-trial conferences will be held by a remote process such as audio or video conference unless directed by the Court to be held in-person.  Either party may request that the pre-trial conference be held in person, which will be considered by the Court.

Part V: Bail Variations pursuant to s. 519.1 of the Code

  1. This part applies to consent applications under s. 519.1 of the Code to vary release orders issued under ss. 499, 503 or 515 of the Code.
  2. Where the applicant has been committed for trial in the Superior Court of Justice, all applications under s. 519.1 must be brought in the Superior Court.
  3. Where an application to vary a release order on consent under s. 519.1 of the Code without a court attendance is filed, the reviewing judge may
    1. grant the order;
    2. direct that a court attendance is required, including a direction that the application proceed as an application under s. 520 or s. 521 of the Code; or
    3. give other directions regarding the application.
  4. All applications under s. 519.1 seeking an order without a court attendance shall include:
    1. a notice of application clearly identifying the content of the term(s) sought to be varied and supported by the following;
      1. a copy of the release order that the applicant wants varied, including all previous variations of the release order;
      2. a sworn affidavit from the applicant confirming that the applicant understands that the original release order remains in effect and that failure without lawful excuse to comply with that release order as it has been varied is an offence contrary to the Criminal Code; and
      3. a sworn affidavit from each surety that includes (1) the surety’s position with respect to the variation(s) being sought and (2) that the surety agrees to be bound by the order as varied and understands that if the order is varied that the surety is bound by it; or
    2. a completed Form 10B with a copy of the release order that the applicant wants varied.
  1. Where a judge grants a variation under s. 519.1, the Form 10B signed by the judge or, where the Form 10B is not used, the order or endorsement of the judge granting the variation, together with the original (now varied) release order, are the release orders.

Part VI: Applications under s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

A. Scheduling of s. 11(b) Applications

Pre-trial Conference

  1. Where the defence (g. an accused person or their counsel) intends to bring a s. 11(b) application but did not indicate this at the pre-trial conference, the defence must provide written notice of this change in position to the Crown, any other accused and the Superior Court trial coordinator, and arrange for a further pre-trial conference as soon as practicable, as required under rule 28.04(11).
  2. Pre-trial conferences will be held by a remote process such as audio or video conference, unless the Court orders otherwise.
  3. The pre-trial conference judge will inquire about and discuss any matter that may promote a fair and expeditious hearing of the s. 11(b) application including, but not limited to, (i) the scheduling of the application; (ii) the parties’ positions as to the cause of any particular periods of delay in the case, including whether the delay is attributable to the defence or to “extraordinary circumstances”, as defined in  v. Jordan, and (iii) the materials required to be filed in support of the application.

Hearing of the s. 11(b) application

  1. Unless directed otherwise by a judge, delay applications shall be scheduled for up to 90 minutes allocated as follows:
  • Applicant – 40 minutes
  • Respondent – 40 minutes
  • Applicant’s reply – 10 minutes
  1. Unless otherwise directed by a judge, all s. 11(b) applications must be scheduled to be heard at least 60 days before the first scheduled day of trial or, where pre-trial applications are scheduled to be heard separately in advance of the trial, at least 60 days before the first scheduled day of pre-trial applications.
  2. Before filing a s. 11(b) application, the applicant must obtain a hearing date from the court. Before seeking this date from the court, the applicant will be expected to consult with the Crown and any other accused to canvass all parties’ available dates and a reasonable time estimate for the hearing of the application.
  3. Unless otherwise directed by a judge, the materials in support of the application must be served and filed in accordance with the timelines set out in rules 27.04 and 33:
    1. the applicant’s materials must be filed at least 30 days before the hearing of the application; and
    2. the respondent’s materials must be filed at least 10 days before the hearing of the application.

B. Supporting Materials in s. 11(b) Applications

Factums

  1. Unless otherwise directed by a judge, factums are required for all s. 11(b) applications, as per rule 27.05(8).
  2. The factums should clearly identify any periods of delay within the case that the party submits should be characterized as attributable to the defence or to “exceptional circumstances”, as defined in  v. Jordan.
  3. In addition, in transitional cases, (e.cases with a charge date before July 8, 2016), the factum should clearly attribute each period of time in the proceeding to one of the five categories of delay identified in R. v. Morin ((i) inherent time requirements; (ii) delay attributable to the accused/defence; (iii) Crown delay; (iv) institutional delay and (v) other reasons for delay).
  4. The information described in paragraphs 28 – 29 should be set out in a chart (or charts) attached to the factum setting out the history of the proceeding from the date of charge until the anticipated disposition of the proceeding.

Transcripts

  1. Unless otherwise directed by a judge and subject to paragraph 32 below, the applicant’s application record must contain the transcripts of all prior court appearances in the case. Where an appearance included the hearing of evidence and submissions, only the portion of the transcript reflecting discussions about adjournments, scheduling and selection of the next court need be provided.
  2. The court encourages and expects the parties to work together to identify any periods of delay within the case that all parties agree are attributable to the defence or to “exceptional circumstances”, as defined in  v. Jordan, or (in transitional cases) to one of the five categories of delay identified in R. v. Morin((i) inherent time requirements; (ii) delay attributable to the accused/defence; (iii) Crown delay; (iv) institutional delay and (v) other reasons for delay). Where the parties reach such an agreement, an agreed statement of fact may be filed with respect to that period, rather than transcripts.

Part VII:  Related Amendments to Other Superior Court of Justice Practice Directions

  1. The following Superior Court of Justice Practice Directions (or portions thereof) are revoked:
    1. the entire Provincial Practice Direction under s. 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
    2. section A of part III (Bail Variations pursuant to section 515.1 of the Criminal Code) of the Consolidated Practice Direction for the Central West Region; and
    3. section H of part III (Bail Variations pursuant to section 515.1 of the Criminal Code) for the Central South Region.

Part VIII: Media Notification After Jury Sequestered

A. Purpose of this Part

  1. This Part applies to criminal jury trials in the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario).
  2. The purpose of this Part is to support the open courts principle by ensuring there is a process in place in every centre for giving reasonable notification to the media of court reconvening after a jury is sequestered, while ensuring the presiding judge’s control over proceedings.

B. Interpretation and Application of this Part

  1. Effective May 21, 2019, each centre of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, will have in place a practice that requires the Registrar or other Court Services Division representative, to notify, upon request of the media, one media representative (who agrees to notify other interested members of the media) when court is reconvening after the jury has been sequestered. Additional members of the media may be notified at the direction of the presiding judge.
  2. Each court centre will have in place, at a minimum, a process whereby at least one media representative may make a request to the Registrar to be notified. Upon receiving this request, Registrar (or other designated court staff) will

–  Notify the media representative(s) when court is reconvening, and when jury deliberations have concluded for the day. Notification of other developments such as meal breaks may be given at the discretion of the presiding judge or pursuant to local practice.

– Ensure that a process is in place to allow for the media representative(s) to be contacted by any form of communication that is reasonably available to the parties and court staff and acceptable to the presiding judge.

– Ensure that staff do not, under any circumstances, discuss or divulge information regarding the case and/or make comment on why court is reconvening, including advising that there is a verdict or question.

  1. While this Part requires that court staff notify media of major developments in jury proceedings, the court will not wait for media representatives to arrive before reconvening.
  2. Beyond the notification in this Part, court staff should not notify additional persons other than Crown counsel, defence counsel, the accused, court security, and court interpreter (if required), unless ordered to do so by the presiding judge or as pre-authorized by local practice directive.
  3. Court staff are required to ask the presiding judge for direction, if a request is received to contact any other person.

PART IX: Filing

  1. Electronic Filing: Pursuant to ss. 841-844 of the Criminal Code, all criminal filings with the SCJ are to be done electronically, by way of email or by any other method established by the Court.
  2. When a document has been filed electronically, it is not necessary to file a paper copy and the court may not accept a paper copy.
  3. Filings must also comply with any restrictions that have been placed on the length of material by the Court at a judicial pretrial, the rules or otherwise ordered by the Court.
  4. Relevant formatting rules (e.g. size of margins, etc.) as set out in the Criminal Proceedings Rules continue to apply to electronically filed documents, where feasible.
  5. Self-represented accused persons Where a self-represented person does not have access to electronic means for e-filing, the Court will continue to accept hard copy filings as set out on the Criminal Proceedings Rules, unless the Court orders otherwise. In such circumstances, self-represented parties should contact their local courthouse by email or telephone for directions as to how to proceed. Contact information for all SCJ courthouses is posted on the Ministry of the Attorney General website.
  6. Electronic Signatures:The Court will accept electronically signed documents where a signature is required.  An electronic signature consists of electronic information that identifies the signatory and the date and place of signing. Any reference to a signature in the Criminal Proceedings Rules is to be interpreted and considered amended in accordance with this section.
  7. Electronic ServiceThe Court dispenses with the requirement for personal service where personal service is required. Where personal service is stipulated, e-mail service, in compliance with in rules 5.05(4) and 5.01(6) of the Criminal Proceedings Rules shall suffice, so long as the requirements of Rule 5.09(5) are met.  Filed materials must indicate when and how service on responding parties was made.
  8. Proof of Service:When a document has been served by email and is being filed electronically, a formal affidavit of service is not required to be filed.  However, the person filing the document should retain a copy of any relevant affidavit(s) of service and/or related documents (e.g., email confirmations) required by Rule 5.09(5) and should be prepared to produce such documents to the Court on request.
  9. Subpoenas: For greater certainty, a subpoena may be served upon a witness by electronic means, including e-mail communication in accordance with Rule 5.05(4) and 5.01(6). Proof of service shall be in accordance with Rule 5.09(5) of the Criminal Proceedings Rules.
  10. Affidavits: Where it is not possible to administer an oath in the physical presence of the deponent, a lawyer or paralegal may commission an affidavit by video.  The affidavit should state that it was commissioned by video conference.

Where it is not possible to commission an affidavit by video conference, an unsworn affidavit may be delivered to the Court, but the deponent must be able to attend court in person or participate in any telephone or videoconference hearing to swear or affirm the affidavit.

The Court may require counsel who administers the oath by video to provide a copy of signed identification of the affiant, or an assurance to the Court that counsel viewed a copy (by video) of the affiant’s identification or provide the Court with confirmation of the affiant’s identification.

  1. Books of Authorities: Caselaw and other source materials referenced in the factum should be hyperlinked. Where hyperlinks are provided, it will not be necessary to file a Book of Authorities.
  2. Transcripts: Electronically certified transcripts will be the default format for transcripts submitted to the Court. Counsel or parties who must file a transcript should file electronic versions of the transcripts, wherever possible.
  3. Wherever possible, the parties should contact the transcriptionist and seek an electronic version for filing signed per the above. The court will continue to accept hard copy transcripts if e-transcripts are unavailable.
  4. References in the Criminal Proceedings Rules to the term “court reporter” is amended to “court transcriptionist”.[1]
  5. Faxes – All references to Faxes and Faxing in the Criminal Proceedings Rules are eliminated.
  6. References in the Rules to leaving copies of documents in the Court office or mailing documents are replaced with “submitting electronically by email or by any electronic means provided by the Court. The Court office will continue to accept hard copies from persons who do not have access to electronic means.” Any reference in the Rules to binding, size, color or weight of paper (e.g. transcripts section) is subject to this Practice Direction /Amendment to the Criminal Proceedings Rules in which electronic transcripts are the default version.
  7. Electronic Indictments – new indictments (e-indictments) submitted to the Court are to be submitted to the Court electronically by email or other electronic filing platform that may be adopted by the Court. Once the SCJ’s e-indictment process and format is fully implemented, the Court will phase out the use of paper indictments. On a date to be specified by the Chief Justice, the Court will no longer accept paper copies of Indictments.

PART X: Remote Proceedings

  1. Judicial pre-trials and administrative and scheduling appearances, will be conducted by a remote process such as video or audio unless otherwise directed by the Court. Consent is not a requirement.\
  2. In any other proceedings, where the court determines that consent of counsel to hold the proceeding remotely is required, the consent should be in writing in the form at Appendix A.
  3. For substantive matters proceeding remotely, Counsel will be required at the judicial pretrial to discuss how the matter will proceed and receive any instructions from the Court for proceeding.
  4. Wherever feasible, counsel should electronically exchange documents (e.g. casebooks, factums, exhibits ) prior to the hearing of remote matters. This provision does not compel any defendant to provide advance disclosure to the Crown.
  5. Counsel are strongly encouraged to identify all materials that are likely to become exhibits in the proceeding and to ensure that an electronic copy of all such materials is provided to the Court in advance of the proceeding. Where that is not practical, counsel should advise the court, at the outset of the proceeding, that they will be presenting material not previously filed.

PART XI: Designations

  1. The Court continues to require its own designation following committal for trial using the new SCJ Form 18 . http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/forms-under-the-criminal-proceedings-rules-of-the-superior-court-of-justice/
  2. Limited Scope Designations: In addition to the full designation for retained counsel, the Court will accept filing of a “limited scope” designation that would apply for counsel who is retained only through to the conclusion of the JPT process and the setting of a trial date with or without counsel. Form 18 – NEW designation See Appendix B
  3. The defendant is bound by all positions taken at the JPT by the lawyer who is acting/appearing on the basis of the limited scope designation. Rule 28.04 (11)-(13)

Dated: August 12, 2020

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Ontario Superior Court of Justice


APPENDIX A – CONSENT FORM FOR ACCUSED: VIRTUAL HEARING

APPENDIX B – FORM 18 DESIGNATION OF COUNSEL


[1] Except R. 40.08(1)

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

The following Practice Direction is issued under rules 4.5 and 5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Introduction

  1. This practice direction applies to appearances before the Ontario Court of Justice on or after Monday August 17, 2020.
  2. Accused persons who are in custody may waive their right to appear personally before the Court and request to have their matter adjourned in their absence, by instructing defence counsel to complete and file a “Waiver and Request for Adjournment / Remand in Accused Person’s Absence” form (the Form) on their behalf.
  3. Where the Form is filed, the accused person’s matter may be adjourned by the Court without the accused person personally appearing in court, in accordance with rule 4.5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.
  4. In adjourning an accused person’s matter under this Practice Direction, the Court may also address and sign a Warrant of Remand, authorizing the accused person’s continued detention until the next court date, in the accused person’s absence.

Application and Interpretation

  1. Unless a judicial official orders otherwise, the procedure in this Practice Direction applies only to case management appearances; it does not apply to accused persons who are scheduled to appear in connection with a bail hearing or for a scheduled trial, guilty plea, preliminary inquiry or sentencing.
  2. In this Practice Direction,

“accused person” includes a young person as defined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act; and

“defence counsel” includes duty counsel and agents authorized under sections 800(2) and 802.1of the Criminal Code

Waiver by Accused Person

  1. In submitting the Form through defence counsel, the accused person is
    • waiving their right to appear before the Court, whether in person, by videoconference or by audioconference;
    • consenting to their matter being addressed and adjourned on their behalf and in their absence;
    • acknowledging that they will remain in custody until their next appearance, unless they are able to satisfy the terms of a release previously ordered by a court or otherwise ordered released, for example, on a detention review or a bail review application; and
    • agreeing the court will continue to have jurisdiction over them even though the matter was addressed and adjourned in their absence..
  2. In addition, an accused person who is entitled to a bail hearing before the Ontario Court of Justice but has not yet had a bail hearing, is
    • acknowledging that a Warrant of Remand authorizing their detention until their next court appearance will be addressed and signed in their absence; and
    • waiving their right to be present when the Warrant of Remand is addressed.

Completion and Submission of the Form

  1. Because it may not be feasible for accused persons who are in custody to complete the form, the form can be completed and submitted by defence counsel based upon instructions from the accused person.
  2. The Form should be emailed to the Court and to the correctional facility where the accused person is in custody, with a copy to the Crown, no later than 9 am the day before the scheduled court appearance. This timeline can be shorted at the direction of a judicial official.
  3. The subject of the email should indicate the word “IN-CUSTODY WAIVER”, the name of the accused person and the next court date, e.g. “IN-CUSTODY WAIVER, John DOE, September 1, 2020”. Where the accused person is a young person, the subject of the email should indicate YCJA and the initials of the young person, rather than their full name, e.g. ““IN-CUSTODY WAIVER (YCJA), J.D., September 1, 2020”. The body of the email should contain the full name and date of birth of the accused person, the name of the correctional facility where the accused person is detained, details regarding the next court appearance (date, time, courtroom, courthouse) and defence counsel’s name, contact information and email address.
  4. The Form will be filed with the Court and form part of the court record.

Addressing and Adjourning the Accused Person’s Matter

  1. There are two ways in which the accused person’s matter may be addressed and adjourned using the Form.

   (i)        Defence counsel addressing the matter in the absence of the accused person

  1. Defence counsel may appear, either personally or by agent, and address the Court on behalf of the accused person. The appearance may be either in person or using remote technology. After hearing from defence counsel and the Crown, the Court may adjourn the matter without the accused personally appearing in court.

  (ii)        Consent adjournments in the absence of defence counsel and the accused person

  1. If the Crown and defence are proposing a consent adjournment, the accused person’s matter may be addressed and adjourned by the Court without the accused person or defence counsel being present. This procedure only applies to consent adjournments, in which defence counsel and the Crown agree on the proposed next court appearance date and the reason for adjournment.
  2. The Court may adjourn the matter, on consent, to the date proposed on the Form, without the accused personally appearing in court.
  3. Where the Court is of the opinion there is a technical defect in the Form or an issue with the proposed adjournment, the Court may address the matter in the manner it considers fair and appropriate in the circumstances, including adjourning the matter to a different date, without the accused personally appearing in court. The Crown will advise defence counsel of the issue with the Form and the details regarding the next appearance.

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

On Monday August 17, the Court will begin scheduling out-of-custody cases adjourned due to COVID-19 in all court locations.

This Notice provides an update regarding the scheduling of trial and preliminary inquiry dates in the Ontario Court of Justice.  It supplements and updates the Court’s Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates, published July 2, 2020.

On July 6, 2020, the Court resumed setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates, including rescheduling trials and preliminary inquiries that were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, using the procedure set out in its Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates.

Because of the large number of cases that were adjourned and need to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, the need to prioritize within the Court’s caseload, and in order to have a fair and orderly scheduling process, the Court established a priority order and timeline for the setting of trial and preliminary inquiry dates, with hearings involving in-custody accused persons being given priority.

(i) Scheduling of Out-of-Custody Trials and Preliminary Inquiries

The Court is ready to start scheduling trials and preliminary inquiries involving out-of-custody accused persons in all court locations. Priority will be given to trials and preliminary inquiries that were adjourned due to COVID-19, with priority based on the previously scheduled trial or continuation date.

The updated timeline for scheduling trials and preliminary inquiries is as follows:

CategoryScheduling will begin no later than
1.In-custody continuationsJuly 6, 2020
2.In-custody hearings adjourned due to COVID-19July 7, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned March 16 – April 9July 7, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned April 14 – May 8July 9, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned May 11 – June 5July 14, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned June 8 – July 3July 16, 2020
3.New in-custody hearings and in-custody hearings adjourned on or after July 6July 21, 2020
4.Out-of-custody continuationsAugust 5, 2020
5.Out-of-custody hearings adjourned due to COVID-19August 17, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned March 16 – April 3August 17, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned April 6 – April 24August 24, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned April 27 – May 15August 31, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned May 19 – June 5September 8, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned June 8 – July 3September 14, 2020
·         Hearings adjourned on or after July 6September 21, 2020
6.New out-of-custody hearingsSeptember 28, 2020

(ii) Election re Mode of Trial

If an accused person has not made their election regarding mode of trial, the defence is encouraged to have the accused make their election by written submission in accordance with s. 536.2 of the Criminal Code.  A written Notice of Election prepared by the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Services Division that may be completed and filed with the Court is available on the Ontario Court of Justice website.  The Notice of Election may be signed electronically and may be filed with the Court by attaching it when the Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form is submitted.

If an accused person is entitled to an election but has not yet made their election, the accused person will be required to be present by remote appearance at their next court date to be put to their election, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official.

(iii) Revised Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form

In response to feedback received, the Court has revised the Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form that is used to schedule hearings.  Going forward, counsel should complete and submit the revised version of the Form (dated August 12, 2020) to the Trial Coordinator’s office.

Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Forms that have already been completed and submitted using the previous version of the Form do not need to be resubmitted.

Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of electronically submitting documents at the Ontario Court of Justice (updated August 10, 2020)

The Ontario Court of Justice has modified procedures and practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has temporarily restricted the type of proceedings that may be brought before the Court.  For detailed information about these temporary procedures and practices, including details about which types of matters the Court is currently hearing, please refer to the family and criminal notices on the COVID-19 Notices and Updates page on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

To support physical distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the number of people who can attend in a courthouse remains limited.  To reduce the need for in-person attendances at the courthouse to file documents, court filings can be submitted electronically. If you are unable to file documents electronically, contact your local courthouse by email or telephone to find out about other options that are available or information about attending your local courthouse. In criminal cases, legal professionals (counsel and agents authorized under s. 800(2) of the Criminal Code) are required to file documents by email, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official.

Instructions for filing documents or submitting requests by email are as follows:

FILING REQUESTS OR DOCUMENTS BY EMAIL FOR CRIMINAL MATTERS

  1. Documents and requests shall be sent by email to the appropriate courthouse. For a list of email addresses, see Ontario Court of Justice – Courthouse Email Addresses.
  2. In order to ensure your request is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information, unless otherwise specified in a Practice Direction or Notice issued by the Court:
    • LEVEL OF COURT (OCJ)
    • TYPE OF MATTER (Criminal)
    • INFORMATION NUMBER or ACCUSED NAME
    • TYPE OF DOCUMENT (Bring Forward Request, Trial Application to Exclude Evidence, Other Request)
  3. The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:
    1. The Information file number (if known)
    2. name and date of birth of the accused and charge(s)
    3. details of next scheduled court appearance (date, courtroom and nature of appearance)
      Note:  if unsure of the next court date, include details of the last scheduled court appearance
    4. if a particular judicial officer is seized with the matter, the name of the officer.
    5. nature of filing / request (e.g. bring forward request, probation variation)
    6. list and description of documents attached (note: attachments cannot exceed 35MB)
    7. confirmation of service, setting out when and how any other party was served.
    8. name, role (i.e. lawyer, agent, Crown, defence, etc.,) and contact information of the person submitting the request (email and phone number).
  4. Delivery/receipt of a document by email is not confirmation that the document has been accepted by the Court for filing.
  5. Requests to bring an out of custody criminal matter before the Court are subject to approval by a judicial official. If a hearing is scheduled, the lawyer/party will be contacted and provided with details regarding the hearing, including arrangements for remote attendance, e.g. attendance by telephone.
  6. If a hearing is not required (for example, an application to vary a probation condition that the judge decides in chambers), the party/counsel who submits the request and/or documents will be contacted and advised of the Court’s determination.

Legal Resources and Assistance

For information about resources that may be able to provide you with legal assistance in connection with your matter, please refer to the criminal and family notices on the COVID-19 Notices and Updates page on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

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 (Published 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.  

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 (Phase One) was 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 across the province, 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, including the courthouses to which this Notice applies, 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 by the Ministry is available on the following website:  COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms.

The 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. Based on your answers, you will be told whether or not you can enter. If you cannot enter, you will be told what to do next. You can complete the online screening before going to court:  https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening. You must show the result as you enter.  If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

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.

1.    Resumption of Trials and Preliminary Inquiries on August 17, 2020 at College Park, Kenora, Timmins and Peterborough and August 24, 2020 in Burlington

The Court will resume hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in Kenora, Timmins, Peterborough and Burlington on the following dates (the “trial / preliminary inquiry resumption date”):

Location(s)Trials and Preliminary Inquiries will Resume
College Park, Kenora, Peterborough, TimminsAugust 17, 2020
BurlingtonAugust 24, 2020

All trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody will proceed as scheduled at these locations starting on the date listed above.

All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

While court operations are expanding at these locations, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remain restricted in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

In light of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance, and in light of the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties take reasonable steps to ensure matters scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry are ready to proceed.

Sections a to d, below, apply to trials and preliminary inquiries at these courthouse locations.

a.    Filing of Pre-trial and Trial Applications

All application materials in relation to trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to proceed on or after, August 17, 2020 (College Park, Kenora, Peterborough and Timmins) or August 24, 2020 (Burlington), should be filed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Materials can be filed electronically in accordance with s. 5.2 of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

b.    Witnesses

All witnesses who have been subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled on or after August 17, 2020 (College Park, Kenora, Peterborough and Timmins) or August 24, 2020 (Burlington), must attend court on the scheduled date unless the party who subpoenaed them advises that their attendance is no longer necessary.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email or telephone.

c.    COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Judge and until further notice, all cases currently scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry on or after August 17, 2020 (College Park, Peterborough and Timmins) or August 24, 2020 (Burlington) will be spoken to approximately one week before the scheduled hearing date before a judge presiding in a special COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court.

The purposes of the Trial Readiness Courts are:

  1. to confirm that trials or preliminary inquiries are ready to proceed on their hearing date; and
  2. to assign cases into courtrooms that are open and operating.

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Justice, cases will appear in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week of the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry. Where the Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court will be held on Tuesday. Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of August 17-21 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled the week of August 10.

For details about the Trial Readiness Court in each court location, including scheduling information, see COVID 19 Trial Readiness Court.

All appearances in Trial Readiness Court will be by audioconference or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judge.

Accused persons who are represented by counsel do not need to be present for the Trial Readiness Court.

All counsel who speak to matters in Trial Readiness Court must be fully informed about the case and have authority to make binding decisions regarding the conduct of the case.

Accused persons who are not represented by counsel are to attend Trial Readiness Court by audioconference, or videoconference where applicable, to speak to their matter.

There is no need for counsel or accused persons to file a “bring forward” request or application to have their case addressed.

The Court expects the Crown and defence counsel will have communicated before Trial Readiness Court to identify and discuss any issues that may affect the scheduling or conduct of the hearing including, but not limited to:

  • whether, and on what basis, a party may be bringing an application to adjourn the case at the Trial Readiness Court appearance;
  • any witnesses or parties who may be unable to attend court due to health concerns, public health orders or COVID-19 symptoms or other issues;
  • whether any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) will be conducted using remote technology.

