Consolidated Practice Direction for Civil Actions, Applications, Motions and Procedural Matters in the Toronto Region

Effective May 1, 2017, para 57 and the related certificate have been amended regarding mediation prior to setting an action down for trial.


Effective July 1, 2015

This Practice Direction applies to actions, applications, motions and procedural matters in the Toronto Region, effective July 1, 2015.  It replaces the previous Consolidated Practice Direction for Civil Actions, Applications, Motions and Procedural Matters in the Toronto Region that was effective on July 1, 2014. Changes have been made to incorporate the numerous scheduling improvements that were introduced by the Toronto Region Pilot Practice Advisory issued by Regional Senior Justice Morawetz on October 14, 2014.  These changes have proven successful in bringing about greater scheduling efficiencies. They are now been implemented on a permanent basis in Toronto through this Practice Direction.

This Practice Direction does not apply to motions or applications heard on the Commercial and Bankruptcy Lists, Estates List, or under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, unless specifically mentioned.

Counsel and parties are advised to refer to the relevant Parts of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction, the Consolidated Practice Direction for Divisional Court Proceedings as well as any other relevant Toronto region-specific Practice Directions and Guides (e.g. the Guide Concerning Best Practices for Civil Actions, Applications and Motions in the Toronto Region).

All Superior Court of Justice Practice Directions are available on the Superior Court’s website at: www.ontariocourts.ca/scj

Part I. Applications and Motions

A. Civil Practice Court

1. Civil Practice Court (“CPC”) has been instituted in the Toronto region. It replaces the former Motions Scheduling Court.  It serves the following purposes:

a. To curtail the motions culture in Toronto and to ensure that motions and applications that are ready to proceed can be heard on a timely basis.

b. To permit the CPC judge to identify cases, at any stage, which require a degree of case management. Case management, most typically, will only be invoked in complex cases or where long motions are involved.

c. To assist in the orderly hearing of long motions, long applications, and any summary judgment motion. Parties will be encouraged to submit agreed upon timetables, and where necessary, case conferences will be scheduled in advance.  The CPC judge will consider the option of directing long motions to the trial list.

d. To create a judicial mechanism whereby the CPC judge can assign those cases in need of the courts intervention before other available judges.

2. The CPC is supported administratively by the Civil Practice Unit. Staff in the Civil Practice Court serve as the first contact for any long motion, long application and any summary judgment motion. They are supported by an enhanced computerized scheduling program.

B. Rules Applicable to All Motions & Applications

3. There are four different streams for scheduling motions and applications, depending on how they are heard, their duration and the judicial officer who is to hear the motion or application:

a. Short Applications & Short Motions before Judge or Master: Applications and motions before a Judge or Master that require two hours or less for all parties to argue are considered short applications and short motions. These motions are to be booked through the Civil Scheduling Unit, per the direction below.

b. Long Applications, Long Motions, Summary Judgment Motions and Urgent Matters before a Judge: Applications and motions before a Judge that require more than two hours for all parties to argue are considered long applications and long motions. These applications and motions are booked first by contacting the Civil Practice Unit for a date in Civil Practice Court.  The Civil Practice Court will confirm the date for hearing the motion, and make any necessary procedural orders that are required.

c. Motions before Masters. Different procedures exist for scheduling long motions, short motions and ex parte motions before a Master.  Different procedures are also outlined below for booking long motions before a master in case-managed actions and in construction lien actions or within a reference.

d. Motions before Judges or Masters in Writing. Counsel are strongly encouraged to bring in-writing motions when appropriate, to reduce unnecessary court appearances that drain limited judicial resources and which unnecessarily add to cost.

4. Elimination of “Placeholder” Motions.  Any date requisitioned for a motion before a judge or master will be vacated if the Notice of Motion is not filed with payment of the motion fee within 10 business days after the motion date is requisitioned.

5. Matters to be Heard within 100 Days of Booking. All motions will only be booked when the parties are able to confirm their availability to have the motion heard within the 100 days (14 weeks) from the date of booking. Parties who cannot proceed within that timeframe will not be provided with a motion date, except in extenuating and exceptional circumstances.

