Home » COVID-19 Notices and Updates (Updated March 28, 2020)

COVID-19 Notices and Updates (Updated March 28, 2020)

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As part of the collective efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect the health and safety of court users, justice system participants, and members of the public, the Ontario Court of Justice is limiting access to courthouses.

People should not attend Ontario Court of Justice courthouses unless they fall within one of the exceptions identified below.

Urgent criminal and family matters: As of March 28, 2020, all urgent criminal and all urgent family proceedings will be conducted by telephone and/or video conferencing, unless otherwise ordered by a judicial official. Attendance in courtrooms for those matters will be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official orders otherwise.

Urgent and/or essential criminal intake court: For urgent and/or essential criminal intake court functions, attendance in courtrooms will be controlled.

Filing urgent court documents: Court documents for urgent matters can now be filed by email. If you are unable to submit an urgent filing in a criminal or family matter by email, please contact your local courthouse by email, or telephone or by attending at your local courthouse.  The addresses and phone numbers of all Ontario Court of Justice courthouses are posted on the Ministry of the Attorney General website. For details about filing court documents, please see below.

Media: Please see the Notice Regarding Media Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Physical distancing measures will be strictly enforced in the courtrooms and throughout the courthouse.

If you have a criminal or a family court appearance scheduled in the Ontario Court of Justice between March 16, 2020 and May 29, 2020, other than an urgent matter, your matter will be adjourned — without you being present — to another date 8 to 12 weeks away.

All family trials, criminal trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled between Friday March 20, 2020 and Friday May 29, 2020 are suspended, subject to a judge seized with a continuing matter ordering otherwise. This applies to both in-custody and out-of-custody accused.

Judicial officials will remain available to preside over:

  • regularly scheduled bail courts, remand and plea courts for in-custody proceedings;
  • plea court for urgent out-of-custody matters;
  • urgent family proceedings;
  • applications under the Health Protection and Promotion Act; and
  • urgent and/or essential intake court functions.

For further details about the scheduling of proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice, including Provincial Offences Act matters, please see the scheduling directives below.

Filing court documents in the Ontario Court of Justice

To further protect the health and safety of all court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19, we ask members of the legal profession and members of the public NOT to attend courthouses in person at this time for purposes of filing court documents. Urgent court filings can be now submitted by email. Instructions for doing so may be found in the Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of emailing urgent documents at the Ontario Court of Justice.

If you are unable to submit an urgent filing in a criminal or family matter by email, please contact your local courthouse by email or telephone or by attending at your local courthouse.  The addresses and phone numbers of all Ontario Court of Justice courthouses are posted on the Ministry of the Attorney General website.

For filing issues in relation to Provincial Offences Act matters, please refer to the Notice to Public regarding Provincial Offences Act Matters.

Scheduling Directives

Criminal Matters

COVID-19 Pandemic — Scheduling of Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (March 28, 2020)

Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused

Note: The criminal case adjournment dates are subject to change. Please check this website regularly for any updates.

Family Matters

COVID-19 Pandemic  – Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (March 28, 2020)

Notice to the Profession – CYFSA Statutory Timelines and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (March 23, 2020)

Provincial Offences Act Matters

Notice to Public regarding Provincial Offences Act Matters (March 23, 2020)

Order pursuant to section 85 of the Provincial Offences Act extending certain time periods (March 15, 2020)