Protocol for In-Person Hearings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The following procedures will apply to in-person hearings:

  • Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who should be self-isolating pursuant to provincial or municipal guidelines should not be entering the courthouse and should be completing any court-related business remotely.
  • Parties will be provided with a Zoom link for in-person proceedings prior to the hearing. In the event they are unable to attend in person, they should attend the proceeding remotely, using the Zoom link.
  • Public health or other considerations may make it necessary to convert an in-person proceeding to an online proceeding. Parties should be prepared to argue the appeal online if necessary and should expect the proceeding to proceed online on the same day and time as it had been scheduled to proceed as an in-person proceeding.
  • Judges will be gowned for in-person proceedings and counsel are expected to gown if attending in person and are encouraged to do so if attending remotely. The robing rooms at the Law Society of Ontario and the main doors between the Law Society and the courthouse have reopened.
  • All materials for the appeal must be filed electronically.
  • Parties may file a printed copy of an Oral Hearing Compendium for each member of the panel. However, even if printed copies of an Oral Hearing Compendium are used, an electronic copy of the compendium must also be served and filed. Electronic and printed compendiums must be filed five days in advance of the hearing in accordance with paragraphs 25-27 of the Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic available at this link.
  • There are video monitors in each courtroom that will permit judges and parties to view any parties attending by Zoom.
  • Judges will have access to all filed electronic documents on their own computers.
  • Two stationary video cameras will be mounted in the courtroom, permitting remote participants and observers to view the proceedings.
  • Until further notice, the court will continue to encourage physical distancing. To assist in allowing people to physically distance, parties should limit the number of people physically attending in-person hearings.
  • In-person attendance is ordinarily limited to individuals making oral submissions and a maximum of two additional individuals per party (e.g., counsel not making oral submissions, a client, a support person, an articling student, a mentor, a mentee, etc.). In limited instances, it may be possible to schedule an overflow courtroom in Osgoode Hall if parties require more than two additional individuals to attend a hearing in person. Parties may direct inquiries (preferably jointly) about the possibility of scheduling an overflow courtroom in Osgoode Hall to the Executive Legal Officer at ExecutiveLegalOfficer@ontario.ca at the same time they submit their Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form.
  • Access to hearings for observers, including members of the public and the media, will be provided by Zoom, subject to any privacy restrictions identified by the Court. Instructions for obtaining access to observe a hearing by Zoom can be found at Part IV of the Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic available at this link.
  • A Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form, sent in advance to parties by the Appeal Scheduling Unit, must be filed with the Intake Office. Parties should indicate on the counsel slip whether legal representatives will be appearing in person or remotely. The Counsel Slip is available at this link.
  • Masks are no longer required at the Court of Appeal. Attendees may still choose to wear a mask.
  • There are hand sanitizing stations throughout the courthouse. Hearing participants must sanitize their hands before entering a courtroom.
  • All persons are encouraged to maintain a 2-metre distance from one another.
  • Wi-Fi is available in the courthouse.
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. (Note: public drinking water is not available in the courthouse.)
  • There is no interior access between the Osgoode Hall Courthouse and the Law Society of Ontario.
  • Any accessibility-related accommodation requests pertaining to in-person appearances should be sent to the Court’s Accessibility Coordinator at coa.registrar@ontario.ca.
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