Notice to the Profession – Central West Region (Effective July 6, 2020)

The Notice to the Profession by the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice dated June 25, 2020 describes the expected partial resumption of some in-court hearings.

This Notice to the Profession sets out the matters and procedure in the Central West Region for the partial re-opening of the courts during the months of July and August 2020.

The number of courtrooms available for in-person appearances is reduced significantly from what was available before the suspension of court operations:

  1. It is expected that on July 6, 2020 Brampton will have 5 courtrooms available for all Superior Court proceedings. In September 2020, it is expected that an additional 5 courtrooms will become available.  The remaining courtrooms are expected to be completed by November. When court operations were suspended, Brampton Superior Court had 15 available courtrooms and a further 4 new courtrooms in the recently completed addition; and
  2. Milton, Orangeville, Guelph and Owen Sound will only have one courtroom each until November 2020 with Orangeville’s courtroom having limited availability until September. Walkerton will have no available courtrooms until September.

Given the limited number of available courtrooms within the Region, the court will do its utmost to accommodate non-jury trials and other matters where in-court hearings are determined to be necessary and in the interests of justice.  Accordingly, many matters will continue to be heard by tele/videoconference.

Counsel, parties and the public attending the courthouses must ensure strict compliance with all health and safety requirements posted throughout the courthouse. Failure to comply will result in that person being denied admission to or required to leave the courthouse. If you are uncertain about the health and safety requirements in the courthouse, please inquire before attending the courthouse.

Care should be taken to ensure that all electronic materials are filed to the correct email addresses shown herein.  Exceptions to the filing of materials electronically will be made ONLY where the parties do not have the financial or technical capability of electronic filing, in which case the parties must file their materials with the court office in the usual manner.

All electronically filed documents must clearly set out the email addresses of the party filing the materials and all other interested parties in that matter.

Where time estimates are provided by the parties or set by the court for all hearings, in-court and by videoconference, such time estimates will be strictly enforced, subject to the discretion of the presiding judge.

CRIMINAL MATTERS

In Brampton, some courtrooms will be available to conduct non-jury trials and pre-trial applications for cases to proceed after this summer, with or without a jury.

In Milton, Orangeville, Guelph and Owen Sound there will be limited courtroom availability in July and August for non-jury trials or pre-trial applications.  Nevertheless, some matters may be scheduled for in-court hearings.

All counsel are strongly encouraged to have their clients sign a Superior Court designation and file it at the Superior Court Trial Office at:

scjtrialofficebrampton@ontario.ca

Superior Court designations (Form 18) can be found in Schedule I to the Criminal Proceedings Rules on the Superior Court website under Criminal Law. The designation includes areas to designate counsel appearing for all date or on a limited designation. Urgent And Other Criminal Applications

All requests for urgent hearings or other criminal applications will continue to be heard in accordance with the procedure set out in the Central West Region’s Notice to the Profession dated May 19, 2020.

Please contact the local Trial Coordinator for further details.

Criminal Trials Scheduled To Proceed In July And August In Brampton

Brampton has criminal trials scheduled in July and August.   Those trials will remain on the trial lists.  Where the original election was non-jury or trials where counsel have indicated an intention to re-elect will proceed, subject to courtroom availability.

However, the regular Monday morning trial scheduling including having multiple cases listed in 407 court at 10:00 a.m. will not be feasible given the necessary health and safety requirements.   The “Monday morning pre-trials” will be held on the Friday before the trial is to commence at times to be arranged by the Trial Coordinator.  All counsel who will be conducting the trial are required to attend the audioconference pre-trial.  With the prior approval of a judge, the pre-trials may be held on the Thursday before the trial is to commence.

Pre-trial conferences are mandatory for all trials scheduled to proceed, non-jury and jury, to determine whether there will be a re-election or pre-trial applications can be heard in the jury trials, obtaining accurate trial time estimates, whether a resolution is possible and setting new trial dates when necessary.  For the cases scheduled to proceed with a jury and counsel have not indicated in advance an intention to re-elect, the Crown’s witnesses should be on stand-by and not attend court on the Monday morning.

Criminal Cases Remanded to September 15, 16, 17 and 18, 2020

A very large number of cases have now been remanded to July 6, 7, 8 and 9, 2020 by the Chief Justice’s Order dated May 5, 2020.

In order to reduce the number of cases required to be dealt with on the return dates and to set dates upon which the cases can proceed, unless the case has previously been dealt with by the court, these cases will be addressed by audio appearance before those dates. These cases include but are not limited to trials, sentencings and set date appearances adjourned because of the suspension.

