Court of Appeal for Ontario Records Office

Notice Regarding Viewing Court Files in the Records Office during the COVID-19 Emergency

Effective September 21, 2020, the Court of Appeal for Ontario has resumed public/media access to its Records Office and the viewing of court files. In addition to the information available on the Court’s website, and until further notice, the Court will permit access to court records based on the following criteria:

  • Requests for access to court records can only be made by phone, email or fax (see the Court’s website for contact information). The Records Office continues to be closed for walk-in customer service.
  • You will be notified by phone, email or fax (based on your preferred method of communication) when your requested file is ready for viewing at which time you may schedule a viewing appointment.
  • Files are viewable on an appointment only basis – there are two appointment options, either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. each business day.
  • A single appointment may not last more than two hours. Depending on the size of the file(s) requested, staff will advise if more than one appointment is necessary.
  • Once your appointment has been confirmed, please ensure that you arrive on time at your scheduled time. If you are unable to make your appointment, please contact Marco Bonifaz: 416-327-5201, Chenelle Cooper: 416-327-6245 or the Records Office coordinator, Tanieka Swaby: 416-327-6495.
  • Payment of any Administration of Justice Act fees will be collected via telephone by credit card – no financial transactions are currently being conducted at the public counter. Contact the Records Office coordinator if you have no ability to pay any applicable fees by credit card.

The following precautions will continue to be taken to ensure the health and safety of all clients and staff during this emergency period:

  • The Court will continue to require all courthouse entrants to complete and pass an electronic self-screening health questionnaire (or it can be completed on paper) in order to gain access into the courthouse. Security screening continues to be performed by Toronto Police Services.
  • A mask or face covering must be worn at all times within the courthouse.
  • Washrooms for hand hygiene and hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the courthouse.
  • High touch-point areas throughout the public areas of the courthouse (brass hand rails, push plates, door knobs, counters, etc.) will continue to be disinfected three times per day.
  • Clients will be provided with a pair of disposable gloves prior to viewing and handling documents.
  • A maximum of two individuals is allowed in the viewing area of the Records Office. There is enough space for two individuals to be physically distanced.
  • No food or drink other than bottled water can be consumed in the Records Office.
  • Please bring your own supplies (e.g. pens, notepaper, paperclips, etc.) as these will not be supplied by court staff.
  • The Records Office is located on the concourse level of the courthouse. If you have any accessibility needs please inform court staff upon booking your viewing appointment.

Resources available for use:

  • There is a public photocopy machine for your use; this is an independently owned and operated machine by a third party; therefore, court staff will not be able to provide change for the machine or assist with any issues that may arise as a result of using the machine.
  • There is a Cerlox binding machine available for use – in order to maintain physical distancing court staff will not assist clients with unbinding/binding documents.

Viewing Court Files

The following fees apply to view court files:

  1. Files available on-site: $10, unless you are a party or the lawyer on record.
  2. To retrieve closed files stored off-site: $78, applicable to all clients (party/lawyer/public/media).

Closed Files Are Those That Have Been Either Abandoned by the Appellant or Completed by the Court and a Final Decision Rendered

Requests to view court files can be initiated as follows:

  1. In-person or through an agent at the Records Office public counter (located on the Concourse Level of Osgoode Hall)
  2. By phone: 416-327-5201/ 416-327-6245
  3. By e-mail: COA.E-file@ontario.ca
  4. By fax: 416-327-2213

Photocopies of court documents can be made by:

  1. Using the public photocopier located in the Record’s Office, which is owned by a private vendor, at the cost of 50 cents/page; or
  2. Requesting that the Court make the copies at a prescribed fee of $1.00/page pursuant to the Administration of Justice Act.

Viewing Court Exhibits

Only the Court or a lawyer on record can requisition the original papers and reproducible exhibits from the originating court and have them transferred to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

For criminal appeals, a lawyer on record may sign out exhibits once received by the Court with the written consent of the Crown, unless a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario orders otherwise.

For civil appeals, original court documents and exhibits are only transferred to the Court of Appeal for Ontario by order of a judge of this court pursuant to Rule 61.09 (2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Exhibits may be viewed by any member of the public/media if judicial approval is obtained from a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Judicial approval can be sought by completing and submitting a “Request Form Access to Exhibits”. The form can be obtained as follows:

  1. By clicking on the following link http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/access-to-exhibits-1/
  2. By phone: 416-327-6658
  3. By email: COA.E-file@ontario.ca
  4. In-person at the Records Office

Judicial approval is not required to access exhibits contained in appeal books. All court documents and exhibits transferred to the Court of Appeal for Ontario are returned to the originating court after the appeal or motion is heard and closed.

Viewing Closed Files

The Court of Appeal for Ontario retains closed files on-site for a period of 3 years from the date of the release of the final decision. After that time, they are transferred to an off-site location.

Closed files on-site are available for viewing the same day or next day after a request is made. The requesting party is notified at the time of ordering when the file will be available for viewing. The files are available for viewing for 1 week, unless an extension is requested. If no further extension is requested, the file will be returned to storage and must be requisitioned at the prescribed fee.

Closed files off-site take 3-5 business days to be transferred to the Court. The requesting party is contacted when the file is available to be viewed. The files are available for viewing for 2 weeks, unless an extension is requested. If no further extension is requested, the file will be returned to storage and must be requisitioned at the prescribed fee.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario retains access to closed files for a period of 30 years from the date of the final decision. Index books are available in the Records Office to obtain file numbers for court files from 1965 to 1990 as there are no electronic records for these files.

After 30 years, files are transferred to and retained by Archives of Ontario. Archives of Ontario can be contacted as follows:

Archives of Ontario
134 Ian Macdonald Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2C5
Canada
Toll-Free: 1-800-668-9933 (Ontario only)
Tel: 416-327-1600
Fax: 416-327-1999
Inquiries by Media: MGCS.MediaRelations@ontario.ca
Email: reference@ontario.ca

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