COVID-19 and the courts: Oct. 18, 2021 update

This week's roundup for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Oct. 18, 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.

British Columbia

Judiciary and Staff COVID-19 Vaccination
All judges and other judicial officers in the B.C. Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Provincial Court have received the full series of either accepted COVID-19 vaccines or a combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines approved by the federal government.

Provincial Court of British Columbia

Update: Face Masks Still Required in British Columbia Courthouses
Users of B.C.’s courthouses should wear a face mask in a way that covers the nose and mouth while in the courthouses’ entrances, lobbies, waiting areas, registries, hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators, subject to certain exemptions. Sheriffs will provide a face mask upon entry if a person does not have one.

Supreme Court of British Columbia

COVID-19 Notice no. 27 – In court measures during the pandemic - updated
Counsel and self-represented parties should be able to confirm that, to their knowledge, those involved on their side who will be personally appearing in a courtroom and who recently traveled outside Canada has either finished the mandatory 14-day quarantine or has been exempted from such quarantine. Those entering the courthouses should wear a face mask, with the following exempted: children under the age of 5 years; those with medical conditions or with physical, cognitive or mental impairments that prevents them from wearing a face mask; those who cannot remove a mask on their own; and those who need to remove their masks to communicate because of another person’s hearing impairment.


COVID-19 Update – Vaccination and access to courtrooms in the Provincial Court of Alberta, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Court of Appeal of Alberta
Effective Nov. 1, sheriffs and all court staff, including clerks and court technology personnel, should be fully vaccinated to access Alberta’s courtrooms.


Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice - Resumption of Judicial Justice of the Peace dockets in the communities of Split Lake, Oxford House, Shamattawa, Gods Lake, Cross Lake, Norway House and Nelson House
The Judicial Justice of the Peace dockets for the above-noted communities have been conducted remotely during the pandemic. The court is now resuming in person in these locations on the dates listed in the notice.


Ontario Court of Justice

Latest Announcements About Criminal Proceedings in the OCJ: Enhanced Designation Pilot Expanding to College Park October 4, 2021
The pilot project authorizing out-of-court adjournments for enhanced designations of counsel has launched in College Park in Toronto on Oct. 4. The pilot allows accused individuals whose counsel have filed an enhanced designation of counsel to have their matter adjourned to the next court date without it being addressed in court.

Prince Edward Island

Notice to the profession, the public and the media regarding COVID-19 – non-medical masks in court facilities
Effective Sept. 17, the court is again requiring non-medical masks in all indoor public spaces in Prince Edward Island’s Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Northwest Territories

Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

Territorial Court Directive on COVID-19
For Civil and Family Court proceedings in Yellowknife, all appearances and other matters will proceed via teleconference until Oct. 25. For out-of-custody Criminal and Youth Court proceedings in Yellowknife, docket day appearances until Oct. 22 are cancelled, but counsel may request to deal with matters scheduled for docket days scheduled between now and then by teleconference. Otherwise, all youth matters will be spoken to on Oct. 25 and all adult matters on Oct. 26. Adult criminal dockets will be heard every Tuesday indicated as available on the court sittings schedule, after Oct. 22. All trials, preliminary inquiries or hearings until Oct. 22 are cancelled, with such matters next being spoken to on Oct. 25 in Youth Court and on Oct. 26 in Adult Court. Except for such changes, all matters can still be scheduled in the ordinary course, after Oct. 22. For in-custody Criminal and Youth Court proceedings in Yellowknife, all trials, preliminary inquiries or hearings until Oct. 22 are cancelled, with these matters to be spoken to on Oct. 27. Except for these changes, all matters will continue to be scheduled in the ordinary course, following Oct. 22.

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