The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court may hear and determine any application(s) regarding the scheduling or conduct of the hearing that the judge is satisfied should be determined in advance of the trial or preliminary inquiry date.  The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court will not hear applications that are reserved to the trial judge or in respect of a continuing trial or preliminary inquiry with which a different judge is seized.

Where the parties indicate a matter is going to resolve, the matter will be scheduled into a resolution court on or before the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry date, where feasible.

d.    Other Court Proceedings will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquiries will be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody, remand and case management (set date) appearances.

Attendance in courtrooms for criminal matters other than trials and preliminary inquiries will continue to be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

The Court is actively working to expand opportunities for counsel and parties to attend court proceedings using remote technology.  Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will continue to be announced on the court’s website.

COVID-19 Trial Readiness Courts

**Except as otherwise specified below, cases will be spoken to in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week in which the case is scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry.  Where Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court is held on Tuesday.  For example, trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled for the week of August 17 to 21 will be spoken to in trial readiness court on Monday, August 10.  Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of August 24 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled for Monday, August 17

LocationDetails
KenoraNo formal trial readiness court – trial readiness will be canvassed in individual cases by the Local Administrative Judge.
TimminsCourt date:  One week before scheduled hearing date starting August 17, 2020
Court time:  9:30 am (all matters)
Audioconference:  1-866-633-0848 Conference ID# 9262443
PeterboroughCourt date:  Tuesday of the week before starting August 11
Court time: 9 am (all matters)
Audioconference: 1-866-633-0848  Conference ID# 2803646
Note:  Combined with the Lindsay Trial Readiness Court
BurlingtonCourt date:  Monday of the week before starting August 10
Court time: 2 pm (all matters)
Audioconference: 1-866-633-0848 Conference ID# 2724745
College ParkCourt Date: Monday of the week before
Court Time: Tiered list based on date of trial / preliminary inquiry
9 amMonday
10 amTuesday
11 amWednesday
1 pmThursday
2 pmFriday
Audioconference: Local (416) 212-8013, Toll-free: 1-866-633-1033
Conference ID# 6293233

COVID-19: Practice Direction Authorizing Alternate Form of Appearance where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed (August 6, 2020)

 The following Practice Direction is issued under Rules 4.5 and 5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

1.    Alternate Form of Appearance Where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed on Behalf of an Accused Person

  1. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to limit the number of people who are required to attend a courthouse, the Court encourages accused persons to file designations of counsel, including Enhanced Designations of Counsel. Accused persons who are represented by counsel and who have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel, as described in Part 2 below, may have their matters adjourned, without the accused personally appearing, in accordance with the procedure set out in this Practice Direction and in accordance with Rule 4.5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.
  2. This Practice Direction applies to criminal proceedings, including proceedings under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
  3. Nothing in this Practice Direction prevents an accused person from appearing for a proceeding by designated counsel pursuant to a designation prepared in accordance with this Practice Direction or any other form of designation of counsel under s. 650.01 of the Criminal Code.
  4. The timelines for delivering and filing notices or documents set out in this Practice Direction may be shortened or lengthened by direction of a judicial official.

2.    Content of the Enhanced Designation of Counsel

  1. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of ss. 650.01(1) and (2) of the Criminal Code, an Enhanced Designation of Counsel will include the following:
    1. The accused person will confirm and acknowledge that:
      1. they have provided up-to-date contact information (address, telephone number and email (where applicable)) to counsel and they agree to remain in regular contact with counsel and promptly advise counsel of any change in contact information;
      2. upon the filing of the Enhanced Designation of Counsel by their counsel, their matter will be addressed and adjourned by the Court, without them personally appearing; they waive their right to be present before the court when their case is addressed and adjourned; and they specifically agree the court will continue to have jurisdiction over them in such circumstances and that they are required to attend future court date(s) even though the matter was addressed and adjourned in their absence;
      3. if the retainer is terminated for any reason, they will attend before the Court at the date and time provided by counsel to address their case, unless they have retained new counsel who has advised that they will appear on the accused person’s behalf.
    2. Counsel will confirm and acknowledge that:
      1. if the retainer is terminated for any reason during the adjournment period described in Part 4 of this Practice Direction, counsel will promptly notify the Crown and the Court. In addition, counsel will:
        • promptly arrange to have the matter brought forward to be addressed before the Court;
        • advise the accused that the accused needs to attend court on the next court date; and
        • attend on the next court date personally or by agent,
      2. unless new counsel has confirmed in writing that they are retained and are prepared to attend on the next date and become counsel of record. (For clarity, these obligations may supplement, but do not reduce or replace, counsel’s obligations any time they seek to withdraw as counsel, as set out in Rule 3.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Rule 2.4 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.)
  2. The Enhanced Designation of Counsel should also set out the accused person’s next court appearance and the date that the accused person’s case will be adjourned to, calculated in accordance with paragraph 16, below.
  3. The Enhanced Designation of Counsel may authorize lawyers and law students who are members of designated counsel’s law firm and any properly authorized agent of designated counsel to appear on the accused person’s behalf.
  4. Where the accused person has more than one Information before the court, the designation should specify the Information or Information(s) to which it applies by referring to the Information number(s), specific charge(s) or offence date(s).
  5. sample Enhanced Designation of Counsel that fulfills these requirements is available on the Ontario Court of Justice website. Counsel are welcome to use this sample or create their own version of the Enhanced Designation of Counsel that meets the requirements of this section.
  6. Section 650.01 of the Criminal Code requires that the Enhanced Designation of Counsel be signed by the accused person and designated counsel. The accused person and designated counsel may use an electronic signature, as described in s. 5.4 of the COVID-19 Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

3.    Limited Retainer Designation of Counsel

  1. Designations of counsel, including Enhanced Designations of Counsel, may expressly limit the scope of the retainer and may specify counsel is only retained to represent the accused through the case management / intake phase, i.e. up to the setting of a trial or preliminary inquiry date. Where a designation is so limited, defence counsel does not need to apply to be removed from the court record at the end of the case management / intake phase. Unless defence counsel expressly agrees otherwise, any trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled where a limited designation of counsel is filed shall be deemed to be set on a “with or without counsel” basis.
  2. Where counsel intends to set a trial or preliminary inquiry date on a “with or without counsel” basis, counsel must communicate this to the trial coordinator at the time the trial date is being selected.
  3. Where a trial date is being set on a “with or without counsel” basis, the accused must attend court (either in person or by remote technology) when the trial or preliminary hearing date is formally set. The accused person will also be required to appear before court (preferably using remote technology) not less than ten (10) weeks prior to the trial or preliminary hearing date for a trial confirmation hearing.
  4. The limited designation of counsel must include an acknowledgement by the accused person that they understand the limited retainer and they will be required to attend court as set out in the paragraph above. In addition, the designation counsel must clearly indicate in the document title that it is a limited retainer designation.

4.    Adjournment of Approximately 12 Weeks Without the Accused Person Personally Attending

  1. Where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel is filed, the accused person’s matter will be adjourned by the Court, to the date that is calculated in accordance with paragraph 16, without the accused or counsel personally appearing in court, in accordance with Rule 4.5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.
  2. The accused person’s matter will be adjourned to the date 12 weeks from the date of their next appearance, provided that date conforms with the courthouse schedule for criminal case management appearances. If an appearance 12 weeks away would not fall on the appropriate case management date, the matter will, instead, be adjourned to the appropriate case management date that is approximately 12 weeks away from the date of their next appearance. No adjournment, however, may be for a period of more than three months.
  3. The Enhanced Designation of Counsel must be delivered electronically (by email) to the Crown and filed electronically (by email) with the Court no later than three (3) business days before the next scheduled court date. The subject of the email should indicate the word “Designation”, the name of the accused person and the next court date, e.g. “DESIGNATION, John DOE, September 1, 2020”. Where the accused person is a young person, the subject of the email should indicate YCJA and the initials of the young person, rather than their full name, e.g. ““DESIGNATION (YCJA), J.D., September 1, 2020”. The body of the email should contain the full name and date of birth of the accused person, details regarding the next court appearance (date, time, courtroom, courthouse) and defence counsel’s name, contact information and email address.
  4. If the Crown takes the position the Enhanced Designation of Counsel does not comply with the requirements of this Practice Direction, the Crown should contact defence counsel and advise of their position in advance of the court appearance, wherever feasible.
  5. The accused person’s matter will be addressed in court on the scheduled date, without the accused person or their counsel being present. If the Crown takes the position the Enhanced Designation of Counsel does not comply with the requirements of this Practice Direction, the Crown is to advise the Court at this appearance.
  6. Where the Court is satisfied the Enhanced Designation of Counsel complies with the requirements of this Practice Direction, the case will be adjourned to the date identified on the designation without the accused personally appearing in court.
  7. Where the Court is satisfied the Enhanced Designation of Counsel otherwise complies with the requirements of this Notice but there is a problem with the adjournment date identified on the designation (for example, the date falls on a statutory holiday or does not fall on the appropriate case management date), the case will be adjourned to an appropriate date without the accused personally appearing in court. The Crown will advise defence counsel of the revised adjournment date.
  8. Where the Court is of the opinion the Enhanced Designation of Counsel may not comply with the requirements of this Notice, the matter will be adjourned for approximately one to two weeks with a bench warrant with discretion and the Crown will contact defence counsel and advise about the problem and the next court date so the issue can be addressed on or before the next court appearance. If the issue regarding the Enhanced Designation of Counsel is resolved before the next court appearance and a valid Enhanced Designation of Counsel is before the Court, the bench warrant with discretion will be rescinded or deemed executed at the next court appearance and the case will be adjourned to the date identified on the designation without the accused or counsel personally appearing in court).
  9. The Court encourages defence counsel to file Enhanced Designations of Counsel even though some of the steps toward completion of the case management / intake phase, as described in Part 5 below, have already been completed. In such circumstances, counsel are expected to make best efforts to complete the case management / intake phase at the earliest reasonable opportunity, rather than necessarily using the full adjournment period to do so.
  10. If all steps toward completion of the case management / intake phase have been completed prior to the end of the adjournment period and the matter is proceeding to a trial or preliminary inquiry, counsel are encouraged to select a date through the Trial Coordinator’s office, which may be formally set on the next court appearance. Alternatively, counsel are encouraged to bring the matter forward so that it can be resolved or otherwise addressed before the Court, using the procedure set out in Part 6 of this notice.

5.    Obligation of Crown and Defence Counsel to Move the Case Forward During Adjournment Period

  1. During the period of adjournment under Part 4 of this Notice and any extension thereof pursuant to Part 7 of this Notice, the Crown and defence counsel shall make best efforts to move the case forward, within the time period of the adjournment and/or extension, to completion of the case management / intake phase, including the following:
    1. The Crown will
      1. promptly screen the case and provide meaningful initial disclosure to defence counsel,
      2. respond promptly to disclosure requests;
    2. Defence counsel will
      1. make diligent efforts to obtain and review disclosure
      2. promptly advise the Crown’s office of any additional outstanding disclosure and be diligent in following up on any outstanding disclosure;
    3. Both the Crown and defence counsel will work cooperatively to complete the following at the earliest reasonable opportunity:
      1. schedule and conduct a Crown pre-trial meeting;
      2. where required or otherwise appropriate, schedule and conduct a judicial pre-trial;
      3. where the matter is resolving, schedule and proceed with the resolution including, where appropriate, bringing the matter forward in accordance with Part 6; and
      4. where the matter is proceeding to trial or preliminary inquiry, select a trial or preliminary inquiry date through the Trial Coordinator’s office, which may be formally set at the accused person’s next court date.
  2. If issues arise that are expected to interfere with the steps described above being completed within the adjournment period, counsel will arrange to have the matter brought before the Court by either scheduling a judicial pre-trial or bringing the matter forward in accordance with Part 6 of this Practice Direction to address these issues.

6.    Bringing a Matter Forward

  1. Any matter adjourned in accordance with Part 4 of this Practice Direction may be brought forward at any time to be addressed before the Court.
  2. The request to bring a matter forward must be in writing. Where counsel agree on a bring forward date, the request is to be filed electronically with the Court by either defence counsel or the Crown at least 3 business days before the date. Where counsel are unable to agree on a bring forward date, the request must be brought on at least 7 days written notice to the other party and filed electronically with the Court.

7.    Extension of Adjournment

  1. The adjournment period set out in Part 4 may be extended once for an additional four weeks upon the joint request of the Crown and defence counsel.
  2. Provided the written request for an extension of adjournment is filed with the court at least three (3) days before the next scheduled court date, the accused person’s matter will be adjourned to a date four (4) weeks from their scheduled court date by the presiding judicial official without the accused or counsel personally appearing in court. If an appearance 4 weeks away would not fall on the appropriate case management date, the matter will, instead, be adjourned to the appropriate case management date that is approximately 4 weeks away from the date of their scheduled court date and Crown counsel will advise defence counsel of the revised date.

8.    Court Record

  1. The Enhanced Designation of Counsel and any adjournment extension request will be filed with the court and form part of the court record.

9.    Cases Involving Co-Accused

  1. Defence counsel may file an Enhanced Designation of Counsel in a case involving co-accused, even though a co-accused has not yet retained counsel or the co-accused’s counsel has not filed an enhanced designation. Upon filing of the enhanced designation, the accused person’s matter will be adjourned in accordance with Part 4 of this Practice Direction, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official.
  2. The Court expects that Crown and defence counsel will work cooperatively with one another, and with any unrepresented accused person, to move the matter forward, such as coordinating scheduling judicial pre-trials and selecting trial or preliminary inquiry dates. This is particularly important if one or more co-accused is in custody.

10. Paralegals Appearing as Authorized Agents Under s. 800 of the Criminal Code

  1. The procedure outlined above may be used by paralegals representing accused persons in connection with summary conviction Criminal Code offences (including hybrid offences in which the Crown has elected to proceed summarily) on which they are authorized to appear as agent under ss. 800 and 802.1(c) of the Criminal Code. The paralegal may file an “enhanced appointment of authorized agent for summary conviction matters”, by preparing and adapting the Enhanced Designation of Counsel described in Part 2 of this Practice Direction.
  2. Where the Crown has indicated on a charge screening form that the Crown will be electing to proceed summarily, the enhanced appointment of authorized agent may be filed with the Court in anticipation of the Crown electing to proceed summarily at the next scheduled appearance. If the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction when the accused person’s matter is addressed in court on the scheduled date, the matter will be adjourned, without the accused person or their counsel being present, in accordance with the procedure set out in Part 4 of this Practice Direction. If the Crown does not elect to proceed by summary conviction on the next court date, the matter will be adjourned for approximately two weeks with a bench warrant with discretion and the Crown will contact the paralegal to advise so that the issue can be addressed on the next court date.

Dated at Toronto this 6th day of August 2020.

Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve

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

This Notice provides an update regarding criminal case management appearances in the Ontario Court of Justice by accused persons who are out of custody.  Further information about criminal proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including the definition of “case management appearances”, is available in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Although the Ontario Court of Justice has resumed hearing trials and preliminary inquiries at a limited number of courthouses, the number of people who may be present in the courthouse and in the courtroom remains restricted in order to comply with health and safety precautions and maintain safe physical distancing.  For this reason, in-person attendances for criminal court case management appearances can not currently be accommodated.

The Court has been actively working to adopt technology that will allow accused persons and/or counsel to attend criminal case management appearances using remote technology. 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 implementing virtual criminal case management courts at other court locations later in August.

Case management appearances by accused persons who are in custody will continue to be conducted using remote technology as they have been since March 2020.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

1)    Ottawa and Kitchener – Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts Pilot Launching Monday August 10, 2020

Commencing Monday August 10, 2020, criminal case management court appearances for out of custody accused will resume at Ottawa and Kitchener using remote technology.

Beginning Monday August 10, 2020, counsel and accused persons who are out of custody will be able to attend for criminal case management appearances in Kitchener and Ottawa by audioconference (telephone) or videoconference using Zoom.

Criminal case management appearances will be conducted by remote appearance (audioconference or videoconference) only.  If you have a case management criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice in Kitchener or Ottawa, do not attend court in person.

Details regarding the pilot in Kitchener and Ottawa, including information about how counsel and accused persons may connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference, will be published the week of August 4, 2020.

Criminal case management appearances in Ottawa and Kitchener before the pilot begins on August 10, 2020 will continue to be automatically adjourned, in the absence of the accused, as described in section 4.3a of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

2)    Criminal Case Management Court Appearances in Other Court Locations

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, described in section 4.3a of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, will be extended to August 21, 2020, at court locations across Ontario except Ottawa and Kitchener.

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice, on or before August 21, 2020, in a location other than Ottawa or Kitchener, do not attend court.  The court will adjourn your matter without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion”, which will require you to attend court on the new date.

To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.

3)    Accused persons who are in custody

Criminal case management appearances for accused persons who are in custody will continue to be conducted by remote appearances (audioconference or videoconference), in accordance with the procedures in place since March 2020.

Notice to the Profession re: Justice Participants Unable to attend In-Court Hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (July 21, 2020)

On July 6, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice resumed in-court hearings in certain court locations following health and safety recommendations from public health officials which were implemented by the Ministry of the Attorney General. Each week, further courtrooms are re-opening across the province after the recommended health and safety measures are implemented, allowing more matters to be heard in courthouses.

The Ontario government has more information about the reopening of courtrooms, the health and safety measures put in place, the requirement to self-screen before entry, and the expectations of all court users, which is accessible here.

I also recognize that some counsel, parties and justice participants may be uncomfortable attending a courthouse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some may have underlying health conditions, or live with someone who does, or have childcare issues arising from the pandemic. Many may not wish to disclose personal health information. Accordingly, I have encouraged all judicial officers, when exercising their authority, to be flexible and to respect the various reasons why an individual may not be comfortable attending a courthouse in person. The feasibility of a virtual hearing is to be explored, when requested. Similarly, I encourage counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings are made by opposing counsel or parties.

Requests to have matters heard virtually or in writing – rather than in-person – should be made to the judge or local trial coordinator at the time the hearing is requested and before it is scheduled. Last minute requests to reschedule matters places unnecessary, additional burdens on trial coordinators, and may prejudice or inconvenience opposing counsel, parties and witnesses.

I thank you for your cooperation.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice

COVID-19 Notices and Updates (Updated July 10, 2020)

Update (July 6, 2020): In-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries and in-person family trials, summary judgment motions, and other in-person family matters will be resuming at Guelph on July 7, 2020.  The resumption of in -person hearings at the College Park (Toronto) courthouse has been delayed; in-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries will not resume at College Park on July 6, 2020.  For more information, see

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 (Published 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 (Published July 4, 2020)


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 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

For more information about criminal case management appearances; and setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates, please see Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates

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

The Ontario Court of Justice is using the Zoom video conferencing platform for some remote hearings.  You will receive instructions from the Court on whether your hearing will be held using Zoom.  You can download Zoom at https://zoom.us/ free of charge.

User tutorials for Zoom are available at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials.

You may wish to read Best Practices for Remote Hearings, prepared by the joint E-Hearings Task Force of The Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Bar Association, the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, and the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.

Criminal Matters

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

Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings as of July 6, 2020 (Published June 17, 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 (Published 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 (Published July 4, 2020)

COVID-19 Trial Readiness Courts

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)

Summary of changes / updates to the COVID-19 Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (updated June 1, 2020)

Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused (updated July 2, 2020)

Note: The criminal case adjournment dates are subject to change. Please check this website regularly for any updates.

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)

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Bail

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Police Undertaking

Provincial Offences Act Matters

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (Updated July 2, 2020)

Order pursuant to s. 85 of the POA extending certain timelines (March 15, 2020)

General

Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing documents at the Ontario Court of Justice (updated June 17, 2020)

Notice Regarding Public and Media Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Revised July 4, 2020)

Notice to Profession – Toronto

Toronto Expansion Protocol for Court Hearings During COVID-19 Pandemic

Notice of amendments:

Effective July 10, 2020

  • Part A is amended and its title changed from “Criminal Matters” to “Criminal Matters Upon Resumption of Operations”.

Effective June 29, 2020:

  • Section A.7.3(a) (Criminal Court Operations as of July 6, 2020 – 361 University Avenue) is added;

Urgent matters will continue to be heard, as provided in the Chief Justice’s May 13, 2020 Notice to the Profession.

The Toronto Region of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) has further expanded the matters which it will hear virtually in an ongoing effort to facilitate timely access to justice.

This revised Notice to the Profession provides updated guidance to assist justice system participants and the public in navigating available SCJ virtual proceedings in the Toronto Region.

The Toronto Region will continue to monitor the situation and, if possible, will further expand the types of matters and hearings that will be heard during these extraordinary times.

A. Criminal Matters Upon Resumption of Operations

A.1 GUIDING PRINCIPLES

In order to ensure the safety of all justice participants, upon the resumption of court operations, every measure possible will be taken to reduce the number of people who physically attend the courthouse each day.

Lawyers and accused persons should not attend the courthouse in person unless their physical presence is required. Generally, no lawyers or accused persons should attend court in person except for a trial or for a pre-trial application or motion in which viva voce evidence is called or for an application that cannot be heard remotely because it is required to be in camera.

No person shall attend the courthouse for any purpose if that person is experiencing symptoms of COVID -19 or if that person has recently been exposed to COVID-19. Any justice participant who would otherwise be required to attend court in person but is unable to do so because of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure shall call 416 327 5558 and leave a voicemail message. The message must provide contact information in order to allow the court to contact the justice participant and to reschedule the appearance.

There will be COVID-19 screening in effect at the entry to the courthouse and physical distancing and other precautionary measures within the courthouse. All persons attending the courthouse should follow the directions regarding physical distancing, masks and hand hygiene as posted in the courthouse.

Water fountains will not be operating. Justice participants should bring a personal water bottle.

A.2- GENERAL

(i) Communication with the trial coordinators

Most communications to arrange dates for trials, judicial pre-trials and applications will occur by email. In e-mail communications with the trial coordinators, Counsel should put, in the subject line, the name of the accused person and the nature of the request (eg. Trial date, JPT, application date).

(ii) Interpreters

  1. If an interpreter is required for any scheduled remote appearance, Crown Counsel/the Federal Crown or Counsel for the defendant shall advise the trial coordinator.
  2. Counsel requiring the interpreter shall advise of the language, time and date of the proceeding.
  3. The trial coordinator shall advise the Registrar’s Office so that arrangements can be made for the interpreter to be available.

(iii) Serving and filing documents

The protocols in place from March to June 2020 will continue apply upon resumption of in person proceedings. See the following link for filing in criminal matters: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/consolidated-notice/#2_Filings_in_Criminal_Matters

(iv) Reference to ‘Admin Crown’.

Wherever reference is made to the ‘Admin Crown’ this term is to be interpreted as the Admin Crown or their designate.

(v) Judges Signing documents

Pursuant to s.3.1(2) of the Criminal Code, the clerk of the court may sign orders or other writings on behalf of the presiding judge.

A.3 MATTERS TO BE HEARD IN PERSON

(i) Trials – Presumptively in-person

Counsel, accused persons and witnesses shall attend in person for all scheduled trial dates on and after July 6th 2020, unless otherwise directed by the Court. If the matter must proceed as a jury trial it will be adjourned until after September 1st, 2020.

(ii) Pre-trial Applications

Counsel, accused persons and witnesses shall attend in person for all scheduled pre-trial application dates on and after July 6th 2020, unless otherwise directed by the court. As set out in paragraphs  A.4 (iv) and (v)   below, if agreed between counsel, an in person pretrial application may be converted to a remote hearing.

A.4 MATTERS THAT WILL CONTINUE TO BE HEARD REMOTELY

(i) Judicial Pre-trials (JPTs)

All JPTs will continue to be heard remotely, by audioconference or videoconference.

(a) Where the accused person is represented by counsel, the following procedure applies:

For Matters prosecuted by the Provincial Crown

  1. Within 2 business days following committal, after consultation with defence, the Crown, through the administrative Crown or their designate, will book a JPT using the shared Microsoft Outlook calendar.
  2. Crowns should prepare a Form 17 at least 10 days before the JPT and send it to all defence counsel in Word Format.
  3. Defence counsel should complete the Form 17 and return it to the Crown at least 5 days before the JPT in Word and PDF format.
  4. The Administrative Crown will post the Form 17 in Word and PDF and other relevant documents to the Shared Outlook File for the JPT.
  5. The judge conducting the JPT may annotate the Form 17 or prepare a Form 18.

For matters prosecuted by PPSC

  1. Within 2 business days following committal, the prosecutor or their designate, after consultation with the defence will book a JPT and advise the trial co-ordinators by telephone or email[1]. Federal judicial pre-trials will be scheduled on Wednesdays.
  2. Crowns should prepare a Form 17 at least 10 days before the JPT and send it to all defence counsel in Word Format.
  3. Defence counsel should complete the Form 17 and return it to the Crown at least five days before the JPT in Word and PDF format. The Crown will send the Form 17 in Word and PDF by email to the trial coordinator.
  4. The judge conducting the JPT may annotate the Form 17 or prepare a Form 18.

(b) Where the accused person is self-represented the following procedure applies:

  1. Where an accused person is self-represented, the judicial pre-trial will be scheduled at the first appearance of the accused in Superior Court. The JPT will be conducted on the record by audioconference or videoconference on the date agreed upon.

(ii)  Administrative Pre-trial Appearances in the Superior Court – “Practice Court”[2]) – On and after July 13th 2020

(a) Scheduling First Appearances

  1. The first appearance of an accused person in the Superior Court should be scheduled for the fourth week after committal.
  2. If the case is prosecuted by the Downtown Crown’s office, the matter should be scheduled for a Monday at 9 am.
  3. If the matter is prosecuted by the Scarborough Crown’s office or Guns and Gangs, it should be scheduled for a Tuesday at 9 am.
  4. If the matter is prosecuted by the PPSC or DOJ it should be scheduled for a Wednesday at 9 am.
  5. If the matter is prosecuted by North York or Etobicoke, it should be scheduled for a Friday at 9 am.
  6. If there is a statutory holiday on the day when a matter would normally be scheduled for a first appearance, it may be scheduled two weeks after the JPT or it may be scheduled on the Thursday of the week after the JPT.
  7. Where cases have already been scheduled before this Notice took effect, the matter will be addressed on the scheduled date by way of audio or video conference and adjourned to the next available date after the JPT and on the day of the week assigned to the relevant Crown’s office.

