COVID-19 and the courts: Aug. 24 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Aug. 24 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

Court of Appeal for British Columbia

Updated notice to the public - Service and filing deadlines further suspended from 19 August to 14 September 2020. The suspension of service and filing deadlines will not be further extended.
The court is extending the suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications for a final time to Sept. 14.


Court of Appeal of Alberta

Notice to the profession and-public - Practice direction on electronic filing and terms of use
Effective Aug. 31, the court will commence the use of the Court of Appeal Management System, which is the public portal of its e-filing system, with the Practice Direction on Electronic Filing also coming into effect on that date. Those who will be using the CAMS should first read and agree to comply with the Terms of Use for Registered Users.

Notice to the profession and public - Appeal conference pilot project for family law fast track appeals
On Oct. 1, the court will launch an appeal conference pilot project for all family law fast track appeals, which aims to improve access to justice, to promote resolution among parties and to reduce family law conflicts and expenses. Until further notice, all appeal conferences will be done electronically. The court expects to post more detailed instructions about this pilot project before Oct. 1.

Notice to the profession and public - Judicial dispute resolution pilot project
On Oct. 1, the court will move forward with its one-year pilot project to expand the existing judicial dispute resolution (JDR) program, which seeks to promote the early resolution of appeal matters. All the parties involved should agree to the JDR and should be represented by counsel, unless the assigned judge agrees otherwise. Counsel can request that a specific appeal judge be assigned to their matter, and the court will accommodate these requests where possible. Until further notice, all JDRs will be done electronically.


Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice - Access to Winnipeg Remand Centre
The court has noted the situation in which lawyers have been utilizing court time to get instructions from their clients using the court video system, which has caused a slowdown in the number of matters being heard. Effective Aug. 19, the Winnipeg Remand Centre allows counsel to attend in person, with counsel who have bail matters on the same day preferably having priority access to the available in-person time slots from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Following this change and given the expanded available telephone lines, the court said that counsel would no longer need to use the court video system to communicate with their clients.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba

Masters’ Court - Notice COVID-19 Procedural Update
Beginning in September, the masters will preside at Maintenance Enforcement dockets. Debtors and their counsel, if any, summoned to appear on a Maintenance Enforcement docket scheduled on or after Sept. 8 should attend court in person. The notice also details the COVID-19-related safety procedures that are in place and urges court users to comply with these protocols.


Ontario Court of Justice

Update regarding Criminal Case Management Appearances – Province-Wide Implementation of Virtual Case Management Courts
Effective Aug. 24, the court will commence a province-wide implementation of virtual criminal case management courts, and appearances for out-of-custody accused individuals will resume via videoconference or audio-conference technology in Cayuga, Goderich, Guelph, Orangeville, L’Orignal, Pembroke, Saint Thomas, Simcoe, Stratford, Windsor and Woodstock. Effective Aug. 31, these matters will also resume via remote technology in Oshawa, Thunder Bay, Timmins and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave. E.).

Information for Self-Represented Accused Persons with Criminal Cases in the Ontario Court of Justice
The document shares general information relevant to self-represented accused individuals in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the gradual reopening of the courts and of in-person proceedings.

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