COVID-19 and the courts: Aug. 31 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Aug. 31 update
The Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto

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

Supreme Court of Canada

News releases - Aug. 27
The court’s fall session is scheduled to start on Sept. 22. The court is conducting hearings in person, with protocols in place to comply with physical distancing requirements. Counsel who can’t attend may appear via videoconference. The court building won’t accept visitors, but those who are interested may view the live-streamed hearings on the court’s website. The court’s suspension of deadlines expires at the end of the day on Sept. 13. Parties may file documents by email, with original paper copies to follow within a reasonable time, subject to certain exceptions.


Provincial Court of Alberta

Update - Provincial Court of Alberta Bar Admission Ceremonies
The court allows attendance at bar admission ceremonies, for which it will implement distancing measures. Participants are requested to wear masks.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Offsite criminal jury selections and trials
The notice provides information on the locations for criminal jury selections and criminal jury trials. The court will announce the offsite locations for such criminal jury selections and trials on an ad hoc, per-trial basis.

Instructions and etiquette guide for online hearings for counsel, parties, media and the public
Until further notice, the court is conducting online hearings via the Cisco WebEx Meeting application. The notice details the guidelines for attire, technology, testing, location, media and public attendance and conduct of online hearings. Except as otherwise provided in the notice, online hearings follow the same expectations and rules as in-person hearings.

Court of Appeal of Alberta

Notice to the profession and public - electronic hearings update
The court will continue to utilize electronic hearings via audio-conference, videoconference or other available electronic platforms for all proceedings until at least Nov. 1.


Ontario Court of Justice

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice
Trials and preliminary hearings will recommence on Sept. 14 at additional locations across Ontario. Health and safety measures are in place in each courthouse.

Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances: Oshawa, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave. East)
Effective Aug. 31, the Ontario Court of Justice is implementing virtual criminal case management courts in Oshawa, Timmins, Thunder Bay and Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Avenue East). In such courts, criminal case management appearances will take place via videoconference or audio-conference.

COVID-19 Pandemic – Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused
The notice provides information on adjournment dates in regular criminal case management courts and on special criminal case management court dates.

Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances
The notice explains the conduct of virtual criminal case management appearances via videoconference or audioconference. Provincewide implementation began on Aug. 24.

Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Notice to Profession for Appeals from the Landlord and Tenant Board in the Divisional Court
Effective Aug. 24, the court is following a number of practices, as described in the notice, with regard to appeals from decisions of the Landlord and Tenant Board pursuant to s. 210 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, in the Divisional Court.

Nova Scotia

Provincial Court of Nova Scotia and Youth Justice Court

Update on Night Court matters during the pandemic
Beginning Sept. 1, certain night court matters in Halifax will move forward through in-person trials if they can proceed safely and if only one police witness is involved. Other night court matters will either proceed by telephone or be adjourned.

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

Protocols for appeal hearings during the pandemic
The court’s fall term will begin on Sept. 8. The court has announced new protocols for virtual hearings and in-person hearings. Appeals may proceed through four formats: on the basis of written materials only, by teleconference or video conference, by in-person attendance or by a hybrid hearing. The panel will consider certain factors when choosing the format for the appeal, such as the nature and the complexity of the case, whether there are liberty interests at stake and the appeal relates to a matter of public interest.

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