The Ontario Court of Justice has introduced special measures and scheduling directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which include special procedures for urgent matters. To find out if a matter would be considered urgent, please refer to the definitions below.
All criminal cases involving in-custody accused will be considered urgent matters.
For out-of-custody criminal cases, urgent matters are matters that require the Court’s attention before their next court date, which will be sometime after June 1, 2020. Examples include:
- urgent guilty pleas (where there is a deadline for eligibility for particular program, e.g. Stream A in impaired driving, or where an accused is on particularly onerous bail conditions);
- urgent consent bail variations;
- urgent applications to vary police undertakings; or
- urgent applications to vary probation or conditional sentence order conditions.
For more information about scheduling of criminal matters, including urgent out-of-custody matters, see COVID-19 Pandemic – Scheduling of Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
Urgent family court matters include:
- Child, Youth and Family Services Act: place of safety hearings (s. 90); temporary care and custody hearings (s. 94), restraining orders (s. 137), status review hearings (s. 113), and secure treatment orders (s. 161);
- Domestic matters: urgent custody/access motions; motions for restraining orders; Hague applications and non-Hague abduction cases; and
- Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act: refraining motions (s. 35).
For more information about scheduling of family matters, including urgent family matters, see COVID-19 Pandemic – Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
The following matters are considered urgent and/or essential so as to be dealt with in Criminal Intake Courts, unless remote/virtual processes have been put in place. To enquire about the remote/virtual processes which may be available please contact your local courthouse.
- swearing of Informations and confirmation of process by police officers
- bail variations,
- surety revocations,
- search warrants and any other urgent investigative warrants (tracking warrants, transmission data recorder warrants, production orders),
- Form 2 Mental Health Act applications,
- Child Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) apprehension warrants,
- swearing of other Informations and confirmation of process,
- any necessary and urgent Provincial Offences Act Intake matters if the courthouse deals with POA matters