The court will conduct these audio appearances on a schedule with one half-hour or one-hour slots at which time new trial dates can be set, sentencing dates set or other matters addressed. For example, if one half-hour time slots are used, there may be 6 or 7 cases scheduled, counsel or self-represented accused will call the number provided, instead of announcing their name when prompted, simply push the # key to limit the interruptions to the proceedings. The cases will be dealt with in the order in which they appear on the docket.

Counsel must have signed designations filed so that the accused does not have to attend, and the accused can be remanded directly to the next date without a warrant with discretion. If the accused is in custody and counsel does not have a designation, he or she will be scheduled at a later date to be remanded by audio conference.

There will be separate time slots for provincial and federal matters.

Counsel should discuss in advance mutually agreeable dates and the Crowns will have the dates and times that have been set aside for these conferences. The lists will then be provided to the Trial Coordinator who will set the lists. The cases will be called in the order in which they appear on the docket. Where there are two or more accused counsel, they should coordinate their dates before calling into the appearance.

Self-represented accused can also contact the assigned Crown to arrange an audio appearance to address the case.

After the effectiveness of this approach has been assessed, it may be modified or replaced with a different procedure. If that were to occur a further Regional Notice will be provided.

As with all Superior Court appearances, all counsel are to know the net Jordan date and be prepared to indicate whether the proposed dates raise Jordan issues.

If the case is not and has not been dealt with by the court prior to the remanded dates of September 15, 16, 17 or 18, 2020, the case is remanded to the dates specified in the Chief Justice’s Notice to the Profession dated June 25, 2020.

July 10, 24 and August 7 and 21 Assignment Courts in Brampton

There are currently some cases scheduled for the July 10 Assignment Court.  Following committals for trial there will be additional cases that would normally go directly to an Assignment Court.  For these Assignment Courts the following options apply:

  1. Before attending the Ontario Court where committal will definitely occur, the Crown and defence counsel can attend the Superior Court Trial Office or email the Trial Coordinator with the earliest available a mutually agreeable date, not later than 60 days of the committal for trial, obtain a pre-trial date and have the accused remanded to that date and not an A/C.
  2. If the accused is remanded to an Assignment Court, counsel are to contact the assigned Crown and the Trial Office to arrange the earliest mutually agreeable pre-trial conference date within 60 days of the committal before the Assignment Court. Where that is done, if the pre-trial conference date is after the Assignment Court date, a warrant with discretion will be issued at the Assignment Court returnable on the pre-trial date and no one needs to appear for the Assignment Court
  3. Attend the Assignment Court by audio conference at the time advised by the Trial Office.
  4. Where an accused is in custody, if pre-trial dates are arranged in advance, the accused will not appear in person or remotely at the A/C. They will be remanded by designation or with warrants with discretion.
  5. Self-represented accused who wish to schedule a pre-trial conference representing themselves should email the Trial Office at the email address noted above to arrange a recorded audio pre-trial conference. If the pre-trial conference is scheduled before the Assignment Court date, the accused will be remanded to a new date after the pre-trial conference.  If the self-represented accused has not set a pre-trial date or the date is after the Assignment Court, the accused will attend the courthouse and the case will be spoken to in court at 9:00 a.m.

Summary Conviction Appeals

Counsel are reminded that filing deadlines for appeals remain in effect. Once the appellant and respondent’s factums, including informed time estimates, are filed and the appeal is ready to proceed, the appeal will be scheduled for a videoconference hearing unless counsel have arranged and held a telephone conference with a judge to determine if the appeal should be heard virtually or in-court.

Counsel will be advised of the time/date and other directions for the hearing and the time allocated to the parties for submissions after a judge has reviewed the appellant’s factum.

Where the sentence imposed at trial included a jail sentence and the appellant obtained bail pending appeal or on a Crown sentence appeal a jail term may be imposed, the court will not release a judgment until it is determined that it is appropriate to have persons enter jails unless a judge determines otherwise.

CIVIL AND FAMILY MATTERS

Assignment Courts For Adjourned Civil And Family Trials

A Civil and Family Assignment Court, in each courthouse, will be held by videoconference to consider the status of all civil and family trials adjourned during the court suspension, to make any order, give any directions and/or schedule a new trial date.

Brampton: The Assignment Court for all adjourned trials scheduled between March 16 and June 30, 2020 will be heard by videoconference on July 7, 2020 at 10:00 am.

The Assignment Court for all matters to be heard in the Assignment Courts scheduled in March, April, May or June 2020, will be heard by videoconference on July 8, 2020 at 10:00 am.

