COVID-19 and the courts: Nov. 15, 2021 update

This week's roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Nov. 15, 2021 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

Supreme Court of British Columbia

COVID-19 Notice no. 42 – All chambers applications by Microsoft Teams video by December 1, 2021
The court updated the notice on Nov. 10 to include the remaining registries transitioning to chambers hearings using Microsoft Teams video. The court will hear all chambers applications via video using Microsoft Teams by Dec. 1.


Court of Appeal for Ontario

Revisions Released to the Consolidated COVID-19 Practice Direction
The court amended the practice direction on Nov. 10 to revise the standard wording of the surrender condition in orders for release from custody pending appeal, in light of the court’s return to in-person hearings in criminal appeals. The revised standard wording applies to all new release orders made by the court, unless otherwise ordered by a judge. These include release orders made on original applications for release pending appeal, those made on applications to extend the surrender date in an existing release order, and those made following any other application to vary an existing release order, whether brought by the appellant or by the Crown. The sole exception is for release orders made on applications for release following an appeal hearing and pending release of a reserved judgment. The change resumes the court’s former practice of requiring appellants to surrender before the appeal hearing. However, appellants, rather than needing to spend the night before the appeal hearing in custody, must surrender by 7 a.m. on the morning of the appeal hearing, in recognition of the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The revision is still subject to what an individual judge may determine is appropriate.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

Instructions for electronically filing documents with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal (E-filing)
The court updated its instructions for filing documents electronically on Nov. 4. The updated version has guidelines for formatting, hyperlinks and bookmarks. It also has instructions for merging electronic documents and for page numbering. The registrar can refuse to accept an electronic filing which does not adhere to the instructions in the practice direction or which is otherwise unsuitable, and can require the un-filing, refiling or submission of the document.

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