6. Costs Outline Required.  On all motions before a judge or master, parties are reminded to prepare in advance, and bring to the hearing, a costs outline to the motion, as required by r. 57.01(6).

7. No Adjournments 2 Days Prior to Hearing. No adjournment for any motion before a judge or master will be granted within 2 days of the scheduled hearing date, except in extenuating and exceptional circumstances.

8. Parties’ Responsibilities for All Adjourned Hearings. Where a matter has been adjourned and materials have been previously filed with the court, parties are responsible to ensure that all previously filed materials to be relied upon are pulled from the file or ordered from storage, if applicable, and brought to staff in the court office, at least one week prior to the new hearing date.

9. Materials for use of the Court. The following materials, including material in electronic format, are required by the Court:

a. Factums are required for all applications.

b. Factums are required for all motions over two hours (except undertakings and refusals motions) and are strongly encouraged for all other motions.

c. No factum may exceed 30 pages, unless leave is granted.

d. For longer or more complex motions, the court strongly encourages parties to file electronic copies of their factums in Word format. Electronic copies should be attached to the hard copy of the factum filed with the court and should be labelled with the court file name and number, event and content of the disk, as well as the return date of the matter. Counsel and parties should refer to the Guide Concerning e-Delivery of Documents available on the Superior Court’s website.

e. Cases contained in books of authorities should be copied on both sides of a page. If possible, electronic copies of books of authorities are helpful in longer or more complex motions.

f. Parties are encouraged to refer to the Guide Concerning Best Practices for Civil Actions, Applications and Motions, available on the Superior Court’s website, which offers further guidance to counsel and parties when bringing motions or applications, particularly on matters involving voluminous materials.

10. Motions to Transfer a Civil Proceeding. All requests for a transfer of a civil proceeding (action or application) from one county to another shall be pursuant to rule 13.1.02 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion will be granted or denied based on its merits. Counsel and parties are advised to refer to Part III of the Consolidated Provincial Practice Direction which prescribes specific requirements for motions to transfer a civil proceeding.

11. Motions to be Heard by Masters. A master has jurisdiction to hear any motion in a civil proceeding except those specified rule 37.02(2). Masters’ motions must be made to a master.  Unless the relief requested in the motion is within the exclusive jurisdiction of a judge, a motion returnable by attendance or in writing must be made to “the Court” and heard by a master.  Judges may refuse to hear any motion that is within the jurisdiction of a master.

12. Simplified Procedure Discovery Motions. Motions concerning issues arising from examinations for discovery in Simplified Procedure actions will be scheduled for a maximum of 30 minutes in total. All parties are expected to complete oral argument of the motion within the time scheduled, subject to leave from the presiding master in exceptional cases. Parties are encouraged to use rule 34.12 and answer questions that are objected to.

13. Confirmation of Applications and Motions. In accordance with rules 37.10.1 and 38.09.1, the Confirmation Form for motions and applications must be filed by the applicant or moving party with the Registrar not later than 2 p.m. three days before the hearing date. Parties must confer as to the time required before sending in the Confirmation Form. Estimated time must not exceed time booked. Parties are expected to adhere to the time requested.

C. Scheduling a Short Application or Short Motion Before a Judge or Master

14. Short applications and short motions must be booked through the Civil Practice Unit [Or Civil Scheduling Unit] (except summary judgment motions, masters’ motions in construction lien actions or within a reference). These matters are to be booked by emailing the Civil Scheduling/Practice Unit at JUS.G.MAG.CSD.CivilMotionsScheduling@ontario.ca. Alternatively, parties may call or attend in person at 10th Floor, 393 University Ave., M5G 1E6, tel: 416-327-5535.

15. Parties shall consult with each other to select a return date that is convenient to all parties and which will permit all parties to file all necessary materials and conduct any examinations before the return date. At the time of booking, a realistic estimate of the time required by all parties for argument must be provided.

