Consolidated Practice Direction Concerning Family Cases in the Northwest Region

Notice of Amendment:  

On September 4, 2018,

  • Part II was amended to clarify how to schedule long motions and to provide for filing of electronic copies of motion materials by USB; and
  • Part III was amended in respect of the length of conferences and requests for court approval for teleconferences and videoconferences.

Part I A [paras. 2 – 6], Part II G [para. 17] was amended on July 1, 2018


Effective June 1, 2016

This Practice Direction applies to family law proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice in the Northwest Region (Thunder Bay, Fort Frances and Kenora).  It supersedes all previous Practice Directions concerning family proceedings in the Northwest Region which are hereby revoked.

Counsel and parties should also refer to the relevant parts of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction (Part I in particular).

All documents must be filed at the Registrar’s Office in which the proceedings are commenced.

Each of the forms required by the Family Law Rules is available at the Ontario Court Forms website at:  http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/family-law-rules-forms/.  In addition, the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form for family cases is available on the website of the Superior Court of Justice at:  http://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/rules-forms/

Forms to request to attend any proceeding by teleconference or videoconference are available by contacting the Trial Coordinator’s office at the location in which proceedings are commenced.  Contact information for the Trial Coordinator’s office each centre is available in the regional schedule.

Information about additional family law services that are available in the Northwest Region is attached at Appendix A.

Part I: Confirmations

  1. Each party to a motion or conference must file, at the Registrar’s Office, a Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference, or the parties may file one jointly, no later than 2 p.m. three business days before the date of the motion or conference except for long motions, which must be filed by 2:00 p.m. seven days before the motion.
  2. The parties or their counsel should consult with each other prior to filing their Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference, unless the parties are self-represented and prohibited from communicating by court order.
  3. Where Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms have not been filed by at least one party, the conference or motion will not be placed on the daily event list and, as a result, will not be heard by the court.
  4. Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms must only list the specific issues that are to be addressed at the event. They should also include a list of which materials the judge should review with clear reference to the specific volume, tab and page numbers of the Continuing Record.  Failure to provide this information may result in the materials not being reviewed by the judge or the motion or conference not being heard on that day, and costs consequences.
  5. Form 114C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference forms must also include an appropriate time estimate for the entire motion or conference, including time required by the other party. Parties will be held to the time stated on their confirmations.
  6. If a Form 14C Confirmation of Motion or Form 17F Confirmation of Conference is filed for a consent adjournment, no one needs to appear to speak to the court about the adjournment unless directed to do so by the court.

Part I.1: Telephone and Video Attendances

  1. Counsel and parties requesting to attend their matter by teleconference or videoconference may, in matters for which CourtCall is available, arrange their attendance via CourtCall in accordance with the Consolidated Practice Direction for the Northwest Region. If attending a matter remotely but not through CourtCall, they must submit the appropriate Request Form. Counsel and parties are advised to consult the Consolidated Practice Direction for the Northwest Region for further direction on CourtCall and Request Forms.

Part II: Motions

A. Short Motions

  1. Motions that will take less than two hours (including the other party’s reply and cross motion, if any) may be scheduled on a regular motions day by serving and filing the motion material at the court office within the timelines set out in the Family Law Rules.

B. Long Motions

  1. Motions that will take two hours or more (including the other party’s reply and cross motion, if any) must be scheduled by obtaining a special date from the Regional Manager or Trial Coordinator. The moving party must serve and file all their motion material at least 30 days prior to the scheduled long motion date, or the date will be vacated. The responding party must serve and file their responding material at least 15 days before the scheduled long motion date. Reply material, if any, and a properly completed Form 14C (Confirmation), confirming the long motion date and material to be read, must be served and filed by 2 p.m. seven days prior to the scheduled long motion date. If a long motion is not confirmed by 2 p.m. seven days in advance, it will be removed from the list and the date will be vacated.

C. Factums and Briefs of Authorities

  1. A properly drafted factum is required on all long motions but is optional for short motions. If the moving party does not file a factum where required, the motion will not proceed.  The text of the factum shall be printed on good quality white paper 216 millimeters by 279 millimeters in size, on one side only, with double spaces between the lines except for quotations which may be single spaced, and margins of approximately 40 millimeters on the left hand side.  The characters used shall be at least 12 point or 10 pitch size.
  2. Any factum must be filed with the parties’ motion materials.
  3. No factum may exceed 20 pages without leave of the court.
  4. The authorities that are included on the court’s list of often cited family cases do not need to be provided to the court with a party’s factum. An updated list of often cited family cases referred to is available on the Superior Court’s website at: www.ontariocourts.ca/scj.  However, extracts from those authorities which the court will be referred to shall be included in the factum or book of authorities, in addition to copies of any other cases that a party relies on.

D. 14B Motions

  1. A Form 14B Motion must be filed at the Registrar’s Office and cannot be filed by fax. A Form 14B Motion should be accompanied by one copy of a proposed Order (Form 25) and a self-addressed and stamped envelope for each party.
  2. The Form 14B Motion shall be filed in the Continuing Record and a copy of the proposed Order shall be attached to the appropriate place in the Endorsement Volume.

E. Compendium

  1. A Compendium* containing the documents and evidence that are essential to the hearing of the motion may be provided for long or complex motions. A party wishing to file a Compendium should file it with their factum. A joint Compendium may be filed with the respondent’s factum.

*A Compendium would normally include the Notice of Motion, Affidavits and Financial Statements, as well as excerpts from the evidence and exhibits that will be referred to in the argument of the motion.