The Assignment Court for all matters to be heard on the July 27, 2020 Assignment Court will be heard by videoconference on that date at 10:00 am.

The Brampton Assignment Courts can be joined by going to:

URL:  https://zoom.us/j/9088553637
Telephone Access: 1-855-703-8985(Toll free)/1-647-558-0588 (Local)
Meeting ID:  908 855 3637

Milton: The Assignment Court for all adjourned civil trials scheduled between March 16 and June 30, 2020, will be heard by videoconference on July 6, 2020 at 10:00a.m.

The Assignment Court for all adjourned family trials scheduled between March 16 and June 30, 2020, will be heard by videoconference on July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

The Assignment Courts previously scheduled for April 6, May 11, June 1, July 6 and August 4 where only a trial record has been filed, are adjourned to an Assignment court by videoconference on August 31, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

The Milton Assignment Courts can be joined by going to:

URL:  https://zoom.us/j/2305538836
Telephone Access:  1-855-703-8985 (Toll free)/1-647-558-0588 (Local)
Meeting ID:  2305538836

Guelph: The Assignment Court for all trials adjourned between March 16 and June 30, 2020 and any matters that were to be heard at the Assignment Courts during this same period will be heard by videoconference on July 13, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

URL: https://zoom.us/j/8239481353
Telephone Access:1-855-703-8985(Toll free)/1-647-558-0588 (Local)
Meeting ID:  8239481353

Orangeville: The Assignment Court for all trials adjourned between March 16 and June 30, 2020 and any matters that were to be heard at the Assignment Courts during this same period will be heard by videoconference on September 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

URL:  https://zoom.us/j/8309792622
Telephone Access:1-855-703-8985(Toll free)/1-647-558-0588 (Local)
Meeting ID:  8309792622

Walkerton/Owen Sound: The Assignment Court for all trials adjourned between March 16 and June 30, 2020 and any matters that were to be heard at the Assignment Courts during this same period will be heard by videoconference on September 8, 2020 at 10 a.m.

URL:  https://zoom.us/j/7516001243
Telephone Access:1-855-703-8985(Toll free)/1-647-558-0588 (Local)
Meeting ID:  7516001243

A list of the actions, to be spoken to at these Assignment Courts, will be posted on the SCJ website www.ontariocourtdates.ca . The daily court lists will include the case name, time, and reason for the court appearance. This information is updated each day at 4:30 p.m., when the next day’s information is posted.  Please check the daily list prior to the Assignment Courts.

When you join the virtual Assignment Court; please ensure your audio remains muted until your case is called.  The cases will be called in the order they are on the Assignment Court list posted list online.

When your case is called out, please “unmute” your audio, state your name and the party you represent.

Once all counsel are identified, counsel must be prepared to advise the court of the following information:

  • Whether the matter has settled? Consent Judgments will be signed by the presiding judge in due course when forwarded electronically;
  • Whether all parties agree to adjourn the trial to the next court sittings for that courthouse, in which case, the court will so endorse the record;
  • Is the action to be tried by a jury? If so, the action will be adjourned to a further  Assignment Court on a date announced by the presiding judge;
  • Are the parties ready for trial? If not, why not?
  • Have the parties agreed upon the length of trial? The parties are advised that the estimated length of trial will be, subject to the presiding judge, strictly enforced;
  • Is there some reason(s) why this trial should be given priority on the first available courtroom? The court may hold the matter down to make submissions later that day or make submissions in writing.  The parties are advised that, if the trial is given priority, the parties must confirm they are ready to proceed on short notice.

Where no one attends the Assignment Court, the matter will be struck from the trial list and will require an order to be re-instated.

Urgent, Consent Motions And Motions In Writing

Urgent, Consent motions and motions in writing will continue to be dealt with by the court in accordance with the Central West Regions’ Notice to the Profession dated May 19, 2020.

Scheduling New or Re-Scheduling Adjourned Conferences or Motions

Any party seeking to re-schedule a conference or motion adjourned due to court suspension (and has not been heard) or to schedule a new conference or a new motion must seek a date and time for the conference or the motion by requesting same electronically to the following email addresses:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse scjtrialofficebrampton@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse SCJHaltontrialoffice@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJTrialOffice@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse GuelphOffice.SCJ@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca

Please ensure that the names and email addresses of all parties are clearly set out along with the title of proceedings and file no.

If the matter to be scheduled is a regular motion, an estimated time for the motion must also be provided. 

If the matter to be scheduled is a long motion, it must be specifically identified as such together with an estimated time for the motion.

Available conference/motions dates will vary from courthouse to courthouse and many will not be available for July or August.