(b) Remote Attendance

  1. All administrative attendances are presumptively remote.
  2. Accused persons shall attend court by audioconference, videoconference or by designation of counsel.
  3. Persons in custody at the Toronto South Detention Centre, who are not appearing through counsel by designation, will attend at 9 am. Persons in custody at the Toronto East Detention Center, who are not appearing through counsel by designation, will attend at 11 am.
  4. The attendance of persons detained in other institutions will be arranged as needed.
  5. In addition to remand dates , the endorsement on the warrant of remand will also indicate the manner in which the accused person will re-attend: “by audioconference” or “by videoconference” or “in person” (in person appearances should be used only if the accused is required to attend for an application, case management, guilty plea or trial).
  6. Counsel for the Crown and counsel for the accused shall attend Practice Court by audioconference or videoconference.[3]

(c) Duty Counsel/Amicus

  1. There will be a duty counsel or amicus present to assist self-represented accused persons in joining the audio or videoconference[4] and to assist is addressing their matters.
  2. In order to increase efficiency, duty counsel/amicus will also be available to address matters on behalf of counsel. The contact details of the assigned duty counsel will be posted with the daily court list.
  3. Self-represented accused persons must contact the duty counsel/amicus before court and provide a telephone number where they can be reached for the hearing.

(d) Subsequent Administrative Appearances

  1. All subsequent administrative appearances, after the first appearance will be conducted in the same way: remotely, on the day designated for the particular Crown’s office.
  2. If there is a reason that the appearance must be in person, the case will be adjourned to 9 am in a courtroom that has been opened for trial matters.

(e) Designations

  1. Counsel are encouraged to file designations for accused persons both in and out of custody. If, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, counsel are unable to meet in person with a client to have a designation signed, the designation can be signed by counsel on behalf of the client if the client has so directed.
  2. A designation may provide for unlimited appearances by counsel or it may indicate that the lawyer is authorized to appear for limited purposes or for a limited time.
  3. Designations may be filed electronically with the court.

(f) Setting Trial Dates

  1. Trial dates should be arranged by all counsel with the trial co-ordinators following the JPT and before the appearance in court.
  2. Where a trial date is to be set, counsel will complete a trial confirmation form that will be filed electronically with the court. The trial confirmation form will set out the first available dates for trial for the court and counsel as well as the trial date agreed upon. A trial confirmation form must be completed for all cases including long trials.
  3. A trial confirmation date should also be agreed upon.
  4. Counsel should continue to contact the trial co-ordinators through the generic email.

(g) Re-elections and Short Applications (For example, Remove counsel, release exhibits)

  1. An accused person may re-elect their mode of trial at the Practice Court appearance.
  2. Short applications or matters that are on consent can be scheduled for Practice Court. Longer applications should be scheduled through the trial co-ordinators.

(h) Case Management

  1. Where a case requires case management, the matter may be held down until the end of the set dates or adjourned to another court, to a JPT, or to the afternoon session (2 pm) of Practice Court.

(iii)  Guilty Pleas

If an accused person who has an appearance in Practice Court to set a date wishes on that appearance to enter a guilty plea, the matter may be dealt with by the presiding judge or held down until all of the dates have been set or sent to another court or to the afternoon session (2 pm) of Practice Court.

Guilty pleas will continue to be scheduled in other courts on any day. For scheduled guilty pleas, the following protocol continues to apply:

  1. Counsel will contact the Admin Crown or their designate who will send an email to the Trial Coordinator’s Office using the generic email address CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and provide all the necessary documentation for the plea. The Admin Crown/designate will also file the documentation with the Criminal Intake Office at Toronto.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  2. The trial coordinator will schedule a date and time for the plea and advise all parties.
  3. If the accused is in custody, the Admin Crown/ designate will advise the institution so that the inmate can be available to participate in the teleconference or videoconference.
  4. The trial coordinator will provide the parties with the teleconference or videoconference information for the hearing.

(iv)  Pre-trial Applications in which no viva voce evidence is to be heard and which are not to be held in camera

Pre-trial applications in which no viva voce evidence is to be heard and which are not required to be held in camera will continue to be heard remotely. These applications can be booked through the trial coordinators’ office. No Judicial Pre-trial is required unless counsel request it. A date for the application can be arranged by contacting the trial coordinator through the generic email. The email should indicate that no viva voce evidence is to be called and that a remote hearing is sought.

(v) Pre-trial applications in which viva voce evidence is to be heard or which are to be held in camera

Pre-trial applications in which viva voce evidence is to be heard or which are to be held in camera may be heard remotely if the parties consent and agree on a procedure and a judicial pre-trial is held before the hearing is scheduled.

All materials are to be filed with the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and with the Criminal Intake Office at TORONTO.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.

(vi) Extradition Matters

All extradition matters will be heard remotely unless otherwise ordered.

(vii) Bail Reviews (including 90 day reviews)

All bail reviews will continue to be heard remotely. The following protocols will continue to apply:

(a) Consent releases

  1. Counsel will fill out the conditions of release and surety declaration (if applicable). These will be forwarded to the Admin Crown who will forward it to the registrar’s office at Toronto.SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca and to the Criminal Intake Office at Toronto.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  2. The trial coordinator will assign a judge and a registrar.
  3. The registrar will complete the paperwork and provide it to the parties for their signature. A written confirmation from counsel that they have ‘witnessed’ the sureties’ signatures will be accepted (whether it be over the phone, via Facetime, Skype, etc.).
  4. The release order will be sent to an available judge for approval and execution.
  5. The signed release order will be returned to the registrar who will provide it to the relevant institution and to the parties.

(b) Contested Hearings

  1. Counsel are to consult each other about the necessity of booking a time for a contested bail/90-day review. Self-represented defendants should be directed to Ms. Maija Martin of the Criminal Lawyers Association (Maija@martincriminaldefence.ca). If a self-represented defendant is identified by Mr. Hank Goody (A.C.A.) during the 90-day set date court on Thursdays, he will advise the Crown from that borough who will then advise Ms. Martin.
  2. Defence counsel will email materials to the Admin Crown to effect service. Defence counsel will include their availability and the time estimate for the hearing when serving the Crown.
  3. The Admin Crown will file all materials with the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.caand with the Criminal Intake Office at SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca. The Admin Crown will ensure any response materials are filed and copied to the defence.
  4. In the case of 90-day reviews, the trial coordinator will email Ms. Maria Ranaudo (Ranaudo@Ontario.ca) to determine if a bail hearing has been conducted. If there was no bail hearing, the trial coordinator will provide a date for the review hearing. If there was a bail hearing, Ms. Ranaudo will order the transcript by email copying the trial coordinator. An available judge will authorize the transcript order.
  5. The trial coordinator will provide a date and time for the hearing once defence materials have been served on the Admin Crown and filed (or fifteen (15) days after the transcript has been ordered in the case of 90-day reviews). Counsel must file all materials by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday if they wish to conduct the bail / bail review / 90-day review the following week.
  6. To avoid any unnecessary adjournments of scheduled hearing dates, the applicant is not permitted to file additional materials after the 10:00 a.m. deadline on Thursday unless the responding party consents. If possible, the responding party should file their materials at least two clear days prior to the scheduled hearing.
  7. The bail / bail review / 90-day reviews can be heard each day at 10:00 a.m. (four (4) possible slots) and 2:00 p.m. (four possible slots).
  8. The trial coordinator will provide the interested parties with the videoconference or teleconference information.
  9. Counsel should complete the “terms of release” form and circulate it to the other parties in advance of the hearing.
  10. Counsel should ensure they have a copy of the photo identification from the proposed sureties.
  11. The defendant need not be present for a bail review. A defendant is likely required to be present for a 90-day detention review (by audio or video) pursuant to s. 502.1(1) of the Criminal Code.
  12. If counsel wish for their client to be present, they must make arrangements with the appropriate Admin Crown who will contact the institution and make the request. The contact information is set out in above.
  13. If released, the registrar will complete the paper work, scan it and forward it to the parties for signature. As stated above, during this time, we are willing to accept a written confirmation from counsel that they have ‘witnessed’ the sureties’ signatures (whether it be over the phone via Facetime, Skype, etc.).
  14. The release documents will then be scanned and sent to the judge for signature and returned to the registrar. The paperwork will then be forwarded to the institution.

(c) Consent Bail Variations

  1. Counsel should fill out and sign the 10b Form available on the SCJ website under “Forms under the Criminal Proceeding Rules” and forward it to the appropriate Crown.
  2. The Crown will review and sign the form.
  3. Sureties sign the form either in the presence of counsel or counsel should provide written confirmation that they have “witnessed” the sureties’ signatures by video.
  4. The Crown will send the variation to an available judge for approval.
  5. The Registrars will be copied by emailing SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca and the criminal intake office at Toronto.SCJ.Criminalintake@ontario.ca.
  6. Once approved, the paperwork will be completed and provided to counsel.

(vii)  Summary Conviction Appeals/Extraordinary Remedies

(a) The Hearings

  1. All appeals will proceed remotely through secure videoconference or teleconference.
  2. Counsel opposed to having their appeal hearings heard remotely shall contact the Crown counsel assigned to the case as soon as possible and schedule a hearing with the trial coordinator so that they can make submissions as to why their case cannot be heard remotely.
  3. Any appellant currently required, by the terms of his current bail, to surrender into custody prior to the appeal hearing is not required to do so. That condition is varied to one which only requires a surrender into custody if their appeal is dismissed and they are subject to a custodial sentence.
  4. All judgments in appeals where the appellant/respondent is potentially liable to be returned to custody will be reserved until the autumn or such time as it is deemed safe to enter incarceration. All out of custody appellants required to attend the hearings in person are no longer required to do so.
  5. The hearings will be conducted either by video or telephone conferencing depending on the wishes of counsel.
  6. If the hearing is by videoconference and counsel wish to have their client present for the hearing, counsel should contact the court to request arrangements for attendance. Due to limited capacity, this may not be possible in all cases.

(b) Materials

    1. When filing summary conviction appeals and extraordinary remedy applications, counsel should file electronic copies of all factums, appeal books, books of authorities and other material to the court and opposing counsel. These materials should be sent to the SCA coordinators (Patricia.Mazurek@ontario.caCriminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and Toronto.SCJ.Criminalintake@ontario.ca) with the name of the case, file number and date of hearing.
    2. Counsel and self-represented appellants filing fresh Notices of Appeal and extraordinary remedy applications should file those materials electronically with the Crown SCA Coordinator, Wendy Sabean at Wendy.Sabean@ontario.ca. This will satisfy both service on the Crown and filing with the court.
    3. Where the appellant/applicant is the Attorney General, his or her agent, or was the informant or any party other than the defendant (the accused) in proceedings before the court/preliminary inquiry court, the notice of appeal/application shall be served by mail on each person in respect of whom the appeal/application is brought against unless there is counsel of record, in which case service will be effected by sending the notice electronically to counsel. The appellant/applicant shall send a courtesy copy of the notice mailed to the respondent electronically to counsel of record in the proceedings the appeal/application relates to, if there was counsel of record. Filing the notice with the court shall be done electronically by sending it to the SCA Coordinator and the Criminal Trial Office (Patricia.Mazurek@ontario.ca and Criminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca)
    4. Counsel launching the appeal or extraordinary motion must file electronic versions of the transcripts at trial. These transcripts are normally provided with the hard copies. However, if the e-copies were not obtained, the parties should contact the transcriptionist who prepared the hard copy and seek an electronic version for filing.
    5. If an electronic copy is not available, the hard copies must be filed with the court and arrangements will be made to transfer them to the assigned judge.

(c) Bail Pending Appeal/Stays

  1. Applications for bail pending appeal and extraordinary remedies are subject to the same procedure outlined in this protocol for bail reviews. Applications should be sent to the Crown SCA Coordinator, Wendy Sabean (Wendy.Sabean@ontario.ca) who will file the material electronically with the court. If the application is on consent, a draft Order shall accompany the material, which will be signed and returned to the Crown who will, in turn, forward a copy of the Order to the applicant.
  2. Draft orders should be filed in the Microsoft Word format (.docx) rather than a PDF version.
  3. If a bail/stay application is disputed, the Crown and defence counsel should discuss a date on which they would be available and contact the court to schedule a hearing.
  4. If the Applicant indicates that they wish to be present, arrangements will be made for them to have access to the teleconference call. If in custody, the Crown will contact the institution to provide the applicant with telephone access. If out of custody, defence counsel will make the necessary arrangements but shall not provide the secure number of the court to their client.

A.5 THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION TO BE USED:

TitleNameEmail Address
Toronto Criminal Trial CoordinatorsAnna Katsoulis, Christine Rusk and Elaine SakorafasCriminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@Ontario.ca
Criminal Lawyers AssociationMaija Martin[4]Maija@Martincriminaldefence.ca
Guns and GangsLiz NadeauElizabeth.Nadeau@Ontario.ca
Downtown TorontoMike CantlonMichael.Cantlon@Ontario.ca
Mary HumphreyMary.Humphrey@ontario.ca
Anna TenhouseAnnarachel.Tenhouse@Ontario.ca
ScarboroughJackie GarrityJackie.Garrity@Ontario.ca
North YorkAllison MacPhersonAllison.MacPherson@Ontario.ca
Metro WestSarah LeeceSarah.Leece@Ontario.ca
90-Day ReviewsHank GoodyHank.Goody@Ontario.ca
Summary Conviction AppealWendy SabeanWendy.Sabean@ontario.ca
Federal Crown – PPSCBrian Puddington

Chris Gruppuso

Brian.Puddington@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca

Chris.Gruppuso@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca

Federal Crown – Department of Justice (Extradition and MLAT)Christopher BundyChristopher.Bundy@justice.gc.ca
Registrars, Court StaffSusan JohnsonToronto.SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca
Court ReportersNatalie CesarioNatalie.Cesario@Ontario.ca

Regional Senior Judge
Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region


[1] The Admin Crowns may email the trial coordinator responsible for long/short trials directly rather than using the generic email box, if appropriate.

[2] A court reporter may not be necessary because the telephone conference lines used for the bail/90-day reviews will be recorded. It is an added precaution to ensure that the proceedings are recorded. The failure to have a court reporter present should not prevent the hearing from occurring.

[3] A court reporter may not be necessary because the telephone conference lines used for the bail/90-day reviews will be recorded. It is an added precaution to ensure that the proceedings are recorded. The failure to have a court reporter present should not prevent the hearing from occurring.

[4] Ms. Martin has agreed to assist any self-represented litigant or others requiring assistance during this time.

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

This Notice provides a further update regarding court operations in the Ontario Court of Justice, relating to (i) criminal case management appearances; and (ii) setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates.

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. The Court has previously announced that criminal trials and preliminary inquiries would resume in those courthouses on July 6, 2020: see Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice 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 attend the courthouse if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been advised by a public health official, a physician or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate. Please contact your lawyer or, if you do not have a lawyer, please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to seek direction.

On July 6, 2020, the Court will resume setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates, including rescheduling trials and preliminary inquiries that were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, using the procedure set out in part 2 of this Notice. In addition, 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.

The content of this notice will be incorporated into the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice prior to July 6, 2020.

Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan across the province, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

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. 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.

1. Criminal Case Management Appearances

a. Definition of “Case Management Appearances”

In this Notice, “case management appearances” include all criminal court appearances by accused persons who are out of custody, other than the following

  1. trials or preliminary inquires at court locations where the court resumed hearing trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020 (see Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice as of July 6, 2020)
  2. out of custody matters brought forward or scheduled for a resolution under s. 4.3b of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice; and
  3. urgent out of custody matters brought forward at the request of a party under s. 4.3c of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Case management appearances include first appearances, matters scheduled “to be spoken to” or to “set a date”, but do not include matters in which a new trial or preliminary inquiry date has been scheduled using the procedure set out in part 2 of this Notice, which will be addressed using the procedure set out in section 2c.

b. Extension of Automatic Adjournment of Criminal Case Management Court Appearances Involving Accused Persons not in Custody

If you have a case management criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice on or before July 31, 2020, do not attend court. The court will adjourn your matter without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion”, which will require you to attend court on the new date.

Although the Ontario Court of Justice has resumed hearing trials and preliminary inquiries at a limited number of courthouses, the number of people who may be present in the courthouse and in the courtroom remains restricted to maintain safe physical distancing. For this reason, in-person attendances for criminal court case management appearances can not currently be accommodated.

The Court is actively working to adopt technology and establish a procedure that will allow accused persons and/ or counsel to attend criminal case management appearances using remote technology. Further details about this will be provided shortly.

In the meantime, the automatic adjournment of criminal court appearances for accused persons who are not in custody, described in section 4.3a of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice will be extended to July 31, 2020.

All case management criminal court appearances up to July 31, 2020 involving accused persons who are not in custody will be adjourned, in the absence of the accused person, to a date approximately 10 weeks from the original date. To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment datesThese dates are subject to change. Please check back on this website before your next court date to confirm the date.

If you are unsure about the date of your next court appearance, whether you are required to attend court on that date, or whether you should be attending in person or by remote technology, please contact your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, please contact Legal Aid or contact the courthouse by email or telephone.

Note: This automatic adjournment does not apply to trial dates or preliminary inquiry dates scheduled to take place on or after July 6, 2020 at courthouses where the Court has resumed hearing trials and preliminary inquiries. If you have a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled to be heard in July, 2020, please refer to the Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice as of July 6, 2020 for more information.

The automatic adjournment does not apply to matters in which a new trial or preliminary inquiry date has been scheduled using the procedure set out in part 2 of this Notice. Those matters will be addressed in court using the procedure set out in section 2c

c. Steps to Move Cases Forward Without a Court Appearance

Although criminal case management court appearances are being adjourned in the absence of the accused due to the pandemic, the Court expects that the Crown, accused persons and defence counsel will take steps to move cases forward in ways that do not require a court appearance.

The Crown is expected to actively screen and monitor cases and to move cases forward by doing the following

  • screening files and providing initial disclosure, either directly to the accused person (if self-represented) or to defence counsel;
  • promptly responding to disclosure requests, whether from the accused person (if self-represented) or to defence counsel;
  • scheduling and conducting Crown pre-trials;
  • after a Crown pre-trial meeting has been held, scheduling and conducting a judicial pre-trial where required or otherwise appropriate
  • where the case is resolving without a trial, arranging to have the matter brought before the court for the resolution to be implemented under ss.. 4.3b and 4.3c of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.
  • where the matter is proceeding to a trial or preliminary inquiry, scheduling the trial / preliminary inquiry using the process set out in part 2 of this Notice; and
  • identifying cases that should be brought before the Court to be addressed before their next court date and making the appropriate arrangements to do so under s. 4.3c of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Defence counsel are expected to move their client’s case forward by doing one or more of the following:

Accused persons who do not have a lawyer should also be moving their case forward by doing one or more of the following:

For more information about criminal proceedings, please see the Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

If you have a lawyer and have questions about your case, please contact your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, and you have questions about your case or if you are unsure about what you should be doing about your case, you can contact Legal Aid Ontario to receive advice and assistance in connection with your case.

d. Bringing Cases Forward to Address Them Before the Court

Matters that have been adjourned can be brought forward to implement a resolution or to address an urgent issue, using the procedure set out in sections 4.3b and 4.3c of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

2. Setting Criminal Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates

The Court will resume setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates on July 6, 2020, using the procedure set out in this Notice.

a. Priority Order and Timeline for Scheduling Trials and Preliminary Inquiries

Because of the large number of cases that were adjourned and need to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, the need to prioritize within the Court’s caseload, and in order to have a fair and orderly scheduling process, the Court has established a priority order and timeline for the setting of trial and preliminary inquiry dates.

The scheduling of trials and preliminary inquiries will be done in the following priority order:

  1. In-custody continuations: Trial and preliminary inquiry continuations involving accused persons who are currently in custody that were scheduled to proceed between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 but were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this category, priority will be based on the previously scheduled continuation date.
  2. In-custody hearings adjourned due to COVID-19: Trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are currently in custody that were scheduled to begin between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 but were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this category, priority will be based on the previously scheduled trial / preliminary inquiry date.
  3. New in-custody hearings: Other trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are currently in custody, including hearings adjourned on or after July 6 2020 and hearings that were not previously adjourned and are seeking to set a first trial / preliminary inquiry date.
  4. Out-of-custody continuations: Trials and preliminary inquiry continuations involving accused persons who are currently not in custody that were scheduled to proceed between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 but were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this category, priority will be based on the previously scheduled continuation date.
  5. Out-of-custody hearings adjourned due to COVID-19: Trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are currently not in custody that were scheduled to begin sometime after March 16, 2020 but were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this category, priority will be based on the previously scheduled trial / preliminary inquiry date.
  6. New out-of-custody hearings: Other trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are currently not in custody, such as hearings that were not previously adjourned but are now seeking to set a first trial / preliminary inquiry date.

The scheduling of trials and preliminary inquiries will be done in accordance with the following timeline:

CategoryScheduling will begin no later than
1.In-custody continuationsJuly 6, 2020
2.In-custody hearings adjourned due to COVID-19July 7, 2020
Hearings adjourned March 16 – April 9July 7, 2020
Hearings adjourned April 14 – May 8July 9, 2020
Hearings adjourned May 11 – June 5July 14, 2020
Hearings adjourned June 8 – July 3July 16, 2020
3.New in-custody hearings and in-custody hearings adjourned on or after July 6July 21, 2020
4.Out-of-custody continuationsAugust 5, 2020
5.Out-of-custody hearings adjourned due to COVID-19To be announced
6.New out-of-custody hearingsTo be announced

These timelines apply province-wide and are needed to accommodate larger centres with a large number of hearings that need to be rescheduled. At the direction of the Regional Senior Judge, court locations that have completed scheduling within one category of cases may begin scheduling cases in the next category of cases before the date set out in this timeline.

Counsel are encouraged to prepare and submit Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form (described below) before the dates set out in these timelines in the event that scheduling in a court location begins earlier than the date set out in the timeline.

These timelines are also subject to change. Further details regarding the timeline and procedure for scheduling trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are out of custody, including procedures for self-represented accused persons, will be published shortly.

b. Procedure for Selecting Trial and Preliminary Dates

The setting of all trial and preliminary inquiry dates will be done remotely using a combination of an online form (the Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form) and a trial scheduling conference with the Trial Coordinator’s office.

Completion and submission of the online form

Defence counsel will complete the Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form and submit it to the Trial Coordinator’s office electronically, following the instructions on the form.

Defence counsel must also send a copy of the Scheduling Form to the appropriate Crown’s office by email.

If the matter is being prosecuted by an agent of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, counsel should also copy the agent, if known.

Trial scheduling conferences

After the Scheduling Form is received by the Trial Coordinator’s office, a trial scheduling conference will be held with the Crown, defence counsel and the Trial Coordinator attending.

The trial scheduling conference will be conducted remotely by video conference or teleconference. The Court is working with the Ministry of the Attorney General to secure licences to allow the trial scheduling conferences to be conducted by videoconference using Zoom. In the meantime, trial scheduling conferences will be conducted by audioconference. Counsel will receive audioconference details after the Trial Scheduling Form is submitted to the Trial Coordinator’s office.

The purpose of the scheduling conference is to review and confirm the content of the Trial Scheduling Form and to canvass available dates so that the Trial Coordinator can assign a trial / preliminary inquiry date.

Counsel attending the trial scheduling conference must be fully briefed on all matters that may affect the scheduling of the hearing, including

  • the time estimate for the trial
  • the available dates for counsel and witnesses (including police witnesses)
  • whether all or any portion of the hearing is proposed to be conducted by videoconference or audioconference; and
  • any other matters that may affect the scheduling of the trial (interpreters, child friendly room, pre-trial and trial applications, etc.)

The Trial Coordinator will record the selected trial / preliminary inquiry date, and all other dates canvassed, on the Trial Scheduling Form. The Trial Coordinator will record a trial confirmation date on the Trial Scheduling Form, which will be assigned in accordance with local protocols and procedures.

The Trial Coordinator will email the completed form to the Crown, defence counsel and the court clerk.

Further details regarding the timeline and procedure for scheduling trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are out of custody, including procedures for self-represented accused persons, will be published shortly.

Self-represented accused persons

Self-represented accused persons who are in custody will schedule their trial or preliminary inquiry dates in accordance with a procedure determined by a judicial official presiding. The procedure will be canvassed at the accused person’s next court appearance.

Details regarding the procedure for accused persons who are out of custody to schedule their trial or preliminary inquiry dates will be published shortly.

c. Setting Trial Dates and Preliminary Inquiry Dates at the Next Court Appearance

The trial / preliminary inquiry date will be formally set at the accused person’s next court appearance based on the date set out in the Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form, unless counsel objects and the presiding judicial, after hearing the submissions of counsel, directs otherwise.

The Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form will be attached to the Information and will form part of the court record, unless the presiding judicial official directs otherwise.

Where the accused person is self-represented, or the trial or preliminary inquiry is being set on a “with or without counsel” basis, the accused person must attend the court appearance at which the trial date is set.

Unless otherwise directed by a judicial official, all court appearances to set a trial date will be done using remote technology.

Setting the Trial Date in the Absence of the Accused Person where Represented by Counsel

Where the accused person is out of custody and the accused person is represented by counsel who is retained to conduct the trial or preliminary inquiry, the trial / preliminary inquiry date can be set at the accused person’s next court appearance without the accused person personally attending. The trial will be set, and the matter will be adjourned based on the Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form and the matter adjourned to the trial confirmation date without the accused person personally attending, in accordance with rule 4.5 of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

If defence counsel chooses to do so, they may attend at the next court appearance to set the trial date before the presiding judicial official. If either counsel or party intends to speak to the trial date on the next court date, counsel must notify the other party / counsel in advance so that both counsel are present and prepared to address the matter.

