COVID-19 and the courts: Sept. 21 update

Today’s update for courthouses across Canada

COVID-19 and the courts: Sept. 21 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 NP22: Notice to the Profession and Public COVID 19: Resuming in-person proceedings during COVID-19: health and safety protocols
The court has amended the notice to clarify that counsel should be in a position to confirm that, to their knowledge, no one on their side has traveled outside the country within 14 days of their expected in-person court appearance.

Supreme Court of British Columbia

New Westminster Law Courts Reopening September 17, 2020
Beginning Sept. 17, the court’s proceedings set for hearing at New Westminster will proceed as scheduled.


Court of Appeal of Alberta

Video message from the Chief Justice - Introducing the Court of Appeal Management System
Catherine A. Fraser, chief justice of Alberta, introduces the new public portal of the court’s digital case management system, through which counsel and self-represented litigants can electronically file documents and gain online access to case materials and information on appeals. Fraser explains the Court of Appeal Management System’s history and its significance to the full digitization of the court’s operations.


Ontario Court of Justice

Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances on September 21, 2020
As of Sept. 21, more court locations are moving forward with virtual criminal case management appearances:

  • Central East region — Bracebridge, Cobourg, Newmarket, Orillia
  • Central West region — Brampton, Hamilton
  • East region — Belleville, Kingston, Napanee
  • Northeast region — Cochrane, Gore Bay, Haileybury
  • Northwest region — Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora
  • West region — Owen Sound, Walkerton
  • Toronto — 311 Jarvis, College Park, Old City Hall

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries Resuming in the Ontario Court of Justice at Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock on September 16, 2020
As of Sept. 16, the court has recommenced hearing in-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in the Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock courthouses. Earlier, on Sept. 11, the court said that it would be delaying the proceedings set for Sept. 14, but the Ministry of the Attorney General has since expressed its satisfaction with the health and safety measures imposed in these court locations.

Notice to the Profession and the Public re: In-Person Family Matters Resuming in the Ontario Court of Justice at Woodstock and Gore Bay on September 16, 2020
As of Sept. 16, the court has resumed hearing in-person family matters in the Woodstock and Gore Bay courthouses.

COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
Until at least Oct. 19 and until further notice, the court will not be conducting any in-person Provincial Offences Act proceedings. Starting Sept. 28, the court will remotely hear non-trial Provincial Offences Act proceedings, such as guilty pleas, withdrawals, judgment delivery, first appearances and adjournments, via audio conferencing.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador

Notice to the Profession and General Public
The court will hear appeals and applications either in person or via videoconference. The court will default to utilizing videoconference if the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations cannot be accommodated. The court’s registry is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The filing requirements under the applicable rules are still in effect, including those found in the practice notes which require electronic filing in addition to physical filing. Individuals seeking to enter the courtroom or registry should follow certain directions beforehand, such as to wear a mask and to sanitize their hands. Visitors to the courtroom will sit in an assigned area and maintain physical distancing of six feet.

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