Home » COVID-19 Notices and Updates (Updated June 17, 2020) » COVID-19 Pandemic – Definitions of Urgent Matters

COVID-19 Pandemic – Definitions of Urgent Matters

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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.

Urgent Criminal Matters

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 Matters

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

Urgent and/or Essential Criminal Intake Court Functions

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