COVID-19 Notices and Updates (Updated July 2, 2020)

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

For more information about criminal case management appearances; and setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates, please see Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates

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 Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates (Published July 2, 2020)

Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings as of July 6, 2020 (Published June 17, 2020)

COVID-19 Trial Readiness Courts

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)

Summary of changes / updates to the COVID-19 Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (updated June 1, 2020)

Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused (updated July 2, 2020)

Note: The criminal case adjournment dates are subject to change. Please check this website regularly for any updates.

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)

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Bail

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Police Undertaking

Provincial Offences Act Matters

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (Updated July 2, 2020)

Order pursuant to s. 85 of the POA extending certain timelines (March 15, 2020)

General

Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing documents at the Ontario Court of Justice (updated June 17, 2020)

Notice Regarding Media and Public Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 15, 2020)

Notice to Profession – Toronto

Toronto Expansion Protocol for Court Hearings During COVID-19 Pandemic

Notice of amendments: Effective June 29, 2020:

  • Section A.7.3(a) (Criminal Court Operations as of July 6, 2020 – 361 University Avenue) is added;

Urgent matters will continue to be heard, as provided in the Chief Justice’s May 13, 2020 Notice to the Profession.

The Toronto Region of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) has further expanded the matters which it will hear virtually in an ongoing effort to facilitate timely access to justice.

This revised Notice to the Profession provides updated guidance to assist justice system participants and the public in navigating available SCJ virtual proceedings in the Toronto Region.

The Toronto Region will continue to monitor the situation and, if possible, will further expand the types of matters and hearings that will be heard during these extraordinary times.

A. Criminal Matters

A.1 Judicial Pre-Trials

  1. Judicial Pretrials (“JPT”) will be conducted on all criminal matters (both in and out of custody)
  2. Counsel (e., Crown Counsel, the Federal Crown and Counsel for the defendant) will communicate with each other to confirm that they wish to participate in a JPT. They will then communicate with the appropriate Superior Court Administrative Crown (“Admin Crown”) to schedule the JPT.
  3. The contacts for the various jurisdictions’ Admin Crowns include the following:

Downtown: Ms. Anna Tenhouse (College Park)

AnnaRachel.Tenhouse@Ontario.ca

Scarborough: Ms. Jackie Garrity

Jackie.Garrity@Ontario.ca

Metro West: Ms. Sarah Leece

Sarah.Leece@Ontario.ca

North York: Ms. Allison MacPherson

Allison.MacPherson@Ontario.ca

Federal: Mr. Brian Puddington

Brian.Puddington@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca

Guns & Gangs: Ms. Liz Nadeau

Elizabeth.Nadeau@ontario.ca

  1. The Admin Crown will send an email to the Trial Coordinator’s Office using the following generic email address: CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca. (All counsel will be copied).
  2. The trial coordinator will schedule a date and time for the JPT and advise all parties.
  3. The JPT will be assigned to McMahon J., Kelly J., or Forestell J. based upon availability. These judges will make themselves available between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for JPTs each day. (Additional timeslots will be offered if the need arises.)
  4. The Superior Court Admin Crowns (federal or provincial), will provide documents required for the pre-trial: synopsis, Form 17, and criminal records, etc., as well as any materials counsel would like the judge to see. The Admin Crowns will email these documents to the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and to the Criminal Intake Office at TORONTO.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  5. Materials will be emailed to the requisite parties.
  6. The trial coordinator will provide the parties with the teleconference information for the hearing (e., telephone contact number and passcode).
  7. The JPT will not be recorded.
  8. Counsel will advise the trial coordinator of the result of the pre-trial upon its completion. If the matter is to continue, promptly advise of the time and date.

A.2 Pleas

  1. Pleas on both in-custody and out-of-custody matters will be heard each day at 2:00 p.m. by McMahon J., Kelly J., or Forestell J. (Additional timeslots will be provided, if necessary.)
  2. Counsel will communicate with each other to confirm that a plea is required and contact the Admin Crown.
  3. The Admin Crown will send an email to the Trial Coordinator’s Office using the generic email address CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and provide all the necessary documentation for the plea. The Admin Crown will also file the documentation with the Criminal Intake Office at TORONTO.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  4. The trial coordinator will schedule a date and time for the plea and advise all parties.
  5. The Admin Crown will advise the designated contact at the institution so that the inmate can be available to participate in the teleconference. (If the institution cannot accommodate the plea, another date and time may be scheduled.)

Toronto South Detention Centre

      • Michelle Briscoe, and
      • Jim Aspiotis

Toronto East Detention Centre

      • Monica Mokha, Deputy Superintendent Programs (A),
      • Vincent Alarcon, Senior Records Clerk,
      • Josie Cipparone, and
      • Rachel Tuma

Lindsay Detention Centre (Central East Correctional Centre):

      • Allissa Tremblay, Inmate Records Clerk, and
      • Shannon Jeffery, Manager of Inmate Records
  1. The trial coordinator will contact the Registrar’s Office so that a registrar can be assigned to attend the plea hearing.
  2. The trial coordinator will provide the parties with the teleconference information for the hearing (e., telephone contact number and passcode). The teleconference line must be one that is recorded so that there is a record of the plea.
  3. If requested by the judge, a court reporter may also be directed to record the plea hearing. The trial coordinator will advise the court reporter of the date and time of the hearing.
  4. Once completed, the recording will be available on the DRD system.
  5. The registrar will complete the required forms and obtain the necessary signatures. The documents will be provided to the appropriate institution and interested parties.
  6. The registrar will send the documents to the designated contacts at the various institutions.

Toronto South Detention Centre

      • Jim Aspiotis, Deputy Superintendent

The following, at the Toronto South Detention Centre, should be copied:

      • Michael S. Day, Records Manager
      • Larissa Kabeya, Records Manager

Toronto East Detention Centre

      • Vincent Alarcon, and
      • Monica Mokha

Maplehurst

      • Andrew Garbacz, Deputy Superintendent

A.3 Bail/90-Day Reviews

A.3.1 Consent Releases

  1. Counsel will consult each other about the possibility of a bail/90-day review.
  2. If on consent, there is no need to book a slot for the conduct of the hearing.
  3. Counsel can fill out the paperwork (e.,the conditions of release and surety declaration – both forms are available electronically from the Admin Crown).
  4. The paperwork will be sent to the Admin Crown who will forward it to the registrar’s office at Toronto.SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca and to the Criminal Intake Office at Toronto.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.
  5. The trial coordinator will assign a judge and a registrar.
  6. The registrar will complete the paperwork and provide it to the parties for their signature. During this time, a written confirmation from counsel that they have ‘witnessed’ the sureties’ signatures will be accepted (whether it be over the phone, via Facetime, Skype, etc.).
  7. It can be sent to either McMahon J. or Kelly J. for execution. However, it should be noted that s. 3(2) of the Criminal Code permits a clerk of the court to sign the document if the judge makes an order in writing. Section 3 provides:

3(2) CLERK OF THE COURT – Unless otherwise provided or ordered, if anything is done from the bench by a court, justice or judge and it is reduced to writing, the clerk of the court may sign the writing.

  1. The signed documentation will be returned to the registrar.
  2. The registrar will provide the signed paperwork to the proper institution. (See paragraph 11 under the heading “A.2 Pleas” above for the contact information at the institutions.)
  3. The registrar will send copies to all interested parties.

A.3.2 Contested Hearings

  1. Counsel are to consult each other about the necessity of booking a time for a contested bail/90-day review. The contacts for the various jurisdiction’s Admin Crowns include the following:

Downtown: Ms. Anna Tenhouse

AnnaRachel.Tenhouse@Ontario.ca

Scarborough: Ms. Jackie Garrity

Jackie.Garrity@Ontario.ca

Metro West: Ms. Sarah Leece

Sarah.Leece@Ontario.ca

North York: Ms. Allison MacPherson

Allison.MacPherson@Ontario.ca

Federal: Mr. Brian Puddington

Brian.Puddington@ppsc-sppc.gc.ca

Guns & Gangs: Ms. Liz Nadeau

Elizabeth.Nadeau@ontario.ca

  1. Self-represented defendants should be directed to Ms. Maija Martin of the Criminal Lawyers Association (Maija@martincriminaldefence.ca). If a self-represented defendant is identified by Mr. Hank Goody (A.C.A.) during the 90-day set date court on Thursdays, he will advise the Crown from that borough who will then advise Ms. Martin.
  2. Defence counsel will email materials to the Admin Crown to effect service. Defence counsel will include their availability and the time estimate for the hearing when serving the Crown.
  3. The Admin Crown will file all materials with the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.caand with the Criminal Intake Office at TORONTO.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca. The Admin Crown will ensure any response materials are filed and copied to the defence.
  4. In the case of 90-day reviews, the trial coordinator will email Ms. Maria Ranaudo (Maria.Ranaudo@Ontario.ca) to determine if a bail hearing has been conducted. If there was no bail hearing, the trial coordinator will provide a date for the review hearing. If there was a bail hearing, Ms. Ranaudo will order the transcript by email copying Corrick J. and the trial coordinator. Corrick J. will authorize the transcript order.
  5. The trial coordinator will provide a date and time for the hearing once defence materials have been served on the Admin Crown and filed (or fifteen (15) days after the transcript has been ordered in the case of 90-day reviews). Counsel must file all materials by 10:00 a.m. on Friday if they wish to conduct the bail / bail review / 90-day review the following week.
  6. To avoid any unnecessary adjournments of scheduled hearing dates, the applicant is not permitted to file additional materials after the 10:00 a.m. deadline on Friday unless the responding party consents. If possible, the responding party should file their materials at least two clear days prior to the scheduled hearing.
  7. The bail / bail review / 90-day reviews can be heard each day at 10:00 a.m. (four (4) possible slots) and 2:00 p.m. (four possible slots).
  8. A list of the bail / 90-day reviews will be provided to McMahon J. and Kelly J. They will assign a judge to hear the bail / 90-day reviews and advise the trial coordinator of the assigned judge.
  9. The trial coordinator will then forward the materials to the assigned judge advising them of the time and date of the review.
  10. The trial coordinator will advise the Registrar’s Office so that a registrar can be assigned to the hearing.
  11. The trial coordinator will also advise the Court Reporter’s Office so that a court reporter can monitor the proceedings.[3]
  12. The trial coordinator will provide the interested parties with the teleconference information (telephone number and passcode).
  13. Counsel should complete the “terms of release” form and circulate it to the other parties in advance of the hearing.
  14. The judge hearing the bail / 90-day review will advise of his or her decision orally and provide a brief written endorsement on a blank indictment page to be attached to the indictment in the future. The registrar will distribute it to the interested parties.
  15. It is anticipated that the sureties will be in the presence of counsel during the call. This will be in person by video or audio.
  16. Counsel should ensure they have a copy of the photo identification from the proposed sureties.
  17. The defendant need not be present for a bail review. A defendant is likely required to be present for a 90-day detention review (by audio or video) pursuant to s. 502.1(1) of the Criminal Code.
  18. If counsel wish for their client to be present, they must make arrangements with the appropriate Admin Crown who will contact the institution and make the request. The contact information is set out in paragraph 3 in section A.1 above.
  19. If released, the registrar will complete the paper work, scan it and forward it to the parties for signature. As stated above, during this time, we are willing to accept a written confirmation from counsel that they have ‘witnessed’ the sureties’ signatures (whether it be over the phone via Facetime, Skype, etc.).
  20. The release documents will then be scanned and sent to the judge for signature and returned to the registrar. As stated above, it should be noted that s. 3(2) of the Criminal Code permits a clerk of the court to sign the document if the judge makes an order in writing. Section 3 provides:

3(2) CLERK OF THE COURT – Unless otherwise provided or ordered, if anything is done from the bench by a court, justice or judge and it is reduced to writing, the clerk of the court may sign the writing.

  1. The paperwork will then be forwarded to the various institutions as set out in paragraph 11 under the heading “A.2 Pleas” above.

A.3.3 Consent Bail Variations

  1. Counsel should fill out and sign the 10b Form available on the SCJ website under “Forms under the Criminal Proceeding Rules” and forward it to the appropriate Crown.
  2. The Crown will review and sign the form.
  3. Sureties sign the form either in the presence of counsel or counsel should provide written confirmation that they have “witnessed” the sureties’ signatures by video.
  4. The Crown will send the variation to Kelly J. for approval (or another judge assigned).
  5. The Registrars will be copied by emailing Toronto.SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca and the criminal intake office at Toronto.SCJ.Criminalintake@ontario.ca.
  6. Once approved, the paperwork will be completed and provided to counsel.

A.4 Interpreters

  1. If an interpreter is required for the hearing (e., for a defendant, surety or witness), Crown Counsel/the Federal Crown or Counsel for the defendant shall advise the trial coordinator.
  2. Counsel requiring the interpreter shall advise of the language, time and date of the proceeding.
  3. The trial coordinator shall advise the Registrar’s Office so that arrangements can be made for the interpreter to be available on the teleconference call.

A.5 Criminal Pre-trial Applications

  1. All in-court motions and applications scheduled from March 17th to June 1st have been adjourned to July 6, 2020, at the earliest. If counsel wish to bring their motions/applications forward to be heard remotely this should be done in accordance with the procedure set out below.
  2. Some pre-trial applications in criminal cases may be heard. All such applications will be heard by teleconference or videoconference.
  3. The applications that will be heard will only include: (a) matters that were scheduled to be heard between March 17th and June 1, 2020 and, (b) matters relating to trials where the defendant is in custody.
  4. The motions that may be heard include any applications for Charter relief, constitutional challenges, severance and disclosure applications.
  5. At this time, ss. 276 and 278 applications will not be heard to completion but the applications may proceed to the point of appointment of counsel for the complainant and the return of subpoenas for records and their release to counsel for the complainant.
  6. An application (other than ss. 276 or 278 applications) may only be heard if, (a) no viva voce evidence will be called; and, (b) the defendant (i) does not wish to be present, or (ii) is out of custody and agrees to attend by telephone; or (iii) is in custody and oral argument is not anticipated to take more than one (1) hour.
  7. Counsel will communicate with each other to confirm that they wish an application to proceed. The Admin Crown will then schedule a JPT with Forestell J.
  8. The Admin Crown will send an email to the Trial Coordinator’s Office using the generic email address: CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca.
  9. The trial coordinator will schedule a date and time for the JPT and advise all parties.
  10. The JPT will be scheduled between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  11. At the JPT, counsel and the presiding justice will determine the procedure to be followed for the hearing and for the serving and filing of material. It is anticipated that the procedure for the hearing and for the filing of materials will generally follow the procedure for the filing of materials in contested bail reviews. (See section A.3.2 above.)
  12. Following the JPT, a hearing will be scheduled and a judge will be assigned. The judge assigned to hear the application will be appointed as the case management judge.
  13. All materials are to be filed with the Trial Coordinator’s Office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and with the Criminal Intake Office at TORONTO.SCJ.CRIMINALINTAKE@ontario.ca.

A.6 Lockdown Records

  1. For those counsel seeking to subpoena lockdown records from the Toronto South Detention Centre or the Toronto East Detention Centre, please contact Liz Nadeau for direction at Elizabeth.Nadeau@Ontario.ca. She will assist you in obtaining the records.
  2. Please be advised that the records may take up to two weeks to gather depending on the length of time the defendant has spent in custody.

A.7 Summary Conviction Appeals/Extraordinary Remedies

A.7.1 The Hearings

  1. All appeal hearings currently scheduled for April, May and June are to proceed on the dates set for hearing. The hearings will proceed remotely through secure telephone lines.
  2. If counsel have had difficulty in preparing for the appeal and would like the date to be moved for a short period of time, the court will accommodate such a request provided it is made at least a week prior to the hearing date.
  3. Counsel opposed to having their appeal hearings heard remotely shall contact the Crown counsel assigned to the case as soon as possible and schedule a hearing with the trial coordinator so that they can make submissions as to why their case cannot be heard remotely.
  4. Any appellant currently required, by the terms of his current bail, to surrender into custody prior to the appeal hearing is not required to do so. That condition is varied to one which only requires a surrender into custody if their appeal is dismissed and they are subject to a custodial sentence.
  5. All judgments in appeals where the appellant/respondent is potentially liable to be returned to custody will be reserved until the autumn or such time as it is deemed safe to enter incarceration. All out of custody appellants required to attend the hearings in person are no longer required to do so.
  6. The hearings will be conducted either by video using Zoom or telephone conferencing depending on the wishes of counsel. If the hearing is one in which counsel elects to proceed by video, the appellant/respondent will not be allowed to participate. However, if the hearings are held by teleconference, arrangements will be made by the defence to permit their client to attend through a conference line.
  7. There may be cases where counsel wish to proceed by video and have their client present for the hearing. In these cases, counsel should contact the court to request arrangements for co-ordinated video and audio hearings. Due to limited capacity, these types of dual hearings should be conducted sparingly and may not be possible in all cases.

A.7.2 Summary Conviction Appeals and Extraordinary Remedies

  1. When filing summary conviction appeals and extraordinary remedy applications, counsel should file electronic copies of all factums, appeal books, books of authorities and other material to the court and opposing counsel. These materials should be sent to the SCA coordinators (Patricia.Mazurek@ontario.caCriminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca and Toronto.SCJ.Criminalintake@ontario.ca) with the name of the case, file number and date of hearing.
  2. Counsel and self-represented appellants filing fresh Notices of Appeal and extraordinary remedy applications should file those materials electronically with the Crown SCA Coordinator, Wendy Sabean at Wendy.Sabean@ontario.ca. This will satisfy both service on the Crown and filing with the court.
  3. Where the appellant/applicant is the Attorney General, his or her agent, or was the informant or any party other than the defendant (the accused) in proceedings before the court/preliminary inquiry court, the notice of appeal/application shall be served by mail on each person in respect of whom the appeal/application is brought against unless there is counsel of record, in which case service will be effected by sending the notice electronically to counsel. The appellant/applicant shall send a courtesy copy of the notice mailed to the respondent electronically to counsel of record in the proceedings the appeal/application relates to, if there was counsel of record. Filing the notice with the court shall be done electronically by sending it to the SCA Coordinator and the Criminal Trial Office (Patricia.Mazurek@ontario.ca and Criminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca)
  4. When filing their material, counsel may, if they wish, insert hyperlinks to the cases (or specifically, the paragraphs therein) relied upon in the appeal.
  5. Counsel launching the appeal or extraordinary motion must file electronic versions of the transcripts at trial. These transcripts are normally provided with the hard copies. However, if the e-copies were not obtained, the parties should contact the transcriptionist who prepared the hard copy and seek an electronic version for filing.
  6. If an electronic copy is not available, the hard copies must be filed with the court and arrangements will be made to transfer them to the assigned judge.

A.7.3 Bail Pending Appeal/Stays

  1. Applications for bail pending appeal and extraordinary remedies are subject to the same procedure outlined in this protocol for bail reviews. Applications should be sent to the Crown SCA Coordinator, Wendy Sabean (Wendy.Sabean@ontario.ca) who will file the material electronically with the court. If the application is on consent, a draft Order shall accompany the material, which will be signed and returned to the Crown who will, in turn, forward a copy of the Order to the applicant.
  2. Draft orders should be filed in the Microsoft Word format (.docx) rather than a PDF version.
  3. If a bail/stay application is disputed, the Crown and defence counsel should discuss a date on which they would be available and contact the court to schedule a hearing.
  4. If the Applicant indicates that they wish to be present, arrangements will be made for them to have access to the teleconference call. If in custody, the Crown will contact the institution to provide the applicant with telephone access. If out of custody, defence counsel will make the necessary arrangements but shall not provide the secure number of the court to their client.

A.7.3(a) Criminal Court Operations as of July 6, 2020 – 361 University Avenue

Court operations at 361 University Avenue will resume on July 6, 2020. Lawyers, accused persons and others should not attend at the courthouse in person unless their physical presence is required.

No person shall attend the courthouse for any purpose if that person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or that person has recently been exposed to COVID-19.  Any justice participant who would otherwise be required to attend court in person but is unable to do so because of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure shall contact the criminal intake office at CriminalTrialOffice-SCJ-Toronto@ontario.ca.  The message should provide contact information in order to allow the court to contact the justice participant and reschedule the appearance.

Only those who required to participate in the following proceedings should attend at the courthouse:

  1. Scheduled trials;
  2. Pre-trial applications;
  3. Motions in which viva voce evidence is to be called; or
  4. An application that cannot be heard remotely because it is required to be in camera.

All other matters, including the following, will continue to be dealt with remotely:

  1. Bail reviews;
  2. Summary Conviction Appeals;
  3. Pre-trial applications in which no viva voce evidence is required and which are not to be held in camera;
  4. Pre-trial applications in which viva voce evidence is to be heard or which are to be held in camera and the parties consent on a procedure confirmed at a judicial pre-trial;
  5. Judicial pre-trials;
  6. Assignment court (for scheduling and purely administrative proceedings, after July 13, 2020);
  7. Guilty pleas; and
  8. Re-elections.

A.8 Judicial Responsibilities

The following judges will be responsible for inquiries regarding the following subjects going forward:

  • Forestell J.: New long trial pre-trials and motions.
  • Akhtar J.: Summary Conviction Appeals and Special Motions.
    If Akhtar J. needs a teleconference line, that must be scheduled through the trial coordinator’s office as that will reduce the lines available for bail/90-day reviews on that day.
  • Goldstein J.: MLAT and Extradition. For example, any MLAT requests should be filed electronically and sent to Goldstein J.
  • Corrick J.: As usual, Corrick J. will coordinate these matters with Mr. Hank Goody (A.C.A.) and the institution. If Corrick J. requires additional teleconference lines on any given day, the trial coordinator should be advised because, again, it may affect the teleconference lines available for other hearings.

A.9 Superior Court of Justice Contact List

The following is a list of names and contact information to be used during the time the regular operations of the Superior Court of Justice remains suspended:

TitleNameEmail Address
Toronto Criminal Trial CoordinatorsAnna Katsoulis, Christine Rusk and Elaine SakorafasCriminaltrialoffice-SCJ-Toronto@Ontario.ca
Team Lead, Criminal TrialsMcMahon J.
Assistant Team Lead, Criminal TrialsKelly J.
Criminal Lawyers AssociationMaija Martin[4]Maija@Martincriminaldefence.ca
Regional Manager, Crown AttorneysAndrew LockeAndrew.Locke@Ontario.ca
Guns and GangsLiz NadeauElizabeth.Nadeau@Ontario.ca
Downtown TorontoMike CantlonMichael.Cantlon@Ontario.ca
Mary HumphreyMary.Humphrey@ontario.ca
Anna TenhouseAnnarachel.Tenhouse@Ontario.ca
ScarboroughJackie GarrityJackie.Garrity@Ontario.ca
North YorkAllison MacPhersonAllison.MacPherson@Ontario.ca
Metro WestSarah LeeceSarah.Leece@Ontario.ca
90-Day ReviewsHank GoodyHank.Goody@Ontario.ca
Summary Conviction AppealWendy SabeanWendy.Sabean@ontario.ca
Federal Crown – PPSCBrian PuddingtonBrian.Puddington@ppsc.gc.ca
Federal Crown – Department of Justice (Extradition and MLAT)Christopher BundyChristopher.Bundy@justice.gc.ca
Registrars, Court StaffSusan JohnsonToronto.SCJ.CriminalCourtSupport@ontario.ca
Court ReportersNatalie CesarioNatalie.Cesario@Ontario.ca

Regional Notice to the Profession – Protocol for Criminal Matters in the Superior Court of Justice, Central East Region (Effective June 26, 2020)

Introduction

This Protocol applies to criminal matters in the Superior Court of Justice in the Central East Region effective June 26, 2020, and until further notice.

The Protocol is subject to change from time to time as may be necessary.

Criminal Matters Adjourned

By Orders of Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz made on March 17, 2020, and May 5, 2020, all criminal proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice including pre-trial motions, trials and the delivery of judgment, and guilty plea and sentencing proceedings, that were scheduled to take place between March 17 and July 6, 2020, were adjourned to specified dates in the week of July 6, 2020.[1]

By further Order of Chief Justice Morawetz made on June 25, 2020, those proceedings were further adjourned to specified dates in the week of September 14, 2020, except where the Court orders or directs otherwise.  The Order of the Chief Justice can be found at:

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/notice-june-25-2020/

This portion of this Regional Notice addresses those matters where the Court has ordered or directed otherwise.

The Superior Court in the Central East Region is returning to very limited operations in courthouses on July 6, 2020.  During that week, all Superior Court matters that had dates in the period March 16 through July 3, 2020, will be spoken to by a judge in an open courtroom.  The following procedure will apply:

  1. Efforts will have been made to contact counsel of record and in some cases self-represented defendants to arrange a new fixed date for these matters, whether for trial, judicial pre-trial, or to be spoken to. That new fixed date will be recorded in a written Endorsement to the Indictment.
  2. During the week of July 6, 2020, a judge of the Court will preside in an open courtroom in each of the Barrie, Newmarket, and Oshawa courthouses, for the purpose of reading the Endorsement into the record and so formally adjourning the case to the new fixed date. Barrie and Bracebridge matters will be addressed in Barrie;   Newmarket matters will be addressed in Newmarket;  Cobourg, Lindsay, and Peterborough matters will be addressed in Newmarket; and Oshawa matters will be addressed in Oshawa.

Bench warrants with discretion will be put in place.

  1. Where it has not been possible to arrange a new fixed date with counsel of record or with a self-represented defendant, the matter will be taken to be adjourned to be spoken to on the applicable September 2020 date set out in the Order of Chief Justice Morawetz dated June 25, 2020.

That Order put bench warrants with discretion in place.

  1. No defence counsel of record or agent or representative, and no defendant whether represented by counsel or self-represented should attend at any Central East courthouse during the week of July 6, 2020.

