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COVID-19 and the courts: Oct. 5 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Oct. 5 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

Provincial Court of British Columbia

Updated Notice to the Profession and Public NP 19 COVID-19 Resumption of Court Operations
Effective Sept. 28, new adult and youth in-custody files with charges occurring after July 3 needing more than one day of trial time should have a pretrial conference prior to being scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry, and new adult and youth out-of-custody files with charges occurring after July 3 needing more than one day of trial time should have a pretrial conference by audio or videoconference prior to being scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry.

Revised - CRIM 12: Criminal Pretrial Conferences During COVID-19
Effective Sept. 28, the practice direction only applies if the accused is represented by counsel. Self-represented accused who need one day or more of trial time will have a pretrial conference set before a judge around 8 to 10 weeks before the first trial date.

Alberta

Provincial Court of Alberta

Provincial Court issues conduct guide for remote hearings
The court is conducting certain proceedings remotely via phone or online video. It has released a guide which discusses the required behaviour during remote hearings, information for media and the public and instructions for teleconferences and videoconferences.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

Trial and full day special booking - Spring 2021
Between Jan. 4 and July 2, 2021, the court will recommence scheduling civil, family and commercial trials and full day specials, for which the parties should fully complete the Family, Civil and Commercial Triage Form.

Extension of the cap on email filing fees and the suspension of Rule 13.41(4) to January 31, 2021
The court has extended the cap on email filing fees and the suspension of Rule 13.41(4) until Jan. 31, 2021.

Manitoba

Notice to the Profession: COVID-19
The court, in accordance with the Manitoba Health protocol, will notify and require testing for those who are direct contacts of COVID-19-positive members of the profession who visited the court. The court will notify the judges and court staff involved if such a diagnosis has occurred. Counsel should remember to wear a mask and observe distancing requirements when in the courtrooms.

Provincial Court of Manitoba

Notice - Child Protection Hearings
In October, the child protection dockets in communities where the court has not recommenced sitting will continue to sit in the court centres. The court will hear child protection matters in the communities in Steinbach, Beausejour, Pine Falls, Peguis First Nation, Emerson, Portage la Prairie, Dauphin, Bloodvein, Cross Lake, Norway House and Little Grand Rapids.

Notice - COVID-19 Suspension and Re-opening of Additional Courts
As of Oct. 1, the court will recommence hearing in-custody and out-of-custody trials and out-of-custody dispositions in the communities of Altona, Arborg, Ashern and Lundar. The court cannot reopen the court in God’s Lake Narrows in October, but hopes to do so in November.

Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba

Notice - Scheduling Protocols
The court announced that the scheduling protocols described in its Notice to the Profession on May 4 relating to the nature and scope of the judicial service offered by the general and family divisions are still applicable. Hearings will continue to proceed remotely via teleconference or videoconference, except where oral testimony (viva voce testimony) is being tendered.

Ontario

Ontario Court of Justice

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries Resuming in the Ontario Court of Justice at Stratford on September 28, 2020
The court will recommence hearing in-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in the Stratford courthouse on Sept. 28.

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: In-Person Family Matters Resuming in the Ontario Court of Justice at Stratford on September 28, 2020
The court will resume hearing in-person family matters in the Stratford courthouse on Sept. 28.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

Media Release - Issued September 28, 2020 - St. John's Provincial Court - Change of Venue
Starting Oct. 1, the court will no longer be sitting in the Beothuck Building. Plea Day will return to the 4th Floor in Atlantic Place, St. John’s. This update has resulted in certain courtroom changes.

Northwest Territories

Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories

COVID 19 Response: Directives regarding Supreme Court Proceedings
Jury trials will be held in facilities in Yellowknife, Inuvik and Hay River that can accommodate physical distancing, in lieu of being held in the courthouses. The scheduling of jury trials will depend on the availability of these facilities, with priority given to matters where accused persons are in custody and matters which are most dated. The court’s next list will be called on Nov. 20, with counsel and parties urged to appear by phone.

Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories

COVID 19 Response: Directives regarding Supreme Court Proceedings
The court’s pending list will be called on Nov. 20, with counsel and parties encouraged to appear by phone. The next sittings are set to take place on Oct. 27 via videoconference.

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