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COVID-19 and the courts: Jan. 25 update

Today’s roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Jan. 25 update

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.

British Columbia

Announcement: Protocol for Communication and Testing Related to COVID-19 in Courthouses
The three levels of court in B.C. and the Court Services Branch have coordinated with senior health officials to release a protocol that addresses the issues regarding the need for timely and coordinated communications on COVID-19 testing in the courthouses. The following are the notices of the three levels of court:

Manitoba

Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba

Notice - Email Filing for Criminal Matters
Effective immediately, the court’s registry allows counsel to file documents for criminal proceedings in Winnipeg via email. The notice describes the applicable procedures and rules relating to naming conventions, file format, file size, page limit, the attachment of multiple documents and the body of the email. The notice applies while the pandemic response level in Winnipeg is code red or orange.

Ontario

Ontario Court of Justice

Latest Announcements About Family Proceedings in the OCJ
The court has updated the notice detailing the conduct of family law proceedings on Jan. 14 in light of the provincial government’s Jan. 12 declaration of a second state of emergency. Starting Jan. 14 and until further notice, parties can file unsworn documents and can be directed by the judge to swear to the truthfulness of the documents’ contents.

New Brunswick

Court of Appeal of New Brunswick

NBCA COVID-19 – Updated and Consolidated Directive
The directive dated Jan. 20 updates the consolidated directive dated Oct. 13, 2020. It sets out the measures applicable to civil and criminal appeals, including the new active screening at the Justice Building in Fredericton, the use of masks or face coverings, document filing and service, affidavits, media access and the hearing of motions and appeals.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Media Release - St. John's Provincial Court
The court announced on Jan. 20 that Traffic Court matters, inclusive of Contraventions Act cases, scheduled during February in St. John’s will not move forward at this time. Parties with scheduled cases can wait for the written notification of their rescheduled dates or can visit the court’s website to check.

Northwest Territories

Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Territorial Court Directive on COVID-19
The Territorial Court Circuit in Fort Liard set for Feb. 3 to 4 has been cancelled. The court will issue jurisdictional warrants for all accused individuals but will not release such warrants for execution until the next circuit on Mar. 17 in the event that the accused person does not re-attend on that date. For the Civil and Family Court, mediation sessions will be held via teleconference. For Criminal and Youth Justice Court, matters may be scheduled in the ordinary course, subject to the cancellation of the Territorial Court Circuit in Fort Liard on Feb. 3 to 4. The Justice of the Peace Court set for Jan. 26 in Fort Liard has also been cancelled.

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