COVID-19 and the courts: April 29 update

Today's update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: April 29 update

Courts across Canada are taking extraordinary measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19. Below is a roundup of actions courts are taking across the country.

British Columbia

Provincial Court of British Columbia

Message from the Chief Judge

The court is introducing mandatory pre-trial conferences for most adult and youth criminal trials, for preliminary inquiries and for family and small claims trials. The court is likewise recommencing case conferences for family and small claims matters via telephone or video-conference. Telephone sentencing hearings will be available for certain out-of-custody matters that are not considered urgent.

Notice to the Profession and Public — COVID-19: Commencing Recovery of Some Court Operations

The court is resuming certain court operations which can be remotely conducted via audio-conference or video-conference. In-person attendance in any courthouse is strongly discouraged. Unless directed by a judge, in-person trials are not accommodated.

Practice Direction CRIM 12: Criminal Pre-Trial Conferences During COVID-19

Effective Apr. 28 and until further direction from the Chief Judge, the court is requiring pre-trial conferences for adult and youth criminal files, except summary proceedings files, across all its court locations. The purpose of this change is to reduce inefficiencies in the criminal justice system.


Provincial Court of Alberta

The Court Answers Questions from the Bar — CBA Webinar

The court’s judges participated in a webinar during which they tackled questions asked by members of the Canadian Bar Association, pertaining to the court’s priorities in its COVID-19 response plan, changes in operations of the regular courts and the specialized courts, limitations affecting such court operations, and plans for addressing the potential backlog of cases, among other matters.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Extension of the cap on email and fax filing fees

The cap on email and fax filing fees has been extended to June 30.


Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba

Notice — May administrative lists, triage/prerequisites, child protection intake and newly scheduled motions and case conferences

Effective immediately, the court’s family division is expanding its services in dealing with case conferences and motions. Parties involved in post-triage or transition matters do not need to establish emergent circumstances in order to set a hearing date. Prior to appearing before the presiding justice, counsel for these matters should conduct a discussion to narrow the issues upon which the judge will focus during the hearing itself.


Court of Appeal for Ontario

Questions and Answers — Practice Directions Concerning Timelines and Extensions of Time (COVID-19)

The court addresses questions relating to deadlines, timelines and time extensions for civil matters, criminal matters and matters under the Provincial Offences Act. The information in this document should be read in conjunction with practice directions issued by the court.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

COVID-19: Frequently asked questions in the Court of Appeal

In answering these frequently asked questions, the court provides information about matters that are currently proceeding, the suspension of deadlines, new appeals, document filings and chambers matters.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the profession and general public

Beginning May 4, the court is expanding its operations to accept filings for some civil and family cases, with priority given to urgent and emergency matters. The court is accepting filings via email, fax, postal mail or drop boxes. Trials and certain proceedings are still suspended until further notice.

Notice to the profession and general public — Family matters

The court offers guidance on which family matters may be considered urgent, namely those that are immediate, serious, definite, material and clearly particularized.

Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the Profession and General Public

While there is currently no date for the recommencement of in-person hearings, appeals scheduled for May and June can be heard by video-conference. The court can also hear applications in writing or through teleconference or video-conference.

Northwest Territories

Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Changes to Territorial Court sittings and matters before Justices of the Peace due to COVID 19

This directive, updated on Apr. 28, replaces directives issued on Apr. 21. Changes have been introduced to proceedings in the Civil and Family Court and in the Criminal and Youth Justice Court, as well as to Justice of the Peace proceedings and in chambers matters.

Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories

COVID 19 Response: changes to Supreme Court proceedings and scheduling

This directive, updated on Apr. 28, replaces the ones issued on Apr. 6. The court has announced changes with respect to criminal matters, family matters and civil matters.

Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories

COVID 19 Response: changes to Supreme Court proceedings and scheduling

The court is calling the list of pending cases on May 8, with counsel and parties to appear via telephone.

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