16. When a party books a return date for a short application or short motion by email to the Civil Scheduling/Practice Unit, it shall send by email a completed Requisition to Schedule Short Motion or Application If booking by phone, the information contained in the Requisition to Schedule Short Motion or Application form must be communicated to the booking staff. The form must be included with the motion material when filed.

17. Short motions in construction lien actions and hearings for directions within a reference are not booked through the Civil Scheduling/Practice Unit. See instructions below on booking motions before Masters.

D. Scheduling a Long Application, Long Motion, Summary Judgment Motion or Urgent Matter before a Judge

18. An attendance at Civil Practice Court before a judge is required to schedule:

a. Long applications or long motions before a judge;

b. All summary judgment motions before a judge;

c. The urgent hearing of motions or applications before a judge; and

d. Contested requests for case management by a judge under rule 77.

e. Appeals from the Consent and Capacity Board under the Health Care Consent Act.

19. CPC commences at 9:30 a.m. Gowns are not required in CPC. Several CPC’s may sit on a given day.

20. Appointments to appear in CPC may be booked by emailing the Civil Practice Unit at CivilPracticeCourt@ontario.ca, along with a completed Requisition to Attend Civil Practice Court.

21. Information about the current start time, location, and contact information for the CPC can be found on the Superior Court of Justice website at www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/schedules/t/.

22. Before appearing at CPC, parties must seek to establish an agreed timetable for the completion of all steps required prior to the hearing of the application or motion and to bring a copy of the timetable to Civil Practice Court for approval by the judge.

23. Rule 20 of the Rules of Civil Procedure contemplates that some summary judgment motions will proceed by way of a hybrid hearing (written record, plus some oral evidence) or by way of a hearing on the written record followed closely by a tailored trial of issues. Scheduling the expeditious hearing of these Rule 20 motions will require greater management by the judiciary. Accordingly, all motions for summary judgment will undergo a scheduling and monitoring process commencing with an attendance at Civil Practice Court (see Summary Judgment Case Information Sheet available through court staff).

24. Parties are to advise the Civil Motions Coordinator 30 days prior to the motion hearing date about the status of the motion. In addition, in the normal course, the court will contact the parties one week before the hearing of the long motion, long application or summary judgment motion before a judge to inquire into its status, its readiness for hearing, and whether oral evidence may be required at the hearing of the motion. If the parties advise or the court determines that the motion is not ready for hearing, the parties may receive further directions from the court regarding the scheduling of the hearing of the motion.

E. Scheduling Motions before Masters

Long Motions before a Master
25. To schedule a long motion before a master, a Requisition to Schedule Long Motion must be completed and e-mailed to Masters.Long.Motions@ontario.ca or delivered to Masters Administration on the 6th floor 393 University Ave., or by fax to 416-327-6405. Once the requisition is received, a master will be assigned to hear the motion.

26. If the action is case managed, a Requisition is not necessary and a request for a long motion may be sent directly to the Assistant Trial Coordinator for the master who is managing the action.

27. If the motion is for refusals and undertakings, both moving and responding parties are expected to have completed refusals and undertaking charts grouped by issue and completed in accordance with rules 37.10(10)(a) and (b) prior to the case conference to allow a realistic time for the hearing to be set.

Ex-Parte motions before a Master

28. After attending at the motions office, motions made without notice or consent motions may be walked into Masters’ Ex-Parte Motions Court any day that a master is sitting.

29. If the motion must be heard before the next date that an ex-parte master is sitting, or if the motion must be on notice, the Civil Practice Unit will direct the moving party to appear before the Duty Master. The Duty Master will determine if the matter is urgent and if urgent, will hear the motion or attempt to have it heard by another master.

Construction Lien Motions & References before a Master

30. Long and short motions in construction lien actions require an appointment with the Construction Lien Master to be arranged through the Assistant Trial Coordinator for the Construction Lien Masters on the 6th Floor 393 University Ave., or by telephone to 416-212-9783 or 416-327-9404. All long motions require a telephone case conference with the master who will be hearing the motion in order to determine the length of time required, set a timetable for any remaining steps before the hearing of the motion and fix a return date for the motion.

31. Motions made without notice and consent motions in construction lien actions are heard daily from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m.

