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Latest Announcements About Criminal Proceedings in the OCJ (Updated November 27, 2020)

Update November 27, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations November 30, December 7 and December 14
On November 30, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will launch in Armstrong, Fort Hope (Eabametoong), Geraldton, Landsdowne House (Neskantaga), Longlac, Manitouwadge, Marathon, Nipigon, Ogoki Post, Renfrew, Schreiber, Summer Beaver (Nibinamik) and Webequie. On December 7, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Bancroft, Killaloe and Wawa. On December 14, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Espanola. For more information, see  Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020


Update November 20, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations November 30, December 7 and December 14
On November 30, 2020, virtual criminal case management courts will launch in Armstrong, Fort Hope (Eabametoong), Geraldton, Landsdowne House (Neskantaga), Longlac, Manitouwadge, Marathon, Nipigon, Ogoki Post, Renfrew, Schreiber, Summer Beaver (Nibinamik) and Webequie. On December 7, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Killaloe and Wawa. On December 14, 2020, virtual case management courts will launch in Espanola. For more information, see  Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020


Update (November 18, 2020): Criminal Case Management Appearances on or after November 30, 2020
Previous directives of the Ontario Court of Justice directing that criminal case management matters will be adjourned for five weeks, with a discretionary bench warrant, if the accused person does not appear will end Friday November 27, 2020.  As of Monday November 30, 2020, accused persons are required to attend for their scheduled appearance in criminal case management court – either by having counsel appear on their behalf or by appearing by telephone or video. See Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances on or after November 30, 2020.


Update November 16, 2020: In-person hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice will resume November 30, 2020 at the following locations: Alexandria, Bradford, Elliot Lake, Kirkland Lake, Picton, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout.
Criminal trials and preliminary inquiries in the Ontario Court of Justice will resume November 30, 2020 at the following locations:  Alexandria, Bradford, Elliot Lake, Kirkland Lake, Picton, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout.  For more information, see Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Inquiries November 30, 2020 in additional locations of the Ontario Court of Justice


Update November 16, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations
On November 23, 2020. Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts will launch in Alexandria, Attiwapiskat, Chapleau, Fort Albany, Gogama, Kashechewn, Midland, Moosonee, Morrisburg, Peawanuck, Picton,  Sundridge, and Wikwemikong. For more information, see Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020


Update November 6, 2020: Court proceedings in Thunder Bay
Court proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including in-person trials, are continuing despite a fire in the Thunder Bay courthouse. Court matters are either being conducted remotely or are being relocated to another location. For information see, Notice to the Profession and the Public: Continuity of Court Operations in Thunder Bay using Remote Technology or at an Alternate Location


Update November 6, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations
On November 16, 2020. Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts will launch in Collingwood, Atikokan, Bearskin Lake, Big Trout Lake, Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Fort Severn, Ignace, Kasabonika Lake, Keewaywin, Kingfisher, Lac Seul, Mishkeegogamang, Muskrat Dam, North Spirit Lake, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Rainy River, Sachigo Lake, Sandy Lake, Wapekeka, Weagamow and Wunnumin Lake. Additional courts will be implemented over the coming weeks.
See Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020 for more details


Update November 2, 2020: Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations
On November 9, 2020. Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts will launch in Bradford, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout
See Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020 for more details


Update October 30, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal hearings at Guelph on November 2, 2020

In-person criminal hearings at the Guelph courthouse (36 Wyndham Street South), which had been temporarily suspended, will resume on November 2, 2020.


Update October 22, 2020:Criminal Virtual Case Management Courts Launching in Additional Court Locations

Virtual criminal case management courts will be implemented between October 26 and November 30, 2020 in over 50 locations. On October 26, 2020, courts will launch in Exeter, Leamington and Walpole Island First Nation. On November 2, 2020. Courts will launch in Blind River, Elliot Lake, Hearst, Hornepayne, Huntsville, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Minden and Smooth Rock Falls.
See Update – Additional Court Locations Commencing Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in October and November 2020 for more details.


Update September 25, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford will proceed on September 28, 2020

The resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 28, 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 November 17, 2020)

Update November 17, 2020: Resumption of Family matters in Northeast / Northwest regions; Resumption of First Appearance Court before the Clerk of the Court; Requirement to file sworn Form 6B: Affidavit of Service.

Family law matters in Elliot Lake and Kirkland Lake and Red Lake and Sioux Lookout are expected to resume on November 30, 2020.
Beginning November 30, 2020, across the province, First Appearance Court/First Court Date before a clerk will no longer be waived at locations where First Appearance Court/First Court Date before a Clerk is available.  These appearances before a clerk will resume and they will be held remotely.
And, beginning November 30, 2020,  the Ontario Court of Justice is requiring that sworn Affidavits of Service must be filed at all family court locations across the province, including filings received by e-mail or through the ministry’s Family Submissions Online platform.  Please see COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (November 17, 2020).


Update November 6, 2020: Court proceedings in Thunder Bay
Court proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including in-person trials, are continuing the despite a fire in the Thunder Bay courthouse. Court matters are either being conducted remotely or are being relocated to another location. For information see, Notice to the Profession and the Public: Continuity of Court Operations in Thunder Bay using Remote Technology or at an Alternate Location


Update September 25, 2020: Resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford will proceed on September 28, 2020

The resumption of in-person criminal and family hearings at Stratford, which was delayed, will now proceed on September 28, 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.

A Guide for Self-represented Family Litigants During COVID-19


Latest Announcements About Provincial Offences Act Proceedings in the OCJ (November 25, 2020)

Update November 25, 2020

On November 25, 2020, the Chief Justice of Ontario Court of Justice made an order pursuant to s. 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending most timelines under the Act until February 26, 2021. A copy of this order is available here:

Additionally, the Court has provided additional information about the scheduling direction on POA proceedings during COVID-19 in s. 4.0 of the revised COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.


Update October 14, 2020

All in-person appearances scheduled in municipally-administered Provincial Offences courts and all Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice  will be adjourned until January 22, 2021. All court locations will continue to hear matters remotely. Please see COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.


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 video conference or audio conference. 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 have resumed in-person hearings throughout the summer and fall of 2020.  Court operations will continue to expand incrementally as the Ministry implements additional health and safety measures in courthouses and courtrooms.

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.