In addition, during the week of July 6, 2020, Superior Court matters that have dates in the period July 6 through September 11, 2020, will be spoken to by the presiding judge referred to above.   The following procedure will apply:

  1. Counsel of record and in some cases self-represented defendants will have been contacted on those matters that were determined to be able to proceed during the period July 6 through September 11, 2020. That will be recorded in a written Endorsement to the Indictment that will be read into the record by the presiding judge.

Bench warrants with discretion will be put in place.

  1. For all other matters, where it has been possible to contact counsel of record or a self-represented defendant to arrange a new fixed date, that date will be recorded in a written Endorsement to the indictment that will be read into the record by the presiding judge, and so formally adjourning the case to the new fixed date.

Bench warrants with discretion will be put in place.

  1. Where it has not been possible to arrange a new fixed date with counsel of record or with a self-represented defendant, the matter will be taken to be adjourned to be spoken to on the applicable September 2020 date set out in the Order of Chief Justice Morawetz dated June 25, 2020.

That Order put bench warrants with discretion in place.

  1. No defence counsel of record or agent or representative, and no defendant whether represented by counsel or self-represented should attend at any Central East courthouse during the week of July 6, 2020.

Judicial Pre-Trials

Until further notice, all judicial pre-trials (“JPTs”) will be held by remote means.  ZOOM videoconference and/or teleconference (“conference call”) will be the preferred medium.  Other conference call  lines will be available, including for self-represented defendants, where it is not possible to use ZOOM.

It is expected that counsel will book a JPT in the Superior Court at the same time as the defendant is ordered by an Ontario Court judge to stand trial in the Superior Court.

JPTs can be booked by contacting the trial coordinators at the telephone numbers listed at the end of this Regional Notice:

  • Where the charges are outstanding in Barrie, by contacting Ms. Tina Tse, Trial Coordinator;
  • Where the charges are outstanding in Bracebridge, by contacting Ms. Tina Tse, Trial Coordinator;
  • Where the charges are outstanding in Newmarket, by contacting Ms. Llyshelle Barrett, Assistant Trial Coordinator;
  • Where the charges are outstanding in Oshawa, by contacting Ms. Jackie Traviss, Trial Coordinator;
  • Where the charges are outstanding in a Tri-County site (Cobourg. Lindsay and Peterborough), by contacting Ms. Maureen O’Brien, Trial Coordinator.

Crown and defence counsel must jointly complete a Form 17 Pre-Trial Conference Report and file it along with a synopsis of the offence(s) and a copy of the Indictment, by email to the generic email address for the trial coordinator at the applicable Court location, no later than 5 days before the date scheduled for the JPT.

Where the defendant is self-represented, the Crown and the defendant shall exchange and file their respective Form 17 within the timeframe specified on the front of the Form.

Counsel and any self-represented defendant must be available at the time set for the JPT and must be in a stationary location with good video or cell phone/land line reception.

No-one other than counsel may be present on the JPT videoconference/teleconference line, without the express permission of the presiding judge.  The defendant will not be present for the JPT, except where they are self-represented or have counsel retained only to assist at the JPT.

No recording may be made of the JPT, except by order of the presiding judge.

90 Day and Other Bail Reviews and Superior Court Bail Applications

These matters will continue to be heard by remote means.

Counsel who wish to schedule a 90 day or other bail review or a Superior Court bail application should serve counsel for the opposite party with the materials by email, and then consult opposite counsel as to whether there will be consent.

If there is consent:

  1. No hearing need be held.
  2. Counsel will jointly complete all necessary paperwork, including terms of release and surety declaration, to enable a registrar to prepare the release document.
  3. Counsel will forward the completed paperwork to the generic email address for the trial coordinator in the location where the defendant is charged.
  4. The registrar will prepare the release document (for example, recognizance).
  5. The registrar will contact the trial coordinator and arrange to have the release document emailed to a judge of the Court for review and approval.
  6. The judge will confirm their approval by return email message to the trial coordinator, who will forward the email to the registrar. This email should be retained by the registrar for the court file.
  7. The registrar will contact defence counsel for assistance in obtaining such binding acknowledgement as is required from the surety/sureties.
  8. The registrar, pursuant to s. 3(2) of the Criminal Code, will sign the release document. It is not necessary for the judge to sign it.
  9. The registrar will forward the release document and any other documents required to effect the defendant’s release, to the institution.

If there is no consent:

  1. Counsel requesting the hearing should send a copy of the materials and an email requesting a hearing to the generic email address for the trial coordinator in the location where the defendant is charged. Requesting counsel should copy opposite counsel on the email.
  2. Where defence counsel requests the hearing, defence counsel should include in the materials either an affidavit of any proposed surety or a surety declaration form, and confirmation that defence counsel witnessed the signature of the surety, either in person or by some other means such as Zoom, Facetime, or Skype, and confirmed identity by viewing photo identification. If counsel seeks relief from compliance with this requirement or any other aspect of the Superior Court’s Criminal Proceedings Rules, counsel should include that request in the materials sent to the trial coordinator.
  3. If counsel anticipates that an interpreter will be needed for the hearing for the defendant, a surety or a witness, counsel must advise the trial coordinator at the time the hearing is requested.
  4. The trial coordinator will identify a date and time for the hearing, after consulting both counsel.
  5. The trial coordinator will forward the materials to the assigned judge and advise them of the date and time of the hearing.
  6. In the event the assigned judge wishes counsel to provide additional materials, the judge will attempt to notify counsel through the trial coordinator, in advance of the hearing.
  7. Hearings will take place by teleconference, unless videoconference can be made available. The teleconference line will be one that permits the proceedings to be recorded. It may not be possible to have a court reporter on the teleconference line.
  8. The trial coordinator will request that Court Services Division assign a registrar to the teleconference.
  9. The trial coordinator will request that Court Services Division obtain any interpreter required for the teleconference.
  10. Review hearings can take place in the absence of the defendant. If counsel nonetheless wishes the defendant to be present on the teleconference, that counsel must immediately notify the trial coordinator in the location where the defendant is charged. The trial coordinator will make the request of the institution where the defendant is in custody.  A Judge’s Order is not  Counsel should request that the defendant be present on the teleconference only if it is truly necessary.  There are significant limitations on the number of defendants who can be given access to teleconference lines from the jails, and it may not be possible for institutions to facilitate every request.
  11. The trial coordinator will advise counsel, the jail, and court staff of the teleconference information. The presiding judge will be the Moderator.
  12. In advance of the teleconference, counsel who seeks the hearing should complete a terms of release form and circulate it to opposite counsel.
  13. If it is not possible for the surety/sureties to be in the presence of defence counsel during the teleconference, defence counsel must provide the surety/sureties with the teleconference information and have the surety/sureties dial in to the teleconference line at the appointed time.
  14. At the conclusion of the hearing, the presiding judge may give their decision orally or may reserve their decision and release it to the parties in writing at a later time. In either case, the presiding judge should handwrite a brief written endorsement and if possible, scan it to the trial coordinator to be attached to the Indictment.
  15. If the defendant’s release is ordered, the registrar will complete the release document (for example, recognizance), then send it to the judge by email for review. The judge will confirm their approval by return email message. This email should be retained by the registrar for the court file.
  16. The registrar will contact defence counsel for assistance in obtaining such binding acknowledgement as is required from the surety/sureties.
  17. The registrar, pursuant to s. 3(2) of the Criminal Code, will sign the release document. It is not necessary for the presiding judge to sign it.
  18. The registrar will forward the release document and any other documents required to effect the defendant’s release, to the institution.

Stand-Alone Motions and Applications;   Guilty Pleas

Hearing dates for stand-alone motions and applications such as Rowbotham applications, certiorari applications, and motions to stay driving prohibition Orders pending appeal can be obtained by contacting the trial coordinator at the applicable Court location.

Hearing dates for guilty pleas to be taken in person or virtually may be obtained in the same way.

In respect of motions and applications, Crown and defence counsel are asked to consider whether the matter can be heard in writing, or in writing with oral submissions to be made by videoconference or teleconference, and to advise the trial coordinator of this.

Summary Conviction Appeals

Hearing dates for summary conviction appeals can be obtained by contacting the trial coordinator at the applicable Court location.  The appeal must be perfected in order for a hearing date to be fixed.

Crown and defence counsel are asked to consider whether the summary conviction appeal can be heard in writing, or in writing with oral submissions to be made by videoconference or teleconference, and to advise the trial coordinator of this.

Continuation Dates for Sentencing Proceedings

Counsel seeking a continuation date for a sentencing proceeding should contact the trial coordinator at the applicable Court location, on notice to all other counsel.  The trial coordinator will communicate the direction of the judge to all counsel.

Virtual Hearings

Counsel seeking a date for a motion or trial to be conducted virtually by videoconference or teleconference should contact the trial coordinator at the applicable Court location, on notice to all other counsel.  The trial coordinator will seek the direction of the Regional Senior Judge.

Inquiries About Other Matters

Inquiries about any matters not otherwise addressed in this Regional Notice, or where judicial direction is sought should be made to the trial coordinator at the applicable Court location, on notice to all other counsel.

Generic Email Addresses

The list of generic email addresses and the telephone numbers for the trial coordinators in the Central East Region is as follows:

Barrie.SCJ.TC@ontario.ca
705-739-6121
Ms. Tina Tse (for Barrie and Bracebridge)

Newmarket.SCJ.TC@ontario.ca
905-853-4827 ext 6328
Ms. Llyshelle Barrett (for Newmarket)

Oshawa.SCJ.TC@ontario.ca
905-743-2638
Ms. Jackie Traviss (for Oshawa)

Peterborough.SCJ.TC@ontario.ca
705-876-3823
1-800-788-0977
Ms. Maureen O’Brien (for Peterborough, Lindsay and Cobourg)

Dated June 26, 2020

Justice Michelle Fuerst
Regional Senior Judge,
Superior Court of Justice,
Central East Region


[1] By separate Notice of Chief Justice Morawetz dated April 20, 2020, all jury proceedings were suspended until September, 2020, at the earliest.  That Notice remains in effect.

Notice to the Profession – Central South Region Re: Civil, Family, Criminal Expansion

From: Harrison S. Arrell

Regional Senior Justice – Superior Court of Justice

Central South Region

Issued: June 26, 2020

By Notice to the Profession dated March 15, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) advised the profession, the media and the public that, while the SCJ was suspending court operations, it would continue to hear urgent matters in criminal, family and civil.

During the intervening period the SCJ has continuously explored all avenues to expand the services it provides to the public.  As set out in the Province-Wide April 2, 2020 Notice to the Profession issued by Geoffrey B. Morawetz, Chief Justice, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, each Region expanded the scope of matters it heard effective April 6, 2020, with a further expansion April 28, 2020.

The following SCJ Courtrooms will open within the Central South Region on July 6, 2020;

  • John Sopinka – Hamilton – Courtroom # 600
  • Hamilton Family Court – Courtroom #3
  • Waterloo Region Courthouse – Courtrooms # 201 and # 601
  • St. Catharines Courthouse – Courtroom # 10
  • Welland Courthouse – Courtroom #1
  • Brantford – Courtroom # 200

Having considered the various resources and technological constraints to hearing matters during the suspension of court operations, the Central South Region, effective July 6, 2020, will continue to hear matters as noted below.

This NOTICE supersedes and replaces the NOTICES of April 2, April 28, April 30, May 19, and May 26, 2020 issued in Central South. However, the remains in place and should be followed regarding documentary and filing requirements for conferences and motions;

 

CRIMINAL MATTERS:

The Chief Justice has issued orders adjourning criminal matters to specified dates and extending bench warrants accordingly. He has also issued an order adjourning matters and extending certain orders in child protection cases. These and other orders of the Chief Justice can be found at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/

The July 6, 7, 8, 9, 2020 TBST Dates will not require an in-court appearance if defence counsel have a designation and a future date has been rescheduled. Crown and Defence counsel must make contact with the TC immediately, if they have not already done so, to reschedule their matter.

Any self-represented accused person must attend in person in court on the following dates, unless another date has been arranged in advance with the trial coordinator:

  • Any matters that were to be heard in March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 are further adjourned to July 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Any matters that were to be heard in April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3rd, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Any matters that were to be heard in May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Any matters that were to be heard in June 2020 and July 2 and 3, 2020 are adjourned to July 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

The following criminal matters will be heard either virtually or in person depending on availability of courtroom allocations:

  • All bail issues including detention reviews, bail reviews and initial hearings on S. 469 offences;
  • Extending stays of driving prohibitions, fine payment, and bail pending appeal orders for Summary Conviction Appeals that have a sunset clause before July 7, 2020; and
  • Habeas corpus applications;
  • Trials that were scheduled for March, April, May and June 2020 must be scheduled for a further judicial pretrial to discuss resolution, re-election and/or re-scheduling. Counsel must contact the Trial Coordinators who will provide a date for the pretrial and the coordinates to connect to the pretrial;
  • All guilty pleas;
  • Pre-trial motions will be heard. The motions judge will decide as to the methodology of the hearing, after consultation with counsel.
  • Criminal Judicial Pre-Trials for all parties may only be obtained by contacting the trial coordinator at the court site where the matter is filed. The judicial pretrial will be arranged as per the already established Central South protocol prior to COVID-19.
  • Summary Conviction Appeals.

A reminder to counsel that there are currently no jury trials being conducted until September 2020 at the earliest.  If there is a change to your client’s current election, please make contact with the Trial Coordinator.

Non-Jury Trials that are currently scheduled to proceed prior to September 2020, must be confirmed by counsel by email with the TC.

Harrison S. Arrell
Regional Senior Justice – Superior Court of Justice
Central South Region

Issued: June 26, 2020

 

Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused, Media and Members of the Public (June 25, 2020)

A. Introduction

On May 13, 2020, I issued an updated and Consolidated Notice to the Profession regarding matters that would be heard virtually – by telephone or video conference – during the suspension of in-court operations in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In that Notice, I indicated that the SCJ will not resume in-person hearings of any court matters until July 6, 2020, at the earliest.

In this Notice, I advise the profession, litigants, accused, the media and the public of the steps that are expected to be completed to permit some in-court hearings to resume at certain court locations, effective July 6, 2020.

B. Ministry of the Attorney General’s Recovery Efforts

Since May 13, 2020, I have been briefed by the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ministry) and its Recovery Secretariat of the Ministry’s plans to conduct courthouse site assessments and to implement health and safety precautionary measures at courthouses to allow matters to be heard safely in courtrooms.  In approaching a safe return to in-person hearings, I am advised that the Ministry and Recovery Secretariat are being guided by the Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, a Public Health Ontario physician specializing in communicable diseases and emergency preparedness and response, as well as the Chief Prevention Office for Ontario from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

To conduct site assessments of each courthouse, the Ministry and Recovery Secretariat are relying upon the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PHSA).  The PHSA is Ontario’s designated Health and Safety Association which provides training, consulting and resources to the Municipal, Public Safety, Health and Community Care, and Education and Culture Sectors.  PHSA consultants are occupational health and safety professionals.  I am advised that a team of 30 PHSA consultants will be completing COVID-19 risk assessments at each Ontario courthouse.

The Ministry has provided a list of items that will be assessed at each court site and courtroom before a courtroom will re-open.  This includes: physical distancing; facility and room capacity; plexiglass barriers; hand sanitization dispensers; personal protective equipment (PPE); enhanced cleaning; courtroom (re)configuration; document transmission; movement of in-person accused; public/media access to courtrooms; jury events; courtroom disinfection; use of public elevators and escalators; use of public washrooms; entrance protocol and COVID screening at courthouses; public and media access; and food service areas.

I am further advised that the Ministry expects to post on its website by July 6, 2020, comprehensive information on health and safety measures, including a Guidebook for all court users.

C. Phased Return to In-Person Hearings

Pursuant to the Ministry’s plans, a fixed number of courtrooms will be rendered safe for use in Phases.  In Phase 1 and by July 6, 2020, we have been advised that site assessments of 56 SCJ 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, 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.  This list of courthouses expected to have at least one courtroom available to the SCJ by July 6, 2020 is found at Annex A.

The Ministry intends to have additional courtrooms available for SCJ use in additional courthouses by September 15, 2020 (Phase 2) and November 1, 2020 (Phase 3).

D. Resumption of Some In-Court Hearings

Based on the assurances of the Ministry and its public health and occupational health and safety experts, the SCJ expects to resume some in-court hearings effective July 6, 2020 only at the court locations identified in Annex A.

There will only be 56 courtrooms available for use by the SCJ on July 6, 2020.  Trials and other hearings that are urgent or which were scheduled to be heard during the suspension of the Court’s regular operations will be given priority.  Jury matters will continue to be deferred until at least September 2020.  As a result of space limitations created by the need for physical distancing, the Court is exploring with the Ministry the availability of off-site jury selection and will provide a further direction as soon as that information is available.

For civil and family matters, direction will be provided regionally for the hearing of these proceedings.

Litigants and lawyers are asked to come to court at least 30 minutes in advance because of extra screening requirements so that the attendance can proceed at the scheduled time.

Each courthouse has restrictions on the number of people who may be in the courthouse for safety purposes. Litigants should only bring family members or other supports to court with them where absolutely necessary.

If you need assistance from Duty counsel in relation to your family law or child protection matter, you should contact legal aid before your court attendance to see what help is available.  Legal Aid can be reached at 1-800-668-8258.

In addition to any in-person appearances, the SCJ will continue to hear matters virtually, as set out in the May 13, 2020 Consolidated Notice to the Profession and the most recent Regional Notice to the Profession.

E. Gowning

The requirement to gown for an in-court appearance in the SCJ remains suspended, until further notice.  Counsel may continue to wear business attire. This is because there is limited space in courthouse robing rooms, which may not permit sufficient physical distancing.  Judges and masters will be robed.

F. Criminal Matters Suspended Effective March 17, 2020 and further by Order of May 5, 2020

In some Regions, some matters will be heard in person or remotely in July and August.  Counsel will be made aware of these matters by the Court.

EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, including cases where a new trial date or other date has been assigned or ordered by the court, this section of this Notice constitutes an Order regarding the continued adjournment of criminal matters.

Further to my orders of March 17 and May 5, 2020, and by this Order, dated June 17, 2020, and unless the court orders otherwise, criminal appearances have been adjourned as follows:

a. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled for appearances in March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to July 6, 2020, are further adjourned to September 15, 2020.

    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in March 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 2, 2020 and extended to July 6, 2020, is now extended to September 15, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear on September 15, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

b. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in April 2020 that had been adjourned to July 7, 2020, are further adjourned to September 16, 2020.

    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in April 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 3, 2020 and extended to July 7, 2020, is further extended to September 16, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 16, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.

c. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in May 2020 that had been adjourned to July 8, 2020 are further adjourned to September 17, 2020.

    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 4, 2020 and extended to July 8, 2020, is further extended to September 17, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 17, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.

d. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were scheduled in June 2020 are adjourned to September 18, 2020.

    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in June 2020,
    2. a bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in June on which the person was scheduled to appear, and is returnable on September 18, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 18, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is issued as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.

e. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in July and August 2020, are adjourned to September 18, 2020.

    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in July or August 2020,
    2. a bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in July or August 2020 on which the person was scheduled to appear, and is returnable on September 18, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 18, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.

Persons scheduled to appear in the SCJ on September 14, 2020 and following should do so as scheduled.

The Order extends, as necessary, all warrants of remand for accused persons in custody to whom the Order applies.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice


Annex A

SUPERIOR COURT COURTROOMS EXPECTED TO OPEN IN PHASE 1

REGIONSCOURT LOCATIONSCOURTROOMS
Central EastBarrie75 Mulcaster St.Court #: 15
Newmarket50 Eagle St. W.Court #: 401 and 402
Oshawa (Durham)150 Bond St.Court #: 205 and 208
Lindsay440 Kent St. W.Court #: 1
Central WestBrampton7755 Hurontario St.Court #: 211, 212, 213, 308, 408
Milton491 Steeles Ave. W.Court #: 5
Orangeville10 Louisa St.Court #: 204
Guelph74 Woolwich St.Court #: 1
Owen Sound611 9th Ave. E.Court #: 201
Central SouthBrantford70 Wellington St.Court #: 200
Hamilton45 Main St. E.
55 Main St. W.
Court #:  600 (45 Main St.),
1 (55 Main St.)
St. Catharines59 Church St.Court #: 10
Welland102 East Main St.Court #: 1
Kitchener (Waterloo)85 Frederick St.Court #: 201, 601
EastBelleville (Quinte)15 Bridge St. W.Court #: 102
Cornwall29 Second St. W.Court #: 5
Kingston5 Court St.Court #: D (Court St.)
Ottawa161 Elgin St.Court #: 34, 36
Pembroke297 Pembroke St. E.Court #: 3
NortheastNorth Bay360 Plouffe St.Court #: 302
Sault Ste. Marie426 Queen St. E.Court #: 1
Sudbury155 Elm St.Court #: A
NorthwestThunder Bay125 Brodie St. N.Court #:  205
SouthwestChatham425 Grand Ave.Court #: 201
London80 Dundas St.Court #: 19, 21
Sarnia700 Christina St. N.Court #: 202
St. Thomas (Elgin County)4 Wellington St.Court #: 200
Windsor245 Windsor St.Court #: 2, 4
Toronto130 Queen St. W.Court #: 3, 5, 6
330 Univ. Ave.Court #: 5-1; 7-1; 7-9; 8-1; 8-2; 8-6
361 Univ. Ave.Court #: 1-3; 2-3; 2-6; 4-7; 4-9 and 6-1
393 Univ. Ave.Court #: 602; 605; 607

Notice of Proceedings – Southwest Region

Effective July 6, 2020, the Regional Notice entitled Notice to the Profession – Second Expansion of Matters to be Heard in the Ontario Superior Court – Southwest Region (May 12, 2020) is rescinded.

All Criminal matters adjourned between March 16 and July 6 to fixed dates in July will be spoken to on the July dates as presently set. You will receive direction from each centre in the region from the trial co-ordinator or the local administrative judge as to whether your matter is set to be spoken to virtually or in person.

Further, as we progress, all future matters will remain on the dates as set subject to any further direction of the Court.  It should be noted that the actual commencement date for jury trials is still unknown.

In Family and Civil matters, counsel and litigants will be/or have been directed in each centre of the Region by trial co-ordination or the local administrative judge as to how matters will proceed and on what schedule.  All future matters will remain on the dates as set, subject to any further direction of the Court.

June 24, 2020.

Bruce G. Thomas
Regional Senior Justice

Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing documents at the Ontario Court of Justice (updated June 17, 2020)

The Ontario Court of Justice has modified procedures and practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has temporarily restricted the type of proceedings that may be brought before the Court.  For detailed information about these temporary procedures and practices, including details about which types of matters the Court is currently hearing, please refer to the family and  criminal notices on the COVID-19 Notices and Updates page on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

To support physical distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the number of people who can attend in a courthouse remains limited.  To reduce the need for in-person attendances at the courthouse to file documents, court filings can be temporarily submitted by email.  If you are unable to file documents by email, contact your local courthouse by email or telephone to find out about other options that are available or information about attending your local courthouse. In criminal cases, legal professionals (counsel and agents authorized under s. 800(2) of the Criminal Code) are required to file documents by email, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official.

Instructions for filing documents or submitting requests by email are as follows:

Filing Requests or Documents by Email

  1. Determine if your filing, document or request relates to a family matter or criminal matter that falls within the type of matters the Court is currently hearing, as described on the website of the Ontario Court of Justice.
  2. Documents and requests shall be sent by email to the appropriate courthouse. For a list of email addresses see Ontario Court of Justice – Courthouse Email Addresses.
  3. In order to ensure your request is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information:
    • LEVEL OF COURT (OCJ)
    • TYPE OF MATTER (Criminal, Family, CYFSA)
    • FILE NUMBER (for Family matters, indicate NEW if no court file number exists.)
    • TYPE OF DOCUMENT (Case Conference, Settlement Conference, Trial Management Conference, Focused Hearing, Motion, Urgent Application, Trial, Bring Forward Request, Trial Application to Exclude Evidence, Other Request)
  4. The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:
    1. Court file number (if known)
    2. Name and date of birth of the accused and charge(s)
    3. Details of next scheduled court appearance (date, courtroom and nature of appearance)
      Note:  if unsure of the next court date, include details of the last scheduled court appearance
    4. If a particular judicial officer is seized with the matter, the name of the officer.
    5. Nature of filing / request (e.g. bring forward request, probation variation)
    6. List and description of documents attached (note: attachments cannot exceed 35MB)
    7. Confirmation of service, setting out when and how any other party was served.
    8. Name, role (i.e. lawyer, agent, Crown, defence, etc.,) and contact information of the person submitting the request (email and phone number)

Additional Important Information

By submitting documents by email to the court, the member of the legal profession/ party agrees to accept email communication from the court with respect to the proceeding.

A formal affidavit of service does not need to be filed.  However, members of the legal profession/ parties should retain a copy of any relevant affidavit(s) of service and/or related documents (e.g. email confirmations) and be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

The materials should also include any prior orders or endorsements that were issued and that are relevant to the matter.

Where it is not possible to email a sworn affidavit, affidavits may be delivered unsworn but the affiant must be available to participate in any telephone or videoconference hearing to swear or affirm the contents of the affidavit.

These instructions are subject to direction from a judicial official.

Delivery/receipt of a document by email is not confirmation that the document has been accepted by the Court for filing.

Requests to bring an out of custody criminal matter before the Court are subject to approval by a judicial official. If a hearing is scheduled, the lawyer/party will be contacted and provided with details regarding the hearing, including arrangements for remote attendance, e.g. attendance by telephone.

If a hearing is not required (for example, an application to vary a probation condition that the judge decides in chambers), the party/counsel who submits the request and/or documents will be contacted and advised of the Court’s determination.

Legal Resources and Assistance

For information about resources that may be able to provide you with legal assistance in connection with your matter, please refer to the criminal and family notices on the COVID-19 Notices and Updates page on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

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

Published June 17, 2020

Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice resume July 6, 2020. 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 across the province, 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.

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 will be publicly available before July 6, 2020.

Do not attend the courthouse if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been advised by a public health official,  a physician or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.  Please contact your lawyer or, if you do not have a lawyer, please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to seek direction.