32. Short motions and hearings for directions within a reference are booked through the Assistant Trial Coordinator for the master assigned to conduct the reference.

Motions before a Master from the Class Proceedings, Commercial and Estates Lists

33. If the motion is under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, or a proceeding on the Commercial List or Estates List, a written direction will be required from a judge on the respective list permitting the motion to be heard by a master.

34. Similarly, if the action has been assigned to a judge under rule 37.15 or rule 77.06, a direction from that judge that a master be appointed to hear motions within the master’s jurisdiction will be necessary.

35. The requirement for a judge’s written direction does not apply to motions under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act heard by a master exercising the authority of a registrar of the court in bankruptcy under that Act.

F. Motions in Writing

36. Counsel are encouraged to bring in-writing motions when appropriate under Rule 37.12.1 for ex parte, consent, and unopposed matters. Counsel must provide the consent (under Rule 37.12.1(2)) or notice that the motion is unopposed (Rule 37.12.1(3)), along with a draft order for the court. In particular, motions such as default judgments, Norwich orders, non-party production or substituted service orders may be well-suited to in-writing motions.

37. With the exception of construction lien actions and references, unless otherwise directed by a judge or master, motions in writing should be filed in the Civil Intake Office, 10th Floor, 393 University Avenue.

38. Motions in writing in a construction lien file or reference should be filed with the Assistant Trial Coordinator for the Construction Lien Masters located on the 6th Floor, 393 University Avenue.

39. A motion under Rule 7.08 must be brought in accordance with the Best Practice’s Guidelines and Checklist for Rule 7.08 matters.

G. Adjournments

40. Short applications and short motions can be adjourned once through the Civil Practice Unit (or the assistant trial coordinator for the Construction Lien Masters, if applicable); any further adjournments of these matters must be spoken to in court.

41. To adjourn a long application or long motion scheduled before a judge, counsel must appear in CPC and speak to the adjournment.

42. Long motion dates before a master may be adjourned only with leave of the assigned master at a case conference requested for that purpose before the motion date.

43. No adjournment for any motion before a judge or master will be granted within 2 days of the scheduled hearing date, except in extenuating and exceptional circumstances.

44. Where a matter has been adjourned and materials have been previously filed with the court, parties are responsible to ensure that all previously filed materials to be relied upon are pulled from the file or ordered from storage within 30 days prior to the motion, if applicable, and brought to staff in the court office, at least one week prior to the new hearing date.

Part II: Requests for Assignment to Case Management – Rule 77.05

45. Under rule 77.01(2)1, parties are required to assume the greater share of responsibility for managing their own actions. However, “light touch” case management under Rule 77 is available on an “as needed/as requested” basis in accordance with the provisions of the rule.

A. Consent Requests

46. Consent or unopposed requests for assignment to case management may be made to the Team Leader Toronto Master, or the Regional Senior Judge, or designate, in the case of a request for case management by a judge, by completing a Request for Case Management.

47. Consent by itself is insufficient and parties must explain why case management is necessary having regard to the circumstances and the criteria set out in rule 77.05(4). Case management will not be assigned to actions that fail to meet the prescribed criteria.

48. If the request is granted, the Team Leader Toronto Masters or Regional Senior Judge, or designate, will assign a master or judge to case manage the action.

B. Opposed Requests

49. Opposed requests for assignment to case management must be brought by way of motion:

a. in the case of a request for case management by a master, on notice returnable in Masters’ Motions Court before any case management master; or,

b. in the case of a request for case management by a judge, on notice returnable in Civil Practice Court.

50. If the master grants the motion he or she will become the managing master.

51. Once a master is assigned to case manage a proceeding he or she will hear all motions in that proceeding within the jurisdiction of a master and will be available for case conferences.

52. If a motion for case management by a judge is granted, the Regional Senior Judge or designate will assign a judge to case manage the proceeding.

53. Requests under rules 37.15 or 77.06 for the appointment of a judge to hear all motions or steps in a proceeding shall be made in writing to the Regional Senior Judge, or designate.