F.  Electronic Copies of Materials

  1. Whenever the volume of materials is large or the motion is complex, the parties should file an electronic copy of their motion materials on a USB key at the Registrar’s Office, with the file name clearly identified for each document, as well as paper copies.
  2. The USB key should be accompanied by a list of the files on the USB key, the title of proceedings, court file number, counsel names (where applicable) and party name. Where possible, the USB key should be labelled with the short style of cause and court file number.
  3. Neither the USB key nor any file on it should be password-protected.

G. Urgent Motions With Notice

  1. A party may seek an urgent motion with notice without a case conference in situations of urgency or hardship, as set out in Rule 14(4.2). A party seeking such a motion must serve and file all of the required materials except for a Form 14C Confirmation of Motion. Prior to bringing an urgent motion, the Trial Coordinator should be contacted to see if an urgent case conference can be scheduled before the motion is heard.
  2. To enable the order to be issued quickly, parties are encouraged to provide the court with a draft order.

H. Urgent Motions Without Notice

  1. Motions without notice may be brought only in exceptional circumstances as set out in Rule 14(12).
  2. A Court will not generally make an order without allowing both parties an opportunity to participate. In addition to addressing the requirements of paragraph 17 above, a party who is seeking a motion without notice to the other party must address why the other party has not been served. The motions materials should set out specifically and clearly why notice is unnecessary, not reasonably possible, or any other grounds that would justify the motion being heard without notice to the other side.
  3. An order obtained without notice, together with all documents used on the motion, shall be served on the other party, unless the court orders otherwise. The matter must be scheduled to come back to the court within 14 days, as set out in Rule 14(14).
  4. If a person is requesting a restraining order as part of his/her urgent motion, he or she should also complete the pink restraining order endorsement form with the required information (such as names and birth dates of those affected, as well as addresses at which the other side is to be prohibited from attending.) This form is available at the Registrars’ Office, where the urgent motion is filed.
  5. If a restraining order has been granted, the court can arrange for service of the material on the other side, if requested by a party who is not represented by counsel.

Part III: Case Conferences, Settlement Conferences, Trial Scheduling Conferences

I. Conferences

  1. Counsel or the parties should communicate before any conference in order to attempt to resolve the issues that are in dispute, unless the parties are self-represented and prohibited from communicating by court order.
  2. Case conference briefs and settlement conference briefs must be filed in accordance with the Family Law Rules.
  3. All conferences will be scheduled for a duration of one hour.
  4. The parties should bring their Trial Scheduling Endorsement Forms to the settlement conference with their respective portions completed.
  5. If the case has not settled at the conclusion of the settlement conference, the court shall determine if the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form can be completed at the conference or shortly thereafter and shall give directions to the parties regarding the completion of this form.
  6. If necessary, the Court may require the parties to attend a trial scheduling conference to canvas issues regarding the scheduling of the trial and ensure proper completion of the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form. Each party shall complete and file his or her portion of the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form with the court in advance of a trial scheduling conference in accordance with the timelines in rule 17(13.1)
  7. The purpose of a Trial Scheduling Conference includes (i) ensuring that the case is ready to proceed to trial, (ii) considering each party’s list of proposed witnesses and (iii) ensuring the accuracy of the estimated time for trial. Consideration should also be given to other factors that would be appropriate under rule 1 in order to limit the duration and scope of the trial.
  8. A trial date will not be made available until the court has reviewed and endorsed the completed trial scheduling endorsement form.

J. Trial Management Conferences

  1. A trial management conference shall be scheduled by the parties at the time that the trial date is assigned. The trial management conference should be scheduled to be held within two weeks of the scheduled trial date, dependent on the availability of judicial resources.
  2. The Trial Management Conference Brief, Form 17E, is no longer required. Instead of the Trial Management Conference Brief, the following documents must be filed in advance of the trial management conference by the deadlines set out in rule 17(13.1)
    1. The completed Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form must be filed by the applicant;
    2. Each party must file an outline of his or her opening statement for trial, and
    3. Each party must serve and bring to the conference, an offer to settle all outstanding issues.
  3. The Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form shall be filed with or added to the Trial Record.
  4. The purpose of the trial management conference is to confirm that the parties are ready for trial, have filed the Trial Record and exchanged all material required by the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form, and to explore the final possibility of settlement of any or all trial issues.
  5. Where the case has been settled and the trial is no longer required, one of the parties shall immediately advise the Trial Coordinator so that the trial date can be vacated. A copy of any Minutes of Settlement or consent should be filed with the Registrar’s Office at the same time.

K. Trial Records

  1. The applicant must serve and file a Trial Record at least 30 days prior to the scheduled trial date. Failure to do so will result in the matter being removed from the trial list, unless the court orders otherwise. Financial Statements do not need to be updated again after the Trial Record is filed as required by Rule 13(12) unless this is required by the Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form.

L. Trial Dates

  1. Trials are placed on specific Running List sessions scheduled throughout the year, at each location with the Northwest Region. Please contact the appropriate Trial Coordinator for trial dates in the selected location.
  2. Uncontested trial dates are also provided by contacting the Trial Coordinator at the selected location.

Dated May 24, 2016
Amended: September 4, 2018; July 1, 2018

Heather J. Smith
Chief Justice
Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)

Bonnie Warkentin
Regional Senior Judge
Superior Court of Justice, Northwest Region


Appendix A

The Family Law Information Centre

  1. Mediation North is responsible for information on Family Law MIP Sessions, etc. held throughout the Northwest Region. To contact the Information Referral Coordinator please dial:   1-888-935-5455
  2. Thunder Bay has a drop-in Family Law Information (FLIC) Office: open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday- Friday and is located on the 1st floor of the Thunder Bay Court House.
    – Kenora and Fort Frances do not have a local FLIC office
  3. Duty counsel at Thunder Bay is available Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and Thursdays 1:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m., at no cost for consultation with qualified individuals seeking legal advice.
    – Kenora and Fort Frances do not have Duty Counsel available for SCJ files