This Notice provides information specific to the resumption of trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020.  The content of this notice will be incorporated in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice prior to July 6, 2020.

Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will be provided in advance of July 6, 2020.

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.

1.    Resumption of Trials and Preliminary Inquiries on July 6. 2020, at Specified Court Locations

The Court will resume  hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courtrooms in all courthouses that are part of Phase One of the Ministry’s plan.  All trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody will proceed as scheduled in the following Ontario Court of Justice locations:

Ontario Court of Justice Courthouses where Trials and Preliminary Inquiries will Resume as of July 6, 2020
RegionCourthouses
Central EastBarrie, Newmarket, Oshawa (Durham), Lindsay
Central WestBrampton, Brantford, Hamilton, Milton, Orangeville, St Catharines
EastBelleville (Quinte), Cornwall, Kingston, Ottawa, Pembroke
NortheastNorth Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury
NorthwestThunder Bay
TorontoToronto North (1000 Finch Ave W), Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave E), Toronto West (2201 Finch Ave W), 311 Jarvis St, College Park (444 Yonge St), Old City Hall (60 Queen St W)
WestChatham, Guelph, Kitchener (Waterloo Region), London, Owen Sound, Sarnia, St Thomas (Elgin County), Windsor

All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

While court operations are expanding as part of Phase One, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remain restricted in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

In light of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance, and in light of the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties take reasonable steps to ensure matters scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry are ready to proceed.

Sections a to c, below, apply to trials and preliminary inquiries at the courthouse locations listed above.

a.    Filing of Pre-trial and Trial Applications

The temporary extension of filing deadlines for pre-trial and trial applications and related application materials established in section 5.3 of the of the Court’s COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice will end as of June 15, 2020.  All application materials in relation to trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to proceed on or after July 6, 2020, should be filed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.  Application materials that should have been filed with the Court on or before June 15, 2020, but for the previous deadline extension, should be filed by Friday, June 19, 2020.

Materials can be filed electronically in accordance with s. 5.2 of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

b.    Witnesses

All witnesses who have been subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled on or after July 6, 2020, must attend court on the scheduled date unless the party who subpoenaed them advises that their attendance is no longer necessary.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email or telephone.

c.    COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Judge and until further notice, all cases currently scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry will be spoken to approximately one week before the scheduled hearing date before a judge presiding in a special COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court. The purposes of the Trial Readiness Courts are:

(i) to confirm that trials or preliminary inquiries are ready to proceed on their hearing date; and

(ii) to assign cases into courtrooms that are open and operating.

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Justice, cases will appear in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week of the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry. Where the Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court will be held on Tuesday. For example, matters scheduled for trial or a preliminary inquiry during the week of July 6 – 10 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled for Monday, June 29. Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of July 13 – 17 will be addressed in the trial readiness court scheduled for Monday, July 6.

For details about the Trial Readiness Court in each court location, including scheduling information, see Ontario Court of Justice Trial Readiness Court.

All appearances in Trial Readiness Court will be by audioconference or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judge.

Accused persons who are represented by counsel do not need to be present for the Trial Readiness Court.

All counsel who speak to matters in Trial Readiness Court must be fully informed about the case and have authority to make binding decisions regarding the conduct of the case.

Accused persons who are not represented by counsel are to attend Trial Readiness Court by audioconference, or videoconference where applicable, to speak to their matter.

There is no need for counsel or accused persons to file a “bring forward” request or application to have their case addressed.

The Court expects the Crown and defence counsel will have communicated before Trial Readiness Court to identify and discuss any issues that may affect the scheduling or conduct of the hearing including, but not limited to:

  • whether, and on what basis, a party may be bringing an application to adjourn the case at the trial readiness court appearance;
  • any witnesses or parties who may be unable to attend court due to health concerns, public health orders or COVID-19 symptoms or other issues;
  • whether any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) will be conducted using remote technology.

The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court may hear and determine any application(s) regarding the scheduling or conduct of the hearing that the judge is satisfied should be determined in advance of the trial or preliminary inquiry date.  The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court will not hear applications that are reserved to the trial judge or in respect of a continuing trial or preliminary inquiry with which a different judge is seized.

Where the parties indicate a matter is going to resolve, the matter will be scheduled into a resolution court on or before the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry date, where feasible.

2.    Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in Other Courthouses

The Ministry of the Attorney General’s plan does not support any additional courtrooms during Phase One (July 6, 2020) other than the limited number in the courthouses listed above in section 1.  As a result, trials and preliminary inquiries will not be resuming at non-Phase One courthouses on July 6, 2020.

As the Ministry’s plan is implemented in other courthouse locations, trials and preliminary inquires will resume at those courthouse locations.  Notice will be given about which courthouse locations will be opening so that counsel and parties can prepare for the resumption of trials or preliminary inquiries.  Please check back on the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

3.    Other Court Proceedings will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquiries will be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody, remand and case management (set date) appearances.

Attendance in courtrooms for criminal matters other than trials and preliminary inquiries will continue to be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

The Court is actively working to expand opportunities for counsel and parties to attend court proceedings using remote technology.  Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will be provided in advance of July 6, 2020.

4.    Scheduling Trial and Preliminary Inquiry dates

The Court will begin rescheduling criminal trials and preliminary inquiries that were scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 but adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, later this month.

The Court will provide further details about the procedure for setting trial and preliminary inquiry dates shortly.

Counsel are reminded that a judicial pre-trial is mandatory in all cases that were scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 and adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for all cases with a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled between July 6, 2020 and October 31, 2020: see s. 6.2 of the Court’s COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

COVID-19 Pandemic – Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused (Updated May 22, 2020)

NOTE:  These dates are subject to change further due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please check back on this website before your next court date, in case that date changes.

If your matter is not a criminal matter, your adjournment dates will be different.

Adjournment dates in regular criminal case management courts

Unless your appearance is in one of the courts listed in the section below, your next appearance in criminal court is as follows:

If your matter is scheduled for….Your matter is adjourned to …
Initial adjournment dateNew adjournment date
Monday March 16Monday May 25*Monday August 10
Tuesday March 17Tuesday May 26*Tuesday August 4
Wednesday March 18Wednesday May 27*Wednesday August 5
Thursday March 19Thursday May 28*Thursday August 6
Friday March 20Friday May 29*Friday August 7
Monday March 23Monday June 1*Monday August 10
Tuesday March 24Tuesday June 2*Tuesday August 11
Wednesday March 25Wednesday June 3*Wednesday August 12
Thursday March 26Thursday June 4*Thursday August 13
Friday March 27Friday June 5*Friday August 14
Monday March 30Monday June 8*Monday August 17
Tuesday March 31Tuesday June 9*Tuesday August 18
Wednesday April 1Wednesday June 10*Wednesday August 19
Thursday April 2Thursday June 11*Thursday August 20
Friday April 3Friday June 12*Friday August 21
Monday April 6Monday June 15*Monday August 24
Tuesday April 7Tuesday June 16*Tuesday August 25
Wednesday April 8Wednesday June 17*Wednesday August 26
Thursday April 9Thursday June 18*Thursday August 27
Tuesday April 14Tuesday June 23*Tuesday September 1
Wednesday April 15Wednesday June 24*Wednesday September 2
Thursday April 16Thursday June 25*Thursday September 3
Friday April 17Friday June 26*Friday September 4
Monday April 20Monday June 29*Monday September 7
Tuesday April 21Tuesday June 30*Tuesday September 8
Wednesday April 22Monday June 22*Wednesday September 9
Thursday April 23Thursday July 2*Thursday September 10
Friday April 24Friday July 3*Friday September 11
Monday April 27Monday July 6
Tuesday April 28Tuesday July 7
Wednesday April 29Wednesday July 8
Thursday April 30Thursday July 9
Friday May 1Friday July 10
Monday May 4Monday July 13
Tuesday May 5Tuesday July 14
Wednesday May 6Wednesday July 15
Thursday May 7Thursday July 16
Friday May 8Friday July 17
Monday May 11Monday July 20
Tuesday May 12Tuesday July 21
Wednesday May 13Wednesday July 22
Thursday May 14Thursday July 23
Friday May 15Friday July 24
Tuesday May 19Tuesday July 28
Wednesday May 20Wednesday July 29
Thursday May 21Thursday July 30
Friday May 22Friday July 31
Monday May 25Monday August 10**
Tuesday May 26Tuesday August 4
Wednesday May 27Wednesday August 5
Thursday May 28Thursday August 6
Friday May 29Friday August 7
Monday June 1Monday August 10
Tuesday June 2Tuesday August 11
Wednesday June 3Wednesday August 12
Thursday June 4Thursday August 13
Friday June 5Friday August 14
Monday June 8Monday August 17
Tuesday June 9Tuesday August 18
Wednesday June 10Wednesday August 19
Thursday June 11Thursday August 20
Friday June 12Friday August 21
Monday June 15Monday August 24
Tuesday June 16Tuesday August 25
Wednesday June 17Wednesday August 26
Thursday June 18Thursday August 27
Friday June 19Friday August 28
Monday June 22Monday August 31
Tuesday June 23Tuesday September 1
Wednesday June 24Wednesday September 2
Thursday June 25Thursday September 3
Friday June 26Friday September 4
Monday June 29Monday September 14***
Tuesday June 30Tuesday September 8
Thursday July 2Thursday September 10
Friday July 3Friday September 11

* These dates will be adjourned twice, as they were originally adjourned to a date in May or June.

** This adjournment date is different because August 3 is a statutory holiday.

*** This adjournment date is different because September 7 is a statutory holiday.

Special criminal case management court dates

Because the courts listed below do not always hold case management court on a consistent weekday schedule, cases will be adjourned approximately 10 weeks to the date specified below.

Central East Region

Barrie, Bracebridge, Bradford, Collingwood, Huntsville, Lindsay, Midland, Northumberland, Orillia

Central West Region

Fort Erie
Wednesday March 18Is adjourned toTuesday August 18
(initially adjourned to June 16)
Tuesday April 21Is adjourned toTuesday July 21
Tuesday May 19Is adjourned toTuesday August 18
Tuesday June 16Is adjourned toTuesday August 18

East Region

Alexandria, Killaloe, Morrisburg, Renfrew

Northeast Region

Attawapiskat, Blind River, Chapleau, Cochrane, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Albany, Gogama, Gore Bay, Hearst, Homepayne, Kapuskasing, Kashechewan, Mattawa, Moosonee, Parry Sound, Smooth Rock Falls, Sturgeon Falls, Sudbury, Sundridge, Wawa, Wikwemikong

Northwest Region

Dryden Satellite Courts Big Trout Lake, Ignace, Kasabonika, Lac Seul, Pickle Lake, Mishkeegogamang, Red Lake, Wapekeka, Weagamow

Fort Frances Satellite Courts:  Atikokan, Rainy River

Kenora Satellite Courts:  Bearskin Lake, Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Muskrat Dam, North Spirit Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Sachigo Lake, Sandy Lake, Wunnumin Lake

Thunder Bay Satellite Courts:  Armstrong, Fort Hope , Geraldton, Lansdowne House, Longlac, Manitouwadge, Marathon, Nipigon, Ogoki Post, Summer Beaver, Webequie

Toronto Region

Old City Hall’s L court (Child Abuse / Domestic Early resolution)

West Region

Exeter, Leamington, Walpole Island First Nation

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public Re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (May 19, 2020)

*This Notice supersedes previously announced notices.

Effective Date:  May 19, 2020

  • 1. INTRODUCTION
  • 2. APPLICATION
  • 3. LIMITATION PERIODS UNDER THE PROVINCIAL OFFENCES ACT
  • 4. SCHEDULING DIRECTIVES
    • 4.1 Suspension of All Proceedings
    • 4.2 Suspension of All Appeals
    • 4.3 Judicial Pre-Trials
    • 4.4 Young Persons
  • 5. ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES
    • 5.1 Electronic Signatures

1. INTRODUCTION

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province of Ontario extended the Declaration of Emergency until June 2, 2020.  In light of the uncertainty about the duration of the state of emergency in Ontario, the Ontario Court of Justice will continue to operate on a reduced schedule.

Until further notice, no Provincial Offences Act proceedings will be conducted until July 6, 2020, except for remote judicial pre-trials as described below in s. 4.3.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General and representatives of Provincial Offences courts, to determine if technology can be used to increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means, such as by the electronic filing of court material, remote scheduling processes, and remote hearings. The Court is also working with justice partners to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Given the continued recommendations by public health authorities for everyone to stay home as much as possible and to maintain a safe distance from others, people are strongly discouraged from attending any courthouse.

Do not come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor, or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates to this Notice.

2. APPLICATION

This Notice applies to all Provincial Offences Act matters before the Ontario Court of Justice.

3. LIMITATION PERIODS UNDER THE PROVINCIAL OFFENCES ACT

All limitation periods under the Provincial Offences Act have been suspended by an order under s. 7.1.2(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This order is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200073

4. SCHEDULING DIRECTIVES

4.1 Suspension of All Proceedings

Except as otherwise noted in this practice direction, all Provincial Offences Act (POA) proceedings scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday, July 3, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. If you have a proceeding scheduled during this time, do not attend court. This applies to all Provincial Offences courts in Ontario.

Judicial pre-trials may proceed during this time by audio or video conference. If this applies to your case, you will be notified with the date and time and the audio or video conferencing details. Judicial pre-trials are addressed below in section 4.3.

A notice of the new court date will be sent to both parties by mail to the address on file with the court. For more information, please contact your local Provincial Offences court.

Contact information for all Provincial Offences courts is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/poa/

4.2 Suspension of All Appeals

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, July 3, 2020 will be adjourned.

All POA appeals scheduled between Monday March 16 and Friday May 29 will be adjourned to a date approximately 10 weeks from the original date. To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.  These dates are subject to change. Please check back on this website before your next court date to confirm the date.

The Court will publish an update shortly regarding POA appeals that are currently scheduled to occur on or after June 1, 2020.

If you need to update your address with the court, please contact the courthouse where the appeal is scheduled to be heard. A listing of all court addresses is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

4.3 Judicial Pre-Trials

Judicial pre-trials will be held by audio or video conference.  Cases subject to judicial pre-trials will be determined by local protocol. Parties will be notified of the date and time of the judicial pre-trial and the information for attending the audio or video conference.

4.4 Young Persons

Provincial Offences Act matters where the defendant is a young person (individual under 16 years of age) are scheduled to appear and be heard in a provincially-administered Ontario Court of Justice. As a result, these matters will be adjourned consistent with adjournments in criminal court.

These matters scheduled between Monday March 16 and Friday May 29 will be rescheduled to a date approximately 10 weeks from the original date. To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.  These dates are subject to change. Please check back on this website before your next court date to confirm the date.

The Court will publish an update shortly regarding court appearances that are currently scheduled to occur on or after June 1, 2020.

If you need to update your address with the court, please contact the courthouse where the matter is scheduled to be heard. A listing of all provincially-administered court addresses is available here: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

5. ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES

5.1 Electronic Signatures

The Ontario Court of Justice will accept electronically signed documents where a signature is required. An electronic signature consists of electronic information that identifies the signatory and the date and place of signing. For example, you may type your name as your signature.

Consolidated Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons, Public and the Media

Re: Expanded Operations of Ontario Superior Court of Justice, effective May 19, 2020

May 13, 2020

  • A. INTRODUCTION
  • B. SUSPENSION OF IN-COURT HEARINGS AND JURY TRIALS
  • C. PROCEDURES GOVERNING ALL SCJ PROCEEDINGS DURING SUSPENSION OF IN-COURT OPERATIONS
    • 1. Responsibilities of Lawyers and Parties During Suspension of In-Court Operations, including Mediation
    • 2. Gowning
    • 3. Manner of Hearing
    • 4. Etiquette During Virtual Hearings
    • 5. Public and media access to SCJ Virtual Hearings
    • 6. Recording of SCJ Virtual Hearings
    • 7. Communicating with Court, Staff and Trial Coordinators
    • 8. Filings
    • 9. Commissioning of Affidavits
  • D. PROCEDURES GOVERNING CRIMINAL MATTERS
    • 1. Criminal Matters Suspended Effective March 17, 2020 and further by Order of May 5, 2020
    • 2. Filings in Criminal Matters
    • 3. Trials
    • 4. Witnesses, Lawyers and Jurors
    • 5. Sureties
    • 6. Criminal Matters that the Court will Hear
    • 7. Remote Proceedings
    • 8. Resumption of Normal Operations

A. INTRODUCTION

Effective March 17, 2020 and to address the safety of all who use and work in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ), the Court suspended its regular operations in courthouses due to public health concerns related to COVID-19. It implemented processes to have ONLY urgent matters heard through virtual means.  Notices to the Profession were issued on March 15, 2020 identifying the urgent matters that would be heard.  On April 2, 2020, further Notices to the Profession were issued expanding the scope of matters that would be heard in each region.

This Notice consolidates previous province-wide direction in a single document so that reference to previous provincial Notices relating to COVID-19 is not required.

While in-court operations were suspended, the SCJ has not closed.  It continues to expand its operations virtually – in writing, or by telephone or video conference hearings.  During this suspension of regular in-court operations, lawyers and parties are expected to take an active role in moving cases forward to final settlement or disposition, including seeking and attending virtual court attendances.

This Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons, Public and the Media (“Notice”), effective on May 19, 2020, supersedes previous provincial Notices issued between March 15, 2020 to May 5, 2020 relating to the COVID-19 crisis, except the Notice regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations (May 4, 2020).

This provincial Notice is supplemented by Regional Notices.  Each region of the Court has similarly issued new Regional Notices on May 13, 2020, which supersede previous Regional Notices.  They are also effective on May 19, 2020.   Regional Notices and the process to follow to have a matter heard may be found at:

This Notice and the Regional Notices, together, further expand the scope of work of the Court, effective May 19, 2020, and the process that will be followed.

The Court is grateful for the tremendous support it has received from the Attorney General and the bar.  It is committed to overcoming this crisis as quickly as possible, and to significantly modernizing its operations for the future.

B. SUSPENSION OF IN-COURT HEARINGS AND JURY TRIALS

Given the on-going public health situation due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty as to when it will be safe to return to courthouses, the SCJ:

  1. Will not resume in-person hearings of any court matters until July 6, 2020, at the earliest.  It will, however, continue to hear matters virtually, and expects to shortly further expand the scope of matters that will be heard virtually.
  2. Will not recommence criminal or civil jury selection or jury trials until September, 2020at the earliest.

For civil jury matters, each region of the Court will consider how it can best reschedule civil jury trials that were to have been heard during this suspension of regular operations.  Details will be provided in Regional Notices as they become available.

C. PROCEDURES GOVERNING ALL SCJ PROCEEDINGS DURING SUSPENSION OF IN-COURT OPERATIONS

1. Responsibilities of Lawyers and Parties During Suspension of In-Court Operations, including Mediation

During this temporary suspension of in-court operations, counsel and parties are expected to comply with existing orders and rules of procedure, as well as procedures in this and other Regional Notices, to bring cases closer to resolution, to the extent they can safely do so through virtual means.  This guidance also applies to self-represented parties.

For example, where it is possible through virtual means to comply with procedural timelines, produce documents, engage in discoveries, attend pre-trials, case conferences and hearings, and respond to undertakings, those steps should be pursued.  Where COVID-19 has prevented lawyers and parties from fulfilling their obligations, they should be prepared to explain to the Court why COVID-19 has rendered compliance not feasible.

The Court also calls upon the cooperation of counsel and parties to engage in every effort to resolve matters. For civil proceedings, this includes attendance at mediation – whether prescribed or not – where a mediator is willing to engage in a virtual mediation.  Family mediation services are discussed in section E below.

In criminal matters, the Court encourages judicial pre-trials on matters that have been adjourned and is open to suggestions from counsel on creative ways to resolve, streamline or move matters forward by remote or alternate processes. This includes applications in writing, oral submissions made remotely and the possibility of evidentiary hearings by remote processes in the appropriate circumstances.

2. Gowning

The requirement to gown for an appearance in the SCJ is suspended.  Counsel, parties and others participating in video hearings are expected to dress in appropriate business attire.  Judges will similarly dress in business attire.

3. Manner of Hearing

During the suspension of in-court operations, matters will only be heard in-writing, or by telephone or video conference. Counsel and parties will be advised by trial coordination staff on how to connect to telephone and video conference hearings.

4. Etiquette During Virtual Hearings

Hearing participants should have an appropriate technical set-up and observe etiquette appropriate to the nature of remote hearings. Some guidance on these points can be found on the https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/remote-hearings/.

5. Public and media access to SCJ Virtual Hearings

The SCJ remains committed to the open court principle throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any member of the media or the public who wishes to hear/observe a remote proceeding may email their request to the local courthouse staff in advance of the hearing. The person requesting access should advise of the hearing they wish to hear/observe, and their contact information.

Every effort will be made to provide the requestor with information on how they may hear/observe the proceeding.

Certain proceedings are closed to the media and public by legislation or court order.

The Court posts matters scheduled to be heard by the Court at ontariocourtdates.ca so that the media can know what matters are being heard and can contact the court to learn how to hear or observe a proceeding.

In addition, section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act restricts the recording by a member of the public of a court hearing.

6. Recording of SCJ Virtual Hearings

Due to resource constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic, some SCJ proceedings are being recorded on devices other than Digital Recording Devices. This should not be a barrier to accessing recordings.

Under this Notice, section C of Part VI of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction (Release of Digital Court Recordings) also applies to all digital court recordings that meet all of the following criteria:

  • the recording is of a Superior Court of Justice hearing that took place remotely after March 17, 2020;
  • the recording was made by the presiding judicial official, by another person at the direction of the presiding judicial official or by staff of the Court Services Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General; and
  • the recording is in the possession of the Court Services Division.

Also under this Notice, digital court recordings made on a device other than a Digital Recording Device will not have annotations.

7. Communicating with Court, Staff and Trial Coordinators

Counsel and self-represented persons shall not communicate directly with a judge, unless the court directs otherwise. Counsel and self-represented persons will communicate with court staff and trial coordinators by email pursuant to a Region’s Notice.

The below direction should be followed when communicating by email with court staff and trial coordinators.

  1. To ensure the email is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information:
    • LEVEL OF COURT (SCJ)
    • TYPE OF MATTER (Criminal, Family, Civil, Commercial List, Estates)
    • FILE NUMBER (indicate NEW if no court file number exists)
    • TYPE OF DOCUMENT (e.g., Motion, Conference Brief, Other Request)
  2. The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:
    1. court file number (if it is an existing file)
    2. short title of proceeding
    3. list of documents attached (note: attachments cannot exceed 35 MB)
    4. type of request
    5. name, role (i.e. lawyer, representative, party, etc.,) and contact information of person submitting the request (LSO #, email and phone number)

8. Filings

The Court expects parties will only submit brief materials to allow for a fair, timely and summary disposition. Emailed filings cannot exceed 35MB.  If the size of electronically filed material exceeds 35MB, further emails may be sent within the 35MB maximum.  Every effort must be made, however, to limit filed materials to only those necessary for the hearing.

Filings must also comply with restrictions that have been placed on the length of material that can be submitted in connection with each event, such as limits on the number of pages for an affidavit or conference brief.  Refer to the relevant regional Notice for these requirements.

Unless a matter is proceeding ex parte (i.e. without notice to responding parties), filed materials must indicate when and how service on responding parties was made.

Filed materials should also include any prior orders or endorsements that were issued and that are relevant to the request(s) being made.

Caselaw and other source materials referenced in factum should be hyperlinked. Where hyperlinks are provided, it will not be necessary to file Books of Authorities.

Responding material shall be filed in the same manner as a moving party/applicant. The trial coordinator will provide to the parties the triage judge’s schedule for the service and filing of any responding material.

9. Commissioning of Affidavits

Pursuant to section 9 of the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.17, when an affidavit is sworn, every oath and declaration “shall be taken by the deponent in the presence of” the commissioner, notary public, justice of the peace or other officer or person administering the oath or declaration.

The Law Society of Ontario has interpreted the requirement to be “in the presence of” the deponent, found in section 9 of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act, as not requiring the lawyer or paralegal to be in the physical presence of the client.  Rather, alternative means of commissioning such as commissioning via video conference will be sufficient.

Accordingly, where it is not possible to administer an oath in the physical presence of the deponent, a lawyer or paralegal may commission an affidavit by video.  The affidavit should state that it was commissioned by video conference.

Where it is not possible to commission an affidavit by video conference, an unsworn affidavit may be delivered to the Court, but the deponent must be able to participate in any telephone or videoconference hearing to swear or affirm the affidavit.

D. PROCEDURES GOVERNING CRIMINAL MATTERS

1. Criminal Matters Suspended Effective March 17, 2020 and further by Order of May 5, 2020

By my Order, dated May 5, 2020, and unless the court orders otherwise, criminal appearances have been adjourned as follows:

a. Matters originally scheduled for appearances in March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 are further adjourned to July 6, 2020.

  1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on July 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in March 2020,
  2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 2, 2020, is extended to July 6, 2020,
  3. if the person fails to appear on July 6, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
  4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

b. Matters originally scheduled in April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020.

  1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in April 2020,
  2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 3, 2020 is extended to July 7, 2020,
  3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 7, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
  4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

c. Matters originally scheduled in May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020.

  1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on July 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May 2020,
  2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 4, 2020 is extended to July 8, 2020,
  3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 8, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
  4. the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

d. Accused persons with matters scheduled in the SCJ in the month of June 2020 and on July 2 and 3, 2020 must now appear on July 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in June, 2020.

  1. A bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in June on which the person was scheduled to appear,
  2. if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 9, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
  3. the bench warrant with discretion is issued as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

Persons scheduled to appear in the SCJ on July 6, 7, 8 and 9 should do so as scheduled.

The Order extends, as necessary, all warrants of remand for accused persons in custody to whom the Order applies.

At a future date, Notice will be given of an orderly process for the re-booking of trial and motions dates affected by this Notice and that of March 15, 2020.