54. A judge normally will not be assigned under rules 37.15 or 77.06 unless there is a likelihood of a significant number of motions or other steps in the proceeding that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of a judge.

Part III: Mandatory Mediation

55. All actions commenced in or transferred to the Toronto Region are subject to mandatory mediation under rule 24.1 except those actions excluded in rules 24.1.04(2) and (2.1).

56. A mediation session must take place within 180 days after the first defence has been filed, unless a consent under rule 24.1.09(3) has been filed or the court orders otherwise.

57. Court staff will not accept for filing a trial record (ordinary action) or a notice of readiness for pre-trial conference (Simplified Procedure action) unless the party setting the action down for trial files a  Certificate that:

a. Form 24.1A (Notice of Name of Mediator and Date of Session) has been filed with the mediation coordinator and the mediation session has taken place;

b. the report by mediator (indicating that the mediation has been concluded) has been filed with the mediation coordinator;

c. an order has been obtained from a judge or case management master exempting the action from mediation; or,

d. an order has been obtained from a judge or case management master extending the deadline for mediation until after the action is set down for trial.

These requirements will apply even where the parties have agreed to postpone a mediation session to a date more than 180 days after the first defence has been filed as permitted by rule 24.1.

58. A motion for an order exempting the action from mediation should be made to any master (unless the action is being case managed by a judge or a specific master). The motion should be returnable in motions court or by case conference if the action is case managed. Motions in writing on consent will be considered if sufficient reasons are given.

59. In keeping with the requirement for mandatory mediation and Rule 1.05, a judge may, at any stage in the proceeding, order that the parties not take any further steps in the proceeding, without leave of a judge, until a mandatory mediation has taken place.

Part IV: Certification of an Action to Set Pre-Trial and Trial Dates

60. The practice of certifying an action ready for trial continues in the Toronto Region.

61. Approximately 60 days after a trial record is filed, the Civil Trial Office will send to the party who set the action down for trial a Certification Form to Set Pre-Trial and Trial Dates, together with a list of available trial dates.

62. After consultation with the opposing counsel or party, the party who received the form must complete and return the Certification Form to the Civil Trial Office.

63. If a completed Certification Form is not returned by the date specified on the covering memo, the action will be struck from the trial list.

64. In order to restore an action that has been struck from the trial list the parties must:

a. Obtain an order granting leave from a case management master or judge under rule 48.11 to restore it to the trial list; and thereafter,

b. Attend the main file room on the 10th floor of 393 University Ave. and arrange to have the original trial record pulled and taken with the court order to the Civil Intake Counter.

The action will then be re-instated to the trial list and the trial record returned to the trial office. The trial office will treat the action as a new matter and forward new certification forms.

65. If an opposing party will not cooperate in completing the Certification Form within a reasonable time, for cases 10 days or less, a party can arrange an appearance before a judge in a “To Be Spoken To Court” which usually is held each Monday at 9:30 a.m. Contact the trial coordinator for additional information at 416-327-5320.

66. If an opposing party will not cooperate in completing the Certification Form within a reasonable time, and if a trial is anticipated to be over 10 days and, a party can arrange an appearance before the Long Trial Scheduling Court, which is normally held on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.

67. Once trial dates are set, there will be no adjournments of the trial except in extenuating and exceptional circumstances.

68. Rule 48.04 provides that a party who sets an action down for trial or consents to placing the action on the trial list cannot initiate or continue any form of discovery or interlocutory motion without leave of the court. Leave will be granted only in rare circumstances.

Part V: Administrative Forms

69. Administrative forms not prescribed under the Rules of Civil Procedure and used by the Civil Practice Unit may be obtained from the Civil Practice Unit or can be found on the Superior Court of Justice website.

Part VI: Designated Counties for the Commencement of Mortgage Proceedings under rule 13.1.01(3)

70. Pursuant to rule 13.1.01(3) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which comes into effect on March 31, 2015, Toronto shall be the place for commencement of mortgage proceedings for property located anywhere in the Toronto Region.

Dated: June 26, 2015
Amended May 1, 2017

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

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Regional Senior Judge
Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region