Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Effective: March 29, 2021
Released: March 15, 2021
Revisions Released: March 31, 2021
The Oral Hearing Compendium may be in a traditional written document and/or a slide presentation to be presented during argument.
(i) Appeals by the Crown
(ii) Appeals by the Accused
The court cannot access cloud-based file-sharing services that use two-stage verification, require online registration, or are blocked by the court’s network due to firewall restrictions, including WeTransfer.
Unless permission is given by the court, it is an offence under s. 136 of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, punishable by a fine of not more than $25,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both, to record any part of the hearing, including by way of screenshot/capture and photograph, as well as to publish, broadcast, reproduce or disseminate any such recording.
This warning will be included with the Zoom link, webinar/meeting ID and password, and telephone numbers for the hearing provided to the parties by the court.
(i) New Standard Wording
You must surrender into custody at the institution from which you were released by 7:00 a.m. on the morning the judgment is to be released or by 7:00 a.m. on [insert “sunset date”], whichever is earlier.
(ii) New Release Orders
(iii) Existing Release Orders
March 15, 2021
Chief Justice George R. Strathy
¶ Parties to panel and single judge motions must file a Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form in accordance with section V.C of this Practice Direction. In particular, moving parties in single judge motions must submit the completed Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form to the court’s e-filing email address at firstname.lastname@example.org at the same time as they file their notice of motion. The responding parties to single judge motions must submit their form 24 hours before the hearing (excluding weekends and holidays). For panel motions, parties must file the completed Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form to email@example.com at least 10 business days before the hearing.
New Standard Wording
¶ Given the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the court has changed the standard wording of the surrender condition that must be included in all orders for release from custody pending appeal. Unless otherwise ordered by a judge, the new standard wording of the surrender condition is:
¶ The new standard is designed to reduce the number and duration of surrenders while appellants are on release pending the determination of their appeal. Pursuant to the new standard wording, appellants no longer have to surrender before the appeal hearing, only before the release of the judgment. Also, appellants do not have to spend the night in custody; instead, they only need to surrender by 7:00 a.m. the morning the judgment is to be released or the morning of the “sunset date”, whichever is earlier.
¶ The “sunset date” in the new standard wording is like an expiry date for a release order, and it helps the court monitor the progress of these appeals. The court would encourage the parties to propose a “sunset date” that takes into account the challenges and delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. If necessary, applications to extend a “sunset date” should be brought well in advance.
¶ The new standard wording of the surrender condition remains subject to what an individual judge may decide is appropriate in the circumstances of a particular case.
New Release Orders
¶ Unless otherwise ordered by a judge, the new standard wording of the surrender condition set out in paragraph 116 must now be used in all new release orders made by the court.
Existing Release Orders
¶ This Practice Direction does not alter existing release orders. Existing release orders must be complied with.
¶ If an appellant wishes to vary the surrender condition in the appellant’s existing release order to reflect the new standard wording set out in paragraph 116, the court would encourage the appellant to apply well in advance of the hearing date.
Counsel are to make their best efforts to re-submit the order to the court within two days of the order being issued. If counsel expect a delay in re-submitting the order to the court, they are to email the motions clerk at COA.SingleJudgeMotions@ontario.ca.
¶ Barring exceptional circumstances, the institution must send the completed order back to the court on the same day that the appellant is released. Court of Appeal staff will send copies to counsel for the appellant and the Crown upon receipt.
The following are best practices for appearances by Zoom at the Court of Appeal. These practices are for guidance and are not intended to be exhaustive. Parties should follow any direction given by the panel or presiding judge. They may also wish to consult the E‑Hearings Task Force’s Best Practices for Remote Hearings.