COVID-19 and the courts: June 1 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: June 1 update
Supreme Court of Canada building in Ottawa, Ontario

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.


Supreme Court of Canada

Agenda — May 29, 2020
From June 8 to June 19, the court will be hearing four appeals via videoconference using the Zoom platform. The court’s building remains closed to visitors, but the hearings will be livestreamed on the court’s website.

Federal Court of Appeal

Temporary suspension of deadlines: COVID-19
The suspension of deadlines for filing appeals and applications has been extended until June 15.

Federal Court

Virtual hearings at the Federal Court — User Guide for Participants
The guide, which aims to help participants understand the Zoom business platform for e-hearings, covers the court’s policy on recording and broadcasting, court decorum, interpretation services, accommodations and resources for self-represented parties.

Virtual hearings at the Federal Court — User Guide for the Public and Media
This guide for the public and the media also covers the court’s recording and broadcasting policy and the instructions for attending virtual hearings. It also answers some frequently asked questions and provides helpful links.

British Columbia

Provincial Court of British Columbia

Update on in-person and remote proceedings in B.C. Provincial Court
On June 8, the court will resume conducting in-person proceedings to hear priority matters that cannot otherwise be remotely accommodated.

Supreme Court of British Columbia

COVID-19 Notice No. 24 — Filing of affidavits of service and delivery — Civil and family matters
As of May 26 and until further notice, parties who do not make in-person appearances before the court due to public health emergency measures should file their affidavits of service or delivery via e-filing.

Court of Appeal for British Columbia

Updated Notice to the Public Regarding the Court of Appeal’s Response to COVID-19 — Further Suspension of Service and Filing Deadlines
The suspension of service and filing deadlines for existing appeals and chambers applications has been extended until June 15.


Provincial Court of Alberta

Update on the Ministerial Order 27/2020 Suspension of Limitation Periods
The suspension of limitation periods and time periods under the Ministerial Order dated Mar. 30 will not be extended. These periods will resume running on June 1.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Remote Regular Chambers/Duty — Province-wide
Effective June 3, the court will start remotely hearing, via WebEx video and audio, regular Masters Chambers applications, regular Civil Justice and Family Chambers applications in Edmonton and Calgary, and regular Family and Civil Justice Chambers applications in all regional base and circuit sitting points.

With Notice Desk Application Process — Civil Justice Chambers
Effective immediately, if each party is represented by counsel, parties may submit with notice applications, which would otherwise be heard in Justice Chambers, including Special Chambers, to the court via desk applications with written arguments.

Electronic Criminal Summary Conviction Appeals
Effective immediately, if the accused is represented by counsel and if Crown counsel and defence counsel agree, parties may submit summary conviction appeals involving Criminal Code offences to the Court via desk applications with written arguments.

Criminal Trial Triage Booking — June, July, August 2020
Starting June, July and August, the Court will conduct in-person hearings for certain short, judge-alone criminal trials in COVID-safe courtrooms. The court will also conduct remote hearings via WebEx video for certain short, judge-alone criminal trials if the accused is represented by counsel and if Crown counsel and defence counsel agree.


Provincial Court of Saskatchewan

Notice to Court Users and the Public
Effective June 1, the court is relaxing certain restrictions on operations. The notice dated May 22 covers public health guidelines, access to court facilities, protocols applicable to people showing COVID-19 symptoms, communications with court offices, telephone appearances and electronic adjournments, among other matters.


Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice — Teleconference availability in Provincial Court courtrooms
The court’s notice on teleconference hearings has been updated as of May 26.


Ontario Court of Justice

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
There are updates to the notice relating to the provincial government’s extension of the state of emergency and relating to the extension of the automatic adjournment of criminal court appearances for out-of-custody accused until July 3. The list of criminal case adjournment dates for out-of-custody accused has likewise been updated.

Court of Appeal for Ontario

Questions and Answers — Practice Directions Concerning Timelines and Extensions of Time (COVID-19)
The list of frequently asked questions regarding timelines and extensions of time has been updated as of May 26.


Court of Quebec

Gradual resumption of Court of Québec services beginning June 1, 2020, in light of the COVID-19 health crisis
The notice covers the use of technology for semi-virtual hearings, civil division, youth, penal and criminal matters.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

COVID-19: Frequently asked questions re: matters in the Supreme Court (General Division) — 4th Edition
Effective June 15, the court will start transitioning from a modified essential services model to a safety services model, in which parties do not need to establish that their matters are urgent or essential before they can proceed. The court will be conducting more in-person hearings, as long as these can be done safely and in accordance with established protocols.

COVID-19: Best Practices for Virtual Court
The court encourages lawyers to review the Best Practices for Remote Hearings released by the E-Hearings Task Force in Ontario. The court said that, while it has not adopted the document, the resource can still help counsel understand how remote hearings work.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

COVID-19 Notice to the Profession and the Public — Public and Media Attendance at Remote Appearances
The court has issued guidelines for remote appearances, pursuant to its May 13 notice which said that it would commence remote hearings via teleconference and videoconference.


Nunavut Court of Justice

Memo to the Bar: Nunavut Court of Justice operations update in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Resumption of limited In-Person Court (IPC) criminal proceedings
On June 1, the court will resume allowing limited in-person court appearances in Iqaluit. The court also discussed the protocols and procedures for how it intends to start expanding its operations by June. These procedures include safety measures and trial scheduling for non-complex trials, complex out-of-custody trials, and out-of-Iqaluit matters.

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