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COVID-19 Notices and Information

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Latest Announcements About Criminal Proceedings in the OCJ (Updated September 17, 2020)

Update September 17, 2020: Virtual Case Management Courts Opening in Certain Court Locations

Virtual criminal case management courts will be starting on Monday September 21 in the following locations:

311 Jarvis (Toronto), Belleville, Bracebridge, Brampton, Cobourg, Cochrane, College Park (Toronto), Dryden, Fort Frances, Gore Bay, Haileybury, Hamilton, Kenora, Kingston, Napanee, Newmarket, Old City Hall (Toronto), Orillia, Owen Sound and Walkerton


Update September 15, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal hearings at Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock will proceed on September 16, 2020

The resumption of in-person criminal hearings at Gore Bay, Orillia and Woodstock and of in-person family hearings in Gore Bay and Woodstock, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 16, 2020.


Update September 2, 2020:  Virtual Case Management Courts Opening in Certain Court Locations

Virtual case management courts will be starting on Tuesday September 8, 2020 in the following locations:

Barrie, Brantford, Brockville, Chatham, Cornwall, Lindsay, London, Milton, Niagara (St. Catharines / Welland / Fort Erie), North Bay, Parry Sound, Perth, Peterborough, Sarnia, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, Toronto North (1000 Finch) and Toronto West (2201 Finch)


Update September 2, 2020: Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts

For details about the scheduling and conduct of virtual criminal case management courts, including information about how counsel and accused persons may connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference, see Scheduling and Conducting of Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances (Published August 20, 2020; Updated September 2, 2020).


Update August 26, 2020: New Virtual Case Management Courts Opening in Certain Court Locations

Virtual case management courts will be starting on Monday August 31, 2020 in the following locations:

Oshawa
Thunder Bay
Timmins
Toronto East (1911 Eglinton)


Update August 24, 2020: Guides for Court Appearances by Video or Telephone

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice is holding some court proceedings by using the Zoom platform or the JVN (Justice Video Network) WebRTC  platform or by audioconference (telephone).

To help to ensure that remote hearings run effectively, the Court is publishing Guidelines for Conducting Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice. The Guidelines provide best practices for remote hearings.

For technical information about participating in a Zoom hearing, please see the ZOOM User Guide for Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice.

For technical information about participating in a JVN hearing, please see the JVN WebRTC Manual and JVN WebRTC Troubleshooting Tips.


Latest Announcements About Family Proceedings in the OCJ (Updated September 18, 2020)

Update September 18, 2020: First Appearance Court/First Court Date Before a Clerk (Family Matters)

The First Appearance Court/First Court Date (Family Matters) will be waived between September 28, 2020 and November 27, 2020. The First Appearance Court/First Court Date before a clerk will resume on November 30, 2020.


Update September 15, 2020: Resumption of in-person family hearings in Gore Bay and Woodstock will proceed on September 16, 2020

The resumption of in-person family hearings in Gore Bay and Woodstock, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 16, 2020.


Update September 2, 2020: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

As of September 28, 2020,  the Ontario Court of Justice will begin to resume hearing Applications, Motions to Change, and Family Responsibility Office (FRO) matters. The resumption of these matters is in addition to the family law matters that the Ontario Court of Justice is currently hearing.

For further details about the scheduling of family matters, including a list of the court locations where family matters are being conducted with in-person appearances, please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice and the related First Appearance Court Waiver.


Update August 24, 2020: Guides for Court Appearances by Video or Telephone

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice is holding some court proceedings by using the Zoom platform or the JVN (Justice Video Network) WebRTC platform or by audioconference (telephone).

To help to ensure that remote hearings run effectively, the Court is publishing Guidelines for Conducting Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice. The Guidelines provide best practices for remote hearings.

For technical information about participating in a Zoom hearing, please see the ZOOM User Guide for Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice.

For technical information about participating in a JVN hearing, please see the JVN WebRTC Manual and JVN WebRTC Troubleshooting Tips.


Latest Announcements About Provincial Offences Act Proceedings in the OCJ (Updated September 11, 2020)

Update September 11, 2020: Order Extending Time Lines

On September 10, 2020, the Chief Justice of Ontario made an order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending most timelines under the Act until December 1, 2020. A copy of this order is available here:

Additionally, all Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 through to and including Friday, October 30, 2020 will be adjourned.


Update September 2, 2020: Provincial Offences Act Matters

Until further notice, no in-person Provincial Offences Act proceedings will be conducted until at least Monday, October 19th, 2020. For details on the types of Provincial Offences Act matters that may proceed by audio conferencing, please see COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.


General Information: COVID-19 Procedures and Scheduling

The Ontario Court of Justice has significantly revised its procedures and schedules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court adopted a reduced operational schedule beginning on March 16, 2020.  In accordance with directives from the Chief Medical Officers of Health of Canada and Ontario, restrictions and measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including requirements for physical distancing and limits on the numbers of people permitted in courthouses and courtrooms.

Since March 2020, the Court has been working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to adopt technology that will allow participants to access justice and court-related services without the need for attending in person. Many court proceedings, which have traditionally taken place in person, are now taking place using remote technology, such as videoconference or audioconference. The Court has also been working with justice partners to plan for the resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants.

Criminal and Family Proceedings in the OCJ

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario. The first phase of the plan was implemented Monday July 6, 2020 in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms; additional courthouses resumed in-person hearings August 17 and 24 and September 14, 2020.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms resuming operations, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.   This involves the completion of site assessments at all courthouses and the implementation of all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, staff and members of the public. The Ministry will not re-open any courthouse unless and until it has concluded that the health and safety of courthouse participants will be adequately protected.

More information about the precautionary health and safety measures at courthouses implemented is available on the following website:  COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms.  These heath and safety measures include screening of all persons entering the courthouse.  Before you enter an Ontario courthouse, you will need to answer screening questions. You can complete the online screening before going to court: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening and then show the result as you enter.  If you cannot complete the screening online, other screening options are available at the courthouse.

Updates

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the resumption of hearings in additional courthouses and courtrooms in accordance with its recovery plan.  The Court will continue working actively with all justice partners to implement a fair and orderly return to operations. As we do so, the health and safety of all court users remains our paramount concern.