2. Filings in Criminal Matters

a. Electronic Filing: The SCJ will dispense with the requirement to file documents personally and in hardcopy pursuant to rule 2.01 of its Criminal Proceedings Rules. Pursuant to ss. 841-844 of the Criminal Code, all criminal filings with the SCJ are to be done electronically, by way of email to the email addresses indicated in the Regional Notices. Some filings are to be directed to Court staff others to trial coordinators. Trial Coordinators email addresses can be accessed here.  See email list here

When a document has been filed electronically, it is not necessary to file a paper copy.

b. Electronic Signatures: The SCJ will accept electronically signed documents where a signature is required.  An electronic signature consists of electronic information that identifies the signatory and the date and place of signing.

c. Electronic Service:The SCJ will dispense with the requirement for personal service where personal service is required.  In place of personal service, pursuant to rules 5.05(4) and 5.01(6), the SCJ directs service of all materials under the rules be done by email to the opposing party with proof of service.

d. Proof of Service: When a document has been served by email and is being filed by email, a formal affidavit of service is not required to be filed.  However, the person filing the document should retain a copy of any relevant affidavit(s) of service and/or related documents (e.g., email confirmations) and should be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

e. Affidavits – refer to Section C, subsection 9 above.

f. Self-represented accused persons are strongly encouraged to file documents electronically whenever possible. Access to courthouses is strictly limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If unable to file materials for a criminal matter by email, self-represented persons should contact their local courthouse by email or telephone for directions as to how to proceed. Contact information for all SCJ courthouses are posted on the Ministry of the Attorney General website.

Please note that the court will only accept emailed filings for those matters that can proceed during the suspension period pursuant to a Regional Notice.

g. Books of Authorities: Caselaw and other source materials referenced in factum should be hyperlinked. Where hyperlinks are provided, it will not be necessary to file a Book of Authority.

h. Transcripts: Counsel launching an appeal, extraordinary motion or otherwise who must file a transcript should make efforts to file electronic versions of the transcripts. Wherever possible, the parties should contact the transcriptionist and seek an electronic version for filing signed per the above.

3. Trials

By my Orders datedMarch 15, 2020 and May 5, 2020, trials and in-person proceedings were suspended and adjourned. Currently the suspension is in effect until July 6, 2020.

The Court will not recommence criminal or civil jury selection or jury trials until September, 2020, at the earliest.

In-person judge alone trials and all other in-person appearances will not resume until July 6, 2020, at the earliest.

4. Witnesses, Lawyers and Jurors

Upcoming trials: Witnesses, lawyers and jurors should not attend court for trials or any matters between March 17 and July 6, 2020 and for jury matters to September, 2020 unless specifically ordered to do so by the presiding judge. Jurors and witnesses will be notified when to attend.

Witnesses, lawyers and jurors involved in jury trials that were in progress received direction from the presiding judge on March 16, 2020.

5. Sureties

Defence counsel are responsible for arranging to confirm sureties’ identification and to assist them to sign bail by signing an electronic bail release and scanning it back to the court registrar to be forwarded to the institution, or as otherwise directed by the Court.

6. Criminal Matters that the Court will Hear

Please refer to the updated Regional Notices that set out the many matters that the Court will deal with in addition to the initial urgent matters prioritized by the Court when in-person operations were first suspended on March 17, 2020.

Urgent matters include: Bail, Bail Review, Detention Review, Guilty Pleas and Sentencing will continue to be prioritized for in-custody persons in urgent circumstances. Habeas corpus applications will be conducted.

7. Remote Proceedings

The Court encourages and is open to suggestions from counsel on creative ways to resolve, streamline or move matters forward by remote or alternate processes. This includes applications in writing, oral submissions made remotely and the possibility of evidentiary hearings by remote processes in the appropriate circumstances.

Counsel are encouraged to book judicial pre-trials and raise these suggestions with the Court at the judicial pre-trial.

The court will utilize to the fullest extent Criminal Code provisions permitting matters to be heard by audio, or if necessary, video, written applications or, where appropriate, in the absence of the accused.

Parties are urged to provide consent to the use of these alternative processes to the fullest extent possible, where such consent is required.

Assistance to self-represented persons may be available through a roster of volunteers from the criminal defence bar.

8. Resumption of Normal Operations

In the weeks ahead, the Court will finalize a plan to resume regular operations.  Criminal matters are scheduled to return commencing July 6, except jury trials and jury selection which is currently scheduled to resume in September, at the earliest.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice

COVID-19 Pandemic – Scheduling of Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

*This Notice supersedes previously announced COVID-19 criminal notices and directives.

1. INTRODUCTION

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency until May 19, 2020.  In light of the uncertainty about the duration of the state of emergency in Ontario, the Ontario Court of Justice will continue to operate on a reduced schedule.

No trials or preliminary inquiries will be conducted until July 6, 2020 at the earliest, unless a judge seized with a continuing matter orders otherwise and the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place. All criminal court appearances in the Ontario Court of Justice between Monday March 16 and Friday May 29 involving accused persons who are not in custody will be adjourned, in the absence of the accused person, as discussed in detail below.  An update regarding out-of-custody appearances that were scheduled to occur between June 1, 2020 and July 3, 2020 will be posted soon.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to expand the range of matters it adjudicates.  As of Monday May 11, the Court will expand its operations to accommodate resolutions of criminal charges involving persons who are out of custody, where the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place. The Court’s existing inventory of cases will be actively case managed through the use of judicial pre-trials.

The Court is working to adopt technology that will increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means, including the electronic filing of court material, and remote hearings. The Court is also working with justice partners to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Given the continued recommendations by public health authorities for everyone to stay home as much as possible and to maintain a safe distance from others, people are strongly discouraged from attending any courthouse. All proceedings will be held by audioconference or videoconference unless otherwise directed.

Do not come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor, or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates to this Notice.

2. APPLICATION

This Notice applies to all criminal matters, including matters under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, before the Ontario Court of Justice.

For purposes of this Notice, the term “defence counsel” includes duty counsel and agents authorized under s. 800(2) of the Criminal Code.

3. LEGAL ASSISTANCE FROM LEGAL AID ONTARIO

If you need legal help and do not have a lawyer, contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1?800?668?8258 or through Bell Relay service at 1-800-855-0511, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST).  You may qualify for help in court the same day, legal advice, or a lawyer for your whole matter. If you have recently been arrested, legal aid duty counsel may also be available to provide help to you when you are at the police station.

4.  SCHEDULING DIRECTIVES

4.1 Suspension of All Trials and Preliminary Inquiries

All criminal trials and preliminary inquiries that were scheduled to be held between Friday March 20, 2020 and Friday July 3, 2020, including trials and preliminary inquiries involving people who are in custody, are suspended, unless a judge seized with a continuing matter orders otherwise and the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place.

Trials and preliminary inquiries for accused persons who are in custody will be adjourned to a date as directed by the presiding judicial officer during a scheduled court appearance.

All trials and preliminary inquiries for accused persons who are not in custody will be adjourned in the absence of the accused in accordance with section 4.3(a) of this Notice.

The Court is not currently setting criminal trial or preliminary inquiry dates because of continued uncertainty as to when full operations will resume and the need to prioritize within the Court’s caseload.

The Court will continue to monitor public health advisories and will issue further directives regarding the scheduling of trials and preliminary inquiries, including providing information about the process for setting trial and preliminary inquiry dates.

For now, parties should assume that criminal trials and preliminary inquiries currently scheduled to take place on or after July 6, 2020 will proceed as scheduled.  There is no need to attend for a second event or a trial confirmation date scheduled between now and July 3, 2020.

Please continue to monitor this website for updated scheduling directives.

4.2 Matters Involving People in Custody

a. Scheduled Appearances

People who are in custody on a criminal charge(s) will continue to appear for all scheduled court appearances, including bail proceedings, case management (remand) appearances, and plea proceedings.

This includes all appearances and proceedings under the Youth Criminal Justice Act involving young persons who are in custody, including detention reviews under s. 30.1, bail de novo hearings under s. 33, and sentence reviews under ss. 94 – 96 of the YCJA.

For details regarding bail proceedings, consult the COVID-19:  Ontario Court of Justice Bail Hearing Protocol.  For details regarding guilty plea proceedings involving people who are in custody, see Section 7 of this Notice.

b. Process for Obtaining a Judge’s Order to Bring a Person in Custody Before the Court

Where an in-custody accused person’s matter is being brought forward to be addressed in court for purposes of a guilty plea, bail hearing, or other type of appearance, counsel should notify the Trial Coordinator to request to have the matter brought forward to a new date.  The email subject line should indicate “Judge’s Order Request” and include the accused person’s name and date of the court appearance. The body of the email should include the accused person’s name and date of birth (where known), the correctional facility where they are detained, the date and time and courtroom where they are requested to appear and the nature of the appearance (audioconference or videoconference).

The request will be reviewed by a judge.  If the judge approves the request, an email confirming that a judge has ordered the accused person’s appearance will be sent to the correctional facility, the court clerk, defence counsel and the Crown at least 24 hours in advance of the new date.

Where this procedure is followed, a formal application for a judge’s order under s. 527 of the Criminal Code is not required.

4.3 Matters Involving People not in Custody

a. Automatic Adjournment of Criminal Court Appearances Involving Accused Persons not in Custody

If you are not in custody and have a criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice between Monday March 16, 2020 and Friday May 29, 2020  do not attend courtThe court will adjourn your matter without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion”, which will require you to attend court on the new date.

All criminal court appearances between Monday March 16 and Friday May 29 involving accused persons who are not in custody will be adjourned, in the absence of the accused person, to a date approximately 10 weeks from the original date. To find out what date your matter is being adjourned to, see the list of adjournment dates.  These dates are subject to change. Please check back on this website before your next court date to confirm the date.

The Court will publish an update shortly regarding court appearances that are currently scheduled to occur on or after June 1, 2020.

b. Resolutions (including guilty pleas)

Guilty plea proceedings involving persons who are not in custody can be scheduled in urgent situations, for example, where there is a deadline for eligibility for a particular program (e.g., Stream A in impaired driving) or where an accused is on particularly onerous bail conditions.

In addition, where the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place, appearances may be scheduled for accused persons who are not in custody to resolve their matter, including by withdrawal, stay, peace bond or guilty plea.

c. Requests to Bring Urgent Out-of-Custody Matters Before the Court

An accused person who is not in custody may request to have their matter brought forward to be addressed before the Court if it is urgent.  Urgent matters are matters that require the Court’s attention before the next court date.  Examples include:  urgent guilty pleas (see above), urgent applications to vary police undertakings, and urgent applications to vary probation or conditional sentence conditions.

If you have an urgent criminal matter, please speak with your lawyer.  If you do not have a lawyer, please contact Legal Aid Ontario at 1-800-668-8258 for assistance in submitting a request to have your matter brought before the Court.  Requests to bring a matter forward are subject to judicial approval.  The Court expects that the parties (defence and Crown/prosecutor) will have discussed the matter before a request is submitted.4.4 Other Matters

A judicial official will continue to be available to preside over the following additional essential and urgent criminal and regulatory matters:

  • matters related to public health and safety and the COVID-19 pandemic, including matters under the Quarantine Act and the Health Protection and Protection Act;
  • swearing of Informations and confirmation of process by police officers;
  • surety revocations,
  • search warrants and any other urgent investigative warrants (tracking warrants, transmission data recorder warrants, production orders),
  • Form 2 Mental Health Act applications,
  • Child Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) apprehension warrants,
  • any necessary and urgent Provincial Offences Act (POA) intake matters in courthouses that also deal with POA

Before attending at the courthouse in relation to one of these matters, please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to find out whether the matter can be dealt with by audioconference or videoconference.

4.5 Remote proceedings

All proceedings will be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise specified in this Notice or as otherwise directed by a judicial official.

Attendance in courtrooms for criminal matters will be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

5. SERVING AND FILING COURT DOCUMENTS

5.1 Serving by Email

Court documents can be served by email pursuant to rule 3.3(1) of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

5.2 Filing by Email

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to avoid the need for personal attendance at courthouses, the following procedure for electronic filing has been established under Rules 5 and 3(2) of the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Documents in criminal proceedings may be filed electronically (by email), in accordance with the Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing urgent documents at the Ontario Court of Justice, or otherwise in accordance with the direction of a judge or justice of the peace.

When a document has been filed electronically, it is not necessary to file a paper copy.

When a document has been served by email and is being filed by email, a formal affidavit of service is not required to be filed.  However, the person filing the document should retain a copy of any relevant affidavit(s) of service and/or related documents (e.g., email confirmations) and should be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

Counsel are required to file documents electronically rather than in paper unless a judge or justice of the peace orders otherwise.

Self-represented accused persons are strongly encouraged to file documents electronically whenever possible. Access to courthouses is strictly limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you are unable to file materials for a criminal matter by email, please contact your local courthouse by email or telephone, or by attending at your local courthouse.  The addresses and phone numbers of all Ontario Court of Justice courthouses are posted on the Ministry of the Attorney General website.

5.3 Temporary Extension of Filing Deadlines for Pre-trial and Trial Applications

Application materials in relation to a trial, preliminary inquiry or application that is scheduled to proceed on or after July 6, 2020 should not be filed with the Court until further notice.  This directive will remain in effect until at least June 15, 2020.  Counsel should consult the Court’s website for updates as any filing deadline approaches.

Despite the extension of filing deadlines, materials related to pre-trial applications and trial applications should continue to be served on the opposing party in accordance with the timelines set out in the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice for any trial, preliminary inquiry or application that is scheduled to proceed on or after July 6, 2020.

5.4 Electronic Signatures

The Ontario Court of Justice will accept electronically signed documents where a signature is required.  An electronic signature consists of electronic information that identifies the signatory and the date and place of signing.

5.5 Commissioning Affidavits

Counsel are encouraged to refer to the guidelines of the Law Society of Ontario with respect to virtual commissioning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Frequently Asked Practice Management Questions about COVID-19.

Where it is not possible for counsel to commission an affidavit in person or by virtual means, unsworn / unaffirmed affidavits may be filed with the Court, but the affiant is expected to be available to attend the hearing by audioconference or videoconference to swear or affirm the contents of the affidavit.

6. JUDICIAL PRE-TRIALS

6.1 Availability of Judicial Pre-trials

To ensure the fair and timely resolution of criminal charges, to reduce trial continuations and collapse rates, and to address the backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice will continue to offer judicial pre-trials (JPTs) to address resolution options (including withdrawals or guilty pleas), accurate time estimates, and procedural and evidentiary issues that promote the proper use of trial time.

6.2 Mandatory Judicial Pre-trials

In addition to the existing range of cases that are subject to JPTs as specified in the Court’s Judicial Criminal Pre-Trial Best Practices, JPTs will be mandatory in the following types of cases.

Unless a Regional Senior Judge directs otherwise, a JPT must be held in respect of all criminal proceedings, including YCJA proceedings:

  1. that were scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 that was, or will be, adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  2. that are scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between July 6, 2020 and October 30, 2020.

JPTs are not required in respect of continuing trials or preliminary inquiries with which a judge is seized.

The JPT is to address resolution and case management. The issues that will be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. any issues in relation to judicial interim release (where relevant);
  2. potential resolution of the matter;
  3. whether all or part of the trial / preliminary inquiry can be completed through the use of remote technology;
  4. the evidentiary and procedural issues at the trial / preliminary inquiry, including what admissions can be made; and
  5. how best to promote the proper use of hearing time, including exploring the use of written submissions and establishing accurate time estimates for the trial / preliminary inquiry.

Priority in scheduling JPTs will be based on the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry date.

6.3 Judicial Pre-Trial Materials

The parties are expected to exchange and provide to the Court, at least three business days prior to the scheduled JPT, any materials that may assist with resolution discussions and/or trial management issues.  See Section 5.2 regarding the electronic filing of documents with the Court.

6.4 Manner of Conducting Judicial Pre-Trials

All JPTs will be held by videoconference or audioconference, unless otherwise directed by the presiding judge.

Unless otherwise directed by the presiding judge, where the accused is represented by counsel, JPTs will take place off the record by videoconference or audioconference.

Where the accused person is not represented by counsel, JPTs will take place on the record and by videoconference, unless otherwise directed by the presiding judge.  The pretrial will be closed to the public and the record of the JPT will not be released to any person without judicial direction.

7. GUILTY PLEA PROCEEDINGS

7.1 Guilty Plea Proceedings Currently being Scheduled

The Court will continue to hear guilty pleas by accused persons who are in custody and urgent guilty pleas by persons who are out of custody, for example, where there is a deadline for eligibility for a particular program (e.g. Stream A in impaired driving), or where an accused is on particularly onerous bail conditions.

In addition, the Court will also hear non-urgent guilty pleas by accused persons who are not in custody, where the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place.

Priority will be given to guilty pleas involving accused persons who are in custody.

7.2 Pre-Court Preparations and Discussions

The Crown and defence counsel should communicate before the guilty plea proceeding is scheduled to confirm details regarding the plea, including (i) the count(s) to which the accused will be entering a plea, (ii) the facts underlying the plea; and (iii) the position each of the parties will be taking with respect to sentence.

Advance discussions are particularly important because current technological constraints may make it difficult for defence counsel and the accused person to have a private conversation during a remote appearance, although this must be accommodated wherever possible should the need arise.

All efforts should be made to ensure that the hearing can be completed without the need for a further appearance whenever possible.

7.3 Written Materials

Any documentation that either the Crown or defence counsel wish to refer to, or to rely on as an exhibit on the plea, must be exchanged through email and filed by email with the Court in advance of the hearing: see Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of this Notice.

8.  BAIL HEARINGS

To ensure that bail proceedings are dealt with effectively, the Court has established a protocol governing the conduct of bail hearings. Please see:  COVID-19:  Ontario Court of Justice Bail Hearing Protocol.

9.  APPLICATIONS TO VARY RELEASE ORDERS AND POLICE UNDERTAKINGS

The Ontario Court of Justice has established procedures to allow individuals to apply to vary their release conditions by electronic means rather than attending at the courthouse The new procedures govern consent variations of release conditions for individuals who have been released either by the Court (s. 515 of the Criminal Code) or by the police (s. 498, 499 or 503 of the Criminal Code). Please see:

COVID-19: Ontario Court of Justice Consent Variation Procedures for Release Orders and Police Undertakings

Application for Consent Variation of Bail form

Application for Consent Variation of Police Undertaking form

10. MEDIA

The Ontario Court of Justice recognizes the critical importance of the open courts principle, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attendance in courtrooms will be restricted to the judicial official, essential court staff, and those attending for urgent and/or essential intake court functions, with physical distancing measures to be strictly enforced in the courtrooms and throughout the courthouse. Accredited media who wish to make a request to have access to a court proceeding, other than an in-camera proceeding, should contact the local courthouse for more information about obtaining remote access to a proceeding.

Accredited media may also attend at the courthouse to obtain access to court records and related material.

11.  COURTHOUSE CONTACT INFORMATION

The addresses and phone numbers of all Ontario Court of Justice courthouses are posted on the Ministry of the Attorney General website.  Each courthouse also has an email account where you can file documents electronically or submit requests.

COVID-19 Notices and Updates (Updated May 9, 2020)

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency until May 19, 2020.  In light of the uncertainty about the duration of the state of emergency in Ontario, the Ontario Court of Justice will continue to operate on a reduced schedule.  For details about the Court’s operations in criminal, family and Provincial Offences Act matters, refer to the notices and directives listed below.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to expand the range of matters it adjudicates, and to adopt technology that will increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means. The Court is also working with justice partners to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Given the continued recommendations by public health authorities for everyone to stay home as much as possible and to maintain a safe distance from others, people are strongly discouraged from attending any courthouse. All proceedings will be held by audioconference or videoconference unless otherwise directed.

Do not come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor, or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

Notices and Directives

Criminal Matters

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

Note: The criminal case adjournment dates are subject to change. Please check this website regularly for any updates.

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)

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Bail

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Police Undertaking

Provincial Offences Act Matters

Notice to Public regarding Provincial Offences Act Matters (March 28, 2020 – updated May 4, 2020)

Order pursuant to section 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending certain time periods (March 15, 2020)

General

Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing urgent documents at the Ontario Court of Justice (March 28, 2020)

Notice Regarding Media Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 28, 2020).

The Law Society has launched new COVID-19 Response pages with updated navigation. The improved site allows you to find the information you seek more easily. Bookmarks that you have saved to previous links still work and new information is now highlighted under “Latest COVID-19 Updates” on the left section of the page.

Visit the new COVID-19 Response page.

DAILY BRIEFING FOR FRIDAY, MONDAY APRIL 20, 2020

THE DAILY BRIEFING(S) – PROVIDE US WITH YOUR UPDATES:
We encourage our members to share daily court updates with Daniel Brown, Lisa Jørgensen and Kaleigh Davidson directly by emailing briefing@criminallawyers.ca.

CLA COURTHOUSE SPECIFIC UPDATES
As of April 20, 2020, we are no longer providing courthouse specific updates within the Daily Briefing. All daily courthouse updates are now being added to the CLA website in real time by volunteer members of the CLA within each jurisdiction. This is still a work in progress but for now, these courthouse specific updates can be found in the members section of the CLA using your login and password. The temporary location for court information is now located here: https://members.criminallawyers.ca/Court-Updates

BAIL PENDING APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL
On Monday, April 20, 2020 the Court of Appeal is expected to post a new COVID-19 Protocol for Bail Pending Appeal. We are advised that under the new protocol defence counsel will be given an expanded role, obtaining the signatures of sureties and (for bail extensions) out-of-custody appellants, after which the final Order will be issued by the Court of Appeal. This means that it will no longer be necessary for a Justice of the Peace to be involved in the processing of the Order. Rather, the bail Order will come into effect when the appellant signs it – either at the jail from which they are being released or wherever they are out of custody.

Please check the details of the protocol on the Court of Appeals website, where this will be set out in detail, and rely on it other than my understanding of the basics that are described here.

Last, if there are any problems with the new protocol, please send Dell Doucette a note at Doucette@dfrlitigation.com.  Dell would also appreciate notes that say that this new system works well so that a determination can be made whether to make this a permanent feature of bail applications at the ONCA.

RECENT BAIL REVIEW CASELAW
Today’s addition is R v Seegobinsingh from Daniel Heath. Another excellent result!

R v Seegobinsingh, 2020 ONSC 2274
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2.-R-v.-Seegobinsingh-DR-220-20-Bail-Review-14-April-2020.pdf

R v. McArthur, 2020 ONSC 2276
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/7.-bail.pdf

R v. Williams, 2020 ONSC 2237
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/12.-R.-v.-Williams-2020-ONSC-2237-FINAL.pdf

R v JA, 2020 ONSC 2312
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/13.-R-v-JA-2020-ONSC-2312.pdf

R. v. Cahill, 2020 ONSC 2171
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/1.-R.-v.-Colleen-Cahill.BailReview-RELEASED-April-8-2020.pdf

R v Kazman 2020 ONCA 251
http://clamail.ca/r/file/vuJa8ksIWYWAH1GnO95MeUZHzFh-Brs-2N9U7kC/

R v. Ballantyne, unreported, The Court of Queen’s Bench for Manitoba, April 6, 2020
http://clamail.ca/r/file/9IzEtG6aD3lPn4e8yOk3XmHzkzU-5vT-2N9lIEO/

R v. Knott Unreported, Ontario Court of Justice, March 27, 2020
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/13.-R.-v.-Knott-20200327-FC.pdf

R. v. CJ, Ontario Superior Court of Justice File No.: 56/20
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/R-v-C.J..pdf

R v. Rajan, 2020 ONSC 2118
http://clamail.ca/r/file/iyL261Tz5cv5ZCkWIxq9U6zOoCf-Zin-2N8ORtB/

R. v. Cain, 2020 ONSC 2018
http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/R.-v.-Cain-Endorsement-April-1-2020.pdf

R. v. Alexander, [2020] N.J. No. 69 http://clamail.ca/r/file/h2bPLWMCTyP5ffm7Mdsxt3g7a0y-gVp-2N5OulF/

R. v. King, 2020 ONSC 1935
http://clamail.ca/r/file/fPBv3mtaivvZtv3qWCFHJmhCOjQ-Sl7-2N5Our8/

R. v. J.S., [2020] O.J. No. 1206 http://clamail.ca/r/file/2Akn2RwVu8NMwhgomt9dTk5BfwF-43M-2N5OusV/

R v TL, 2020 ONSC http://clamail.ca/r/file/wLkr6IX8ztuidcqSWDTD7tF3u8a-HSl-2N5Outx/

R v Cotterell unreported, March 26, 2020, http://clamail.ca/r/file/coVZVZAgkNX4nUhdp9Z658SUmRz-23hA-2N7auch/

We also thank Cate Martell who is maintaining a Google Drive of helpful COVID-19 bail and sentencing resources:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aQ2_LOMTRbiJh2_bCYJwDYEsIklG3FdF?usp=sharing

Please send us your COVID-19 bail and sentencing judgments to briefing@criminallawyers.ca and we can share them with our members.

ANKLE MONITOR UPDATE
Please note that Non-GPS ankle bracelet monitors will be available officially as of Monday April 20, but the process to secure one for your clients can be commenced right away. If approved, they will be free of charge to our clients. There are 90 units currently available.

The information “pamphlet” link sets out details about various aspects of the program, and what the devices can and cannot do. These are NOT GPS devices. They will be provided only if there is a house arrest or curfew condition of a bail, and then only after an appropriate tech assessment. Please note some of the other requirements to qualify.
http://clamail.ca/r/file/l3ncavSZML7wtfiHiYNW6pPDwf3-1fl1-2Neyf1j/

The Ministry contact to initiate the process is Connie Wylie (Connie.Wylie@ontario.ca).
Email is apparently the preferred method of contact, but these phone numbers may also connect you to the right place: 905-279-6103, 905-279-0690 or 1-888-638-6088.

THE LAWYERS LOUNGE PODCAST: EPISODE 2
From the publisher of the Criminal Law Series, Emond Publishing presents The Lawyers Lounge podcast hosted by the CLA’s Danielle Robitaille and Lisa Jørgensen.

