COVID-19 and the courts: May 31, 2021 update

This week’s roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: May 31, 2021 update
Canadian courts have adopted measures to limit COVID-19 transmission

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.

Federal Court of Appeal

Practice Direction - Electronic service of documents for the duration of the Suspension Period
Effective immediately and while the suspension period lasts, the court announced on May 26 that parties should include an electronic address for service on all documents filed in proceedings,

except if such parties lack reliable and regular access to a computer and an email address. A party may effect personal service on the Crown by filing an electronic copy of the document with the Registry and payment of the required filing fee. The party effecting service this way does not need to file two additional paper copies.

British Columbia

Amendment to the Three Courts’ Policy on Use of Electronic Devices in Courtrooms
B.C.’s Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal’s amended policy on electronic devices in courtrooms says that electronic devices cannot be used to transcribe digitally, including using video conference software, the courtrooms’ proceedings.

Provincial Court of British Columbia

Revised SM CL 02: Small Claims Proceedings During COVID-19
The court announced on May 25 certain updates to requirements applicable to small claims proceedings. Small claims trials will move forward in person by default, except if a judge has otherwise directed. Small claims trial conferences, settlement conferences, applications to a judge and payment hearings will be conducted via telephone, audio conference or video conference by default, except if a judge has otherwise ordered.


Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice - Further Suspension and Restriction of Hearings
As per the notice dated May 21, the court is suspending circuit court sittings and out-of-custody trials and is proceeding with in-custody trials scheduled in the court centres of Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, The Pas, Dauphin and Thompson.


Ontario Court of Justice

Latest Announcements About Family Proceedings in the OCJ
Effective June 28, if documents are electronically submitted to the court, the parties should note that such documents are subject to a new standardized naming protocol. Parties may submit documents and requests either electronically via Family Submissions Online, electronically via email to the relevant courthouse or personally at the courthouse.

Northwest Territories

Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Territorial Court Directive on COVID-19
The court announced on May 26 that proceedings may now be scheduled in the ordinary course for civil, family, criminal and youth justice matters within and outside of Yellowknife, subject to specific requirements stated in the notice. As for proceedings before the justices of the peace, bail hearings will be conducted remotely outside of Yellowknife, while within Yellowknife, the court has listed the matters which will and will not proceed. For bail hearings and interim bail appearances in Yellowknife, accused individuals will appear remotely via video or audio. In contrast, counsel can appear in person or via audio, depending on their preference.

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