Once a date has been provided to the party, the parties must comply with the applicable Rules for service and the filing of materials to the following email addresses:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse BramptonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse MiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse Guelph.Courthouse@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse OwenSound.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse Walkerton.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca

The filed electronic motion materials by each party is limited: the body of each filed affidavit is limited to 20 pages and parties must attach only those excerpts of exhibits necessary and relevant to the issues to be decided. Copies of all relevant orders and endorsements must also be included in the electronic materials filed. If lengthier motion materials are necessary, directions will need to be obtained from a judge.

The filed electronic conference materials by each party is limited to conference briefs of four (4) pages plus only those excerpts of documents necessary and relevant to the issues to be decided; proof of service; and draft order(s). Copies of all relevant orders and endorsements must also be included in the electronic materials filed.  Counsel/parties must confirm, in their materials, that they have previously fully discussed the issues to be dealt with at the conference or provide detailed reasons why they have not. Failure to do so, may result in the conference not being scheduled.

Confirmations must be filed electronically to the following email addresses:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse scjtrialofficebrampton@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse SCJHaltontrialoffice@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJTrialOffice@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse GuelphOffice.SCJ@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca

If a confirmation is not filed, the matter will not be heard on the scheduled date.

Upon receipt of the confirmation, the court office will advise the party of the time and details of the virtual conference.

Scheduled Matters (July 6, 2020 To September 11, 2020)

Subject to the availability of judges, all motions, conferences and pre-trials currently scheduled between July 6 and September 11, 2020 will be heard on the date scheduled.

Given the limited number of courtrooms available for the balance of the year, the parties should expect that all matters (except trials) will be heard by way of a virtual conference unless a judge orders otherwise. If a party objects to a matter proceeding by way of a virtual conference, the party must raise this at the outset of the virtual conference as a preliminary motion that the matter be heard in-court.

Parties are strongly encouraged to agree that matters be heard in writing or by virtual conference.  In-court hearing dates are likely to be well into the future.

Trials may proceed by way of videoconference if all parties consent to proceed in this manner.

Depending on the availability of courtrooms and judges, some non-jury trials may be heard in-court in Brampton.  However, it is highly unlikely that any trials can proceed in the Region’s other courthouses.

1. Currently Scheduled Family Conferences for July and August

Unless ordered otherwise, all conferences scheduled between July 6 and September 11, 2020 will proceed by way of virtual conference on the scheduled dates.

If a party objects to the conference proceeding by way of virtual conference, the party must raise this at the outset of the virtual conference as a preliminary motion that the matter be heard in-court.

The parties must re-file their conference materials electronically to the following email addresses:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse BramptonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse MiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse Guelph.Courthouse@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse OwenSound.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse Walkerton.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca

Judges will NOT have access to court files. The filed electronic materials by each party is limited to case or settlement conference briefs of four (4) pages plus only those excerpts of documents necessary and relevant to the issues to be decided; proof of service; and draft order(s). Copies of all relevant orders and endorsements must also be included in the electronic materials filed.

Counsel/parties must confirm, in their materials, that they have previously fully discussed the issues to be dealt with at the conference or provide detailed reasons why they have not.

Confirmations must be filed at the following email addresses:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse scjtrialofficebrampton@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse SCJHaltontrialoffice@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJTrialOffice@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse GuelphOffice.SCJ@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca

Failure to file a confirmation may result in the matter not proceeding on the scheduled date.

Upon receipt of the confirmations, the court will advise the parties of the details and times for the virtual conference.  The times will be staggered throughout the day.

2. Currently Scheduled Motions (July 6 to September 11, 2020)

Unless ordered otherwise, all motions scheduled between July 6 and September 11, 2020 will proceed by way of virtual conference on the scheduled dates.

If a party objects to the motion proceeding by way of virtual conference, the party must raise this at the outset of the virtual conference as a preliminary motion that the matter be heard in-court.

Counsel must file/re-file their motion materials electronically at:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse BramptonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse MiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse Guelph.Courthouse@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse OwenSound.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse Walkerton.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca

The filed electronic motion materials by each party is limited: the body of each filed affidavit is limited to 20 pages and parties must attach only those excerpts of exhibits necessary and relevant to the issues to be decided. Copies of all relevant orders and endorsements must also be included in the electronic materials filed.

If the motion is a long motion, then the body of each filed affidavit must not exceed 30 pages plus excerpts of exhibits necessary and relevant to the issues to be decided.

Confirmations must be filed at the following email addresses:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse scjtrialofficebrampton@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse SCJHaltontrialoffice@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJTrialOffice@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse GuelphOffice.SCJ