Episode 2 is now available on remote lawyering in the age of COVID-19 and Toronto Star reporter Jacques Gallant on covering legal affairs https://emond.ca/the-lawyers-lounge-podcast

The CLA has been exclusively offered a 15% discount on any of Emond’s Criminal Law Series titles until April 25, 2020. Please use discount code: CLA15

OUR FINAL “ASK ME ALMOST ANYTHING” WITH MARIE HENEIN
The CLA will host our third and final webcast with Marie Henein on Tuesday April 28 at 5:00pm. Priority registration will be given to anyone currently on a waiting list from the previous AMA sessions and we have a total of 80 spots available. This session is open to the entire membership. Register soon before the spots fill up. This session will also be accredited for one hour of substantive CPD. To register- follow this link: https://members.criminallawyers.ca/event-3816351

ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE CRIMINAL TRIAL COORDINATOR OFFICES EMAILS
The following is a list of TC contact details for each Ontario Court of Justice courthouse:
https://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Ontario-Court-of-Justice-Trial-Coordinator-Offices-Contact-Information.pdf

PROCESS OF EMAILING URGENT DOCUMENTS AT THE ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE:
This protocol outlines the process for emailing urgent documents to the OCJ: https://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Public-Notice-for-Email-Filing-March-28-2020-FINAL.pdf

LOCAL DUTY COUNSEL CONTACT INFORMATION
Here is a list of Duty Counsel contacts covering each jurisdiction. http://criminallawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/DC-list.pdf

Where more than one email is included for the jurisdiction, all addresses should be included in email correspondence.

COVID-19 Notices and Updates

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency until May 19, 2020.  In light of the uncertainty about the duration of the state of emergency in Ontario, the Ontario Court of Justice will continue to operate on a reduced schedule.  For details about the Court’s operations in criminal, family and Provincial Offences Act matters, refer to the notices and directives listed below.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to expand the range of matters it adjudicates, and to adopt technology that will increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means. The Court is also working with justice partners to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Given the continued recommendations by public health authorities for everyone to stay home as much as possible and to maintain a safe distance from others, people are strongly discouraged from attending any courthouse. All proceedings will be held by audioconference or videoconference unless otherwise directed.

Do not come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor, or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.

Notices and Directives

Criminal Matters

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

Note: The criminal case adjournment dates are subject to change. Please check this website regularly for any updates.

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)

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Bail

Form: Ontario Court of Justice Application for Consent Variation of Police Undertaking

Provincial Offences Act Matters

Notice to Public regarding Provincial Offences Act Matters (March 28, 2020 – updated May 4, 2020)

Order pursuant to section 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending certain time periods (March 15, 2020)

General

Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing urgent documents at the Ontario Court of Justice (March 28, 2020)

Notice Regarding Media Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 28, 2020).

COVID-19 update (March 30, 2020)

Protecting yourself and your colleagues during COVID-19

The Law Society encourages licensees to take all steps feasible to protect yourself and your colleagues during this unprecedented event. As you know, on March 23, the Ontario government included law and paralegal offices as essential workplaces in light of the COVID-19 situation. While staff are allowed to work in these offices in person (if remote work is not feasible), it is important that such offices put measures in place to protect lawyers and paralegals, as well as legal support staff and articling candidates.

Firms and organizations should stay aware of national, provincial and municipal updates and guidance. Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation requires employers do everything they reasonably can to protect the health and safety of their employees. This means ensuring staff have everything they need to do their jobs in a healthy and safe manner.

If your office is still operating from a physical location, please make sure to:

  • Implement physical distancing measures such as making sure staff aren’t working side-by-side, at a distance of at least 2 metres
  • Reduce in-person meetings and ensure catering is not being shared
  • Use electronic means and courier services to deliver information to clients and other law firms
  • Avoid unnecessary out-of-office errands
  • Set staff up to work remotely wherever possible
  • Implement virtual commissioning and video conferencing options to verify documents, signatures, etc.

The Law Society sent out a notice to all licensees on March 24 reiterating our message to implement virtual practices wherever feasible.

Read our March 24 notice (PDF).

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Fee accommodations during COVID-19

We have updated some options to address payment of fees to help licensees during this challenging time. April and May withdrawals for licensees enrolled in the Pre-Authorized Monthly Payment Plan are deferred until June. Those who have not paid their annual fees will not be subject to late payment fees until June 1 and are encouraged to enrol in the Pre-Authorized Monthly Payment Plan.

Read our  March 26 notice (PDF).

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Licensees have until May 30 to submit their Annual Report Filing

As we all respond to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, the Law Society recognizes the challenges that are confronting licensees. We continue to look for ways to support you as you navigate these unexpected events. We know that many practitioners are having difficulty obtaining and finalizing the financial information they are required to report on their Annual Report Filing (formerly the Lawyer Annual Report, Paralegal Annual Report, or Canadian Legal Advisor Annual Report).

Since there is a 60-day period following March 31 where licensees may submit their Annual Report Filing without penalty, licensees have until May 30 to file.

For those licensees who have what they need to submit their Annual Report Filing, we encourage you to file through the Law Society Portal if you are able to do so.

We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on all aspects of our operations. If any changes are made to the 2019 Annual Report Filing requirement, the Law Society will release a communication to the profession with details of the change.

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Articling candidates

The Law Society is reviewing timelines for licensing process fees and will provide an update shortly. Thank you for your patience as we work through the details.

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Emergency family law referral telephone line

Last week, with support from the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, we launched an interim emergency family law referral telephone line to provide assistance to people who are self-represented (SRLs) and are trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the Court on an “urgent” basis and, if so, how to proceed in making their request.

SRLs may contact the Law Society about this service by phone during business hours:

Toll-free: 1-800-268-7568
General: 416-947-3310

This emergency service will connect SRLs with family lawyers, working on a pro bono basis, who will provide 30 minutes of legal advice to determine whether or not their family court matter is urgent, as well as referrals to other available legal services. 

Additional services may be available from the lawyer on a private retainer basis from Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society Referral Service or the private unbundled family law roster.

This interim measure is offered by the Law Society in association with the Ontario Bar Association and Toronto’s Family Law Advice and Settlement Counsel project, with support from the Family Lawyers Association and the Federation of Ontario Law Associations.

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CPD Assists: new and free on-demand series

On Tuesday, March 31, LSO CPD will be releasing a new complimentary series, CPD Assists, to help Legal Practitioners during the pandemic. Check out the LSO Storetomorrow (March 31) after 10 a.m. to download them.

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Practice management resources

On a daily basis, Law Society staff have been evaluating issues regarding practice management or LSO policies and procedures as raised by licensees, candidates, justice sector partners and other stakeholders. Revised policies and procedures have been developed by staff in a timely and responsive manner. Where LSO does not have the jurisdiction to change obligations or provide advice, third-party resources are referenced.

Practice management FAQs

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COVID-19: inventory of external resources

We have compiled a list with links to various organizations’ COVID-19 responses (as of March 27) to assist licensees with their practice.

Review the list (PDF).

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Changes to summary legal advice services at Legal Aid Ontario due to COVID-19 pandemic

As part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is working to offer more resources to clients through the telephone and online.

Learn about the changes.

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Ontario limitation periods and procedural time periods suspended

On March 20, the Ministry of the Attorney General advised that an Order in Council was made under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act suspending limitation periods and procedural time periods. The suspension is retroactive to March 16, 2020. 

Read our  March 22 notice (PDF).

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We extend our sincere thanks to all lawyers and paralegals, and wish you and families good health.

Please visit the Law Society website and click on the “Corporate Statement, Updates and FAQs banner for the most current information. We will continue to update this page as new information arises and decisions are made.

Our partner, the Federation of Ontario Law Association (FOLA), participates in a weekly meeting with senior courthouse staff (OCJ, SCJ, and Ontario Court of Appeal) to discuss the issues affecting the profession and clients access to justice, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, and will be our voice at the table. Any concerns our members are encountering when dealing with client matters at courthouses (either in person or remotely) should be sent to Katie Robinette at katie.robinette@fola.ca
TLA will share the update by email and on this page .

Dear Member,

Please find below, a copy of the Weekly Update (March 23-27).

Important Notice to Court Users Regarding Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings During COVID-19

Please see message below and attached Notices on behalf of Chief Justice Maisonneuve sent on March, 28, 2020.

Good afternoon:

I am writing on behalf of Chief Justice Maisonneuve.

This communication is to advise that  effective March 28, 2020 the  Ontario Court of Justice is limiting access to courthouses. People should not attend Ontario Court of Justice courthouses unless they fall in one of the exceptions outlined in the attached notice.

This decision is  part of the collective efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect the health and safety of court users, justice system participants and members of the public.

The attached notices provide more details about r emote attendance by counsel and/or litigants (including in-custody accused), how to deal with requests for access to court proceedings and how to file court documents for urgent matters by email.

Also attached is a document containing contact information for Trial Coordinator’s Offices. Counsel who receive requests from persons with an interest in a particular proceeding and are asking to attend or participate in the proceeding remotely should contact the appropriate Trial Coordinator’s Office.  This list of Trial Coordinator’s Offices email addresses is not for public distribution or posting.

Thank you,

Matt McGavock for OCJ Communications Officer

Vous trouverez le message en français ci-dessous.

COVID-19 Information: Licensees have until May 30 to submit their Annual Report Filing

As we all respond to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, the Law Society recognizes the challenges that are confronting licensees. We continue to look for ways to support you as you navigate these unexpected events. We know that many practitioners are having difficulty obtaining and finalizing the financial information they are required to report on their Annual Report Filing (formerly the Lawyer Annual Report, Paralegal Annual Report, or Canadian Legal Advisor Annual Report).

As there is a 60 day period following March 31 where licensees may submit their Annual Report Filing without penalty, licensees have until May 30 to file.

For those licensees who have what they need to submit their Annual Report Filing, we encourage you to file through the Law Society Portal if you are able to do so.

We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on all aspects of our operations. If any changes are made to the 2019 Annual Report Filing requirement, the Law Society will release a communication to the profession with details of the change.

We extend our sincere thanks to all lawyers and paralegals, and wish you and families good health.

Please visit the Law Society website and click on the “Corporate Statement, Updates and FAQs” banner for the most current information. We will continue to update this page as new information arises and decisions are made.

 

Information sur la COVID-19 : les titulaires de permis ont jusqu’au 30 mai pour déposer leur Déclaration annuelle

Face à la situation sans précédent entourant la COVID-19, le Barreau reconnait les difficultés auxquelles font face les titulaires de permis. Nous continuons de chercher des façons de vous soutenir à travers ces évènements inattendus. Nous savons que de nombreux praticiens et praticiennes ont du mal à obtenir et à finaliser les renseignements financiers dont ils et elles ont besoin pour déposer leur Déclaration annuelle (anciennement la Déclaration annuelle des avocat(e)s, la Déclaration annuelle des parajuristes ou la Déclaration annuelle des conseillers juridiques canadiens).

Comme il y a une période de grâce de 60 jours après le 31 mars pendant laquelle les titulaires de permis peuvent soumettre leur Déclaration annuelle sans être pénalisés, ceux-ci ont donc jusqu’au 30 mai pour le faire.

Nous encourageons les titulaires de permis qui ont ce qu’il faut pour soumettre leur Déclaration annuelle à la déposer dans le portail du Barreau si possible.

Nous continuerons à suivre l’incidence de la COVID-19 sur tous les aspects de nos activités. En cas de changement à l’exigence de dépôt de la Déclaration annuelle de 2019, le Barreau publiera une communication à la profession en précisant le changement.

Nous remercions sincèrement l’ensemble des avocats et des parajuristes, et souhaitons à tous et à leurs familles une bonne santé.

Veuillez visiter le site Web du Barreau et cliquez sur le bandeau «?Déclaration d’entreprise, mises à jour et FAQ?» pour avoir les plus récentes informations. Nous continuerons de mettre cette page à jour à mesure que nous aurons de nouveaux renseignements et que les décisions seront prises.

By-Law Administration Services
Client Service Centre
Law Society of Ontario
Tel: (416) 947-3315
Fax: (416) 947-3408
Email: bylawadmin@lso.ca

Service de la conformité aux règlements administratifs
Centre de services à la clientèle
Barreau de l’Ontario
Téléphone : 416 947-3315
Téléc. : 416 947-3408
Courriel : bylawadmin@lso.ca

Update from the Criminal Lawyers Association

Here is the update for March 26, 2020.

The court is rapidly moving to a fully remote process.  Most participants including judges and counsel will appear remotely and only the persons anticipated in court being will be a clerk and a court reporter.  The virtual court structure is being implemented incredibly rapidly based on the current circumstances, and issues that arise are being addressed quickly.  Courts worked very efficiently yesterday as new protocols are being followed.

With respect to remote appearances of accused persons from Central East Corrections, there is a movement to have most appearances by audio, and limit video appearances to contested bail hearings and guilty pleas.  Efforts are being made to make a more phone lines available to handle the increase in audio appearances with Central East Corrections and some video suites at Central East Corrections will be used for audio appearances.

Patience is requested from all as charges are being implemented rapidly and issues are anticipated.   Staff are being appropriately trained to adjust to the new protocols.

Video matters are to be booked 24 hrs in advance through the office of the trial coordinator and their office remains the central point of contact.  Counsel and others are asked not to contact Central East Corrections for any scheduling or desired changes as all such matters must go through the trial coordinator.

Below is the call in contact information for audio appearances for all new arrests and in custody matters:

  • Audio Connections
CourtroomProceedingsConference linesID number
Courtroom 201Pleas / ADJ/TR1866 602 5423

416 212 8010

5361793

CallPIN: 5339 *

Courtroom 200Pleas / ADJ/TR1866 602 5423

416 212 8010

9944620

PIN 7984 *

Courtroom 103Bails /FA/Intake1866 602 5423

416 212 8010

9692940

PIN 3804 *

Courtroom 104Bails /FA/Intake1866 633 1033

416 212 8013

6589487

PIN 4985 *

Sincerely

Norman Panzica

York Director,  Criminal Lawyers Association

Under Quarantine Act, the Government of Canada requires all people entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days (regardless whether they are showing symptoms or not: 

Quarantine Act

You can find a link to the Quarantine Act here. 

The Government of Ontario announced that only those businesses and industries that meet the definition of “essential services” are permitted to remain open during the COVID-19 shutdown. The entire list of “essential workplaces” can be found here.

Legal services as essential services downeyRelevant to the legal profession, included in essential services are:

1. Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate

60. Businesses and all other organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals, including but not limited to food banks, violence against women emergency shelters, homeless shelters, community housing, supportive housing, children’s aid societies, residential services for adults with developmental disabilities and for children, and custody and detention programs for young persons in conflict with the law

61. Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system

65. Professional services including lawyers and para-legals, engineers, accountants, translators

67. Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services

On March 23, 2020 the Ontario Court of Appeal announced that effective March 23, 2020 and until further notice, public counter services will be closed. All filings can be mailed, sent via email to coa.e-file@ontario.ca or dropped off outside the Intake Office.

The website and more information on filing is available here.

An emergency order has been issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that changes how documents are served on the Crown and related entities.

Documents for civil (non-criminal) cases to be served on the Crown and related entities must now be served by email.

This applies to documents served on

  • the Crown,
  • Ministers of the Crown, including the Attorney General of Ontario,
  • the Children’s Lawyer,
  • the Public Guardian and Trustee, and
  • the Director of the Family Responsibility Office.

Effective immediately, the following documents for any civil (non-criminal) proceeding, administrative proceeding or intended proceeding must be served by email until further notice to:

  • cloc.reception@ontario.ca for originating processes (e.g., a notice of claim, a statement of claim, a notice of application or other document that initiates a proceeding) to be served on the Crown or any Minister of the Crown including the Attorney General of Ontario
  • clbsupport@ontario.ca for a Notice of Constitutional Question to be served on the Attorney General of Ontario
  • frolegalservice@ontario.ca for any legal document required to be served on the Director of the Family Responsibility Office
  • OCL.LegalDocuments@ontario.ca for matters required to be served on the Children’s Lawyer including service on any other person where a document must be left with the Children’s Lawyer
  • PGT-Legal-Documents@ontario.ca for matters required to be served on the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee including service on any other person where a document must be left with the Public Guardian and Trustee
  • the email address of the counsel of record for the Crown, Minister, Family Responsibility Office, Children’s Lawyer or Public Guardian and Trustee in any ongoing proceedings (for any documents other than originating processes)

The website and more information on service and filing is available here.

On March 20, 2020 the Government of Ontario passed a Regulation under s. 7.1(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (O. Reg. 73/20) regarding limitations in Ontario. This Order suspends limitation periods for the “duration of the emergency” retroactively to March 16, 2020. Similarly, this Order suspends any provision of any statute, regulation, rule, by-law, or order of the Government of Ontario establishing any period of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding in Ontario for the “duration of the emergency” retroactively to March 16, 2020.

The full-text of the Regulation is available here.

On March 15, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice issued an Order regarding Provincial Offences Act(POA) limitations in Ontario. This Order, pursuant to s. 85 of the POA extends time limits for POA proceedings (that would ordinarily expire prior to April 23. 2020) to April 23, 2020.

The full-text of the Order is available here.

NOTICE: Out of concern for the health and safety of visitors and employees in light of COVID-19, the Supreme Court of Canada Building is closed to visitors. All currently scheduled public events at the Court, as well as guided tours, are cancelled until further notice. The Court remains open for case-related matters. For further information, see the News Release dated March 25, 2020.

For case-related matters, please note the following:

Court documents are to be filed by email, whether originating or otherwise. The Registrar will issue a directive as to the filing of original paper copies once the Supreme Court Building is fully re-opened.

Deadlines that are imposed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada are suspended until further notice.  Deadlines that are imposed by statute, including s. 40 of the Supreme Court Act, remain in force.  Any party concerned about the ability to meet a deadline imposed by statute should contact the Registry by email at registry-greffe@scc-csc.ca.

Should you have any questions in regard to case-related matters, please consult Answers to your questions in regards to the impact of COVID-19 on case-related matters before the Supreme Court of Canada.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as there will be delays in processing your documents and responding to your e-mails. These measures will be in effect until further notice.

Thank you for your collaboration.

https://www.scc-csc.ca/home-accueil/index-eng.aspx

Ontario Criminal Court and Ministry of the Attorney General social media:

FAQs on the Ontario Criminal Courts and Covid-19 Coronavirus

The short answer is no – do not attend court, your matter has been (or will be) rescheduled. However, date for this adjournment varies depending if your matter is in the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) or Superior Court of Justice (SCJ). Both of these are explored more below.

All criminal trials and preliminary inquiries between Friday March 20, 2020 and Friday July 3, 2020 are suspended, subject to a judge seized with a continuing matter ordering otherwise.  This applies to both in-custody and out-of-custody accused. Some adjourned and previously scheduled matters from March 20, 2020 to July 3, 2020 are being rescheduled for July 6-31, 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 Court is reducing the number of courtrooms that will operate:

  • regularly scheduled bail courts, remand and plea courts for in-custody proceedings;
  • plea court for urgent out-of-custody matters; and
  • urgent and/or essential intake court functions.

These matters are being adjourned approximately 10 weeks into the future. To assist with this, the Ontario Court of Justice has provided an adjournment table for dates between March 16, 2020 and November 6, 2020 here.

Regular Appearances

Any accused person who has a criminal matter scheduled for any type of appearance in the Superior Court of Justice between March 17, 2020 and September 1, 2020, that matter is adjourned, unless directed otherwise by the Court. To preserve jurisdiction, for all accused persons who have been scheduled to appear between March 17, 2020 and September 1, 2020 a bench warrant with discretion will issue as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597(4) of the Criminal Code.

Unless the Court orders or directs otherwise (see region-specific notices above), accused persons with matters scheduled in the Superior Court of Justice in the month of March, 2020:

  • are adjourned until July 6, 2020;
  • must appear in court on July 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in March, 2020;
  • a bench warrant with discretion is issued to return on July 6, 2020; and
  • if the person fails to appear on July 6, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Unless the Court orders or directs otherwise (see region-specific notices above), accused persons with matters scheduled in the Superior Court of Justice in the month of April, 2020:

  • are adjourned until July 7, 2020;
  • must appear in court on July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in April, 2020;
  • a bench warrant with discretion is issued to return on July 7, 2020; and
  • if the person fails to appear on July 7, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Unless the Court orders or directs otherwise (see region-specific notices above), accused persons with matters scheduled in the Superior Court of Justice in the month of May, 2020:

  • are adjourned until July 8, 2020;
  • must appear in court on July 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May, 2020;
  • a bench warrant with discretion is issued to return on July 8, 2020; and
  • if the person fails to appear on July 8, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Unless the Court orders or directs otherwise (see region-specific notices above), accused persons with matters scheduled in the Superior Court of Justice on June 4, 2020:

  • are adjourned until July 8, 2020;
  • must appear in court on July 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May, 2020;
  • a bench warrant with discretion is issued to return on July 8, 2020; and
  • if the person fails to appear on July 8, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Unless the Court orders or directs otherwise (see region-specific notices above), accused persons with matters scheduled in the Superior Court of Justice on July 2, and 3, 2020:

  • are adjourned until July 9, 2020;
  • must appear in court on July 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in July and August, 2020;
  • a bench warrant with discretion is issued to return on July 9, 2020; and
  • if the person fails to appear on July 9, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. 

Trials and preliminary inquiries:  All criminal trials and preliminary inquiries between March 20, 2020 and May 29, 2020, including in-custody matters, are suspended, subject to a judge seized with a continuing matter ordering otherwise.  In-custody trials will be adjourned to a date determined by the presiding judicial officer.

Trial confirmation dates:  If a matter is scheduled for a second event or trial confirmation date in respect of an in-custody trial or preliminary inquiry that is scheduled to proceed on or after June 1, 2020, the trial date is deemed to have been confirmed.  If a matter is scheduled for a second event or trial confirmation date in respect of an in-custody trial or preliminary inquiry that is scheduled to proceed before June 1, 2020, that matter will be adjourned to a date determined by the presiding judicial officer.

Judical Pre-Trials (JPTs):  JPTs will continue to be available, but will be held by telephone only.  The Court encourages that JPT be held in respect of all in-custody matters, particularly any matters scheduled for trial.

Bail, Bail Reviews, and Detention Reviews will be available remotely.  The court will utilize to the fullest extent Criminal Code provisions permitting matters to be heard in the absence of the accused, or in the presence of the accused by way of audio conference or, if available, video conference. Parties are urged to provide consent to the use of these alternative processes to the fullest extent possible, where such consent is required.

Defence and Crown counsel will work together to arrange a date and the filing of materials through the trial coordinator.

Defence counsel are responsible for arranging to confirm sureties’ identification and to assist them to sign bail by signing an electronic bail release and scanning it back to the court registrar to be forwarded to the institution.

If you are not in custody and have a criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice between March 20, 2020 and May 29, 2020 do not attend court.  The court will adjourn your matter without you being present, using a court order called a “bench warrant with discretion” which will require you to attend court on the new date.

This procedure applies to Criminal Code peace bond hearings, pre-enquêtes and weapons hearings.

Trials and Preliminary Inquiries:  All criminal trials and preliminary hearings between March 20, 2020 and May 29, 2020 are suspended, subject to a judge seized with a continuing matter ordering otherwise.  Trials for out-of-custody accused will be adjourned without the accused being present to a date to reschedule the trial, in accordance with the procedure set out above.

Judicial pretrials  Judicial pretrials will continue to be available, but will be held by telephone only.

Trial confirmation dates:  If a matter is scheduled for a second event or trial confirmation date in respect of a trial that is scheduled to proceed on a date after June 1, 2020, the trial date is deemed to have been confirmed.

The Court will continue to hear urgent matters during this emergency period. The Court plays a fundamental role in our constitutional democracy.  Access to justice for the most urgent matters is available. This Notice identifies the urgent criminal matters that will be heard during the suspension of operations, and the process for bringing such matters before the Court.

You should contact a lawyer to discuss how urgent matters are filed and pursued before the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice.

  • Any counsel requiring a judicial pretrial on an urgent in-custody matter that has been affected by this adjournment should make arrangements with the Crown and make a request through the trial coordinator.
  • A list of trial coordinators’ contact information can be accessed here.
  • JPTs will be handled by phone.
  • Crown and defence counsel will be required to file matters electronically with the trial coordinator.
  • The court requests the cooperation of Crown and defence in assisting to provide the court with the necessary material during off-site operations.
  • All judicial pretrials scheduled prior to March 17, 2020 are adjourned, unless the presiding judicial officer directs otherwise. These matters may be rescheduled in the upcoming weeks and will be conducted by phone.
  • Any counsel requiring a judicial pretrial on an urgent in-custody matter that has been affected by this adjournment should make arrangements with the Crown and make a request through the trial coordinator.
  • A list of trial coordinators’ contact information can be accessed here.
  • JPTs will be handled by phone.
  • Crown and defence counsel will be required to file matters electronically with the trial coordinator.
  • The court requests the cooperation of Crown and defence in assisting to provide the court with the necessary material during off-site operations.
  • All judicial pretrials scheduled prior to March 17, 2020 are adjourned, unless the presiding judicial officer directs otherwise. These matters may be rescheduled in the upcoming weeks and will be conducted by phone.
  • All trials are adjourned, unless ordered otherwise.
  • Accused persons, witnesses and counsel involved in jury trials that are in progress will receive direction from the presiding judge on March 16, 2020.

Witnesses, lawyers and jurors should not attend court for trials or any matters between March 17, 2020 and May 29, 2020, unless specifically ordered to do so by the presiding judge. Jurors and witnesses will be re-notified of when to attend. Unless ordered otherwise, ongoing trials will be adjourned to a date after June 1, 2020.

Assistance to self-represented persons may be available through a roster of volunteers from the criminal defence Bar or Duty Counsel. You can contact a lawyer or the local courthouse for more information on how to access resources available to unrepresented individuals seeking clarification.

Guilty pleas and sentencing can be dealt with remotely for persons in custody in urgent circumstances. Counsel should book a judicial pre-trial to make arrangements.

By |2020-10-23T00:22:53+00:00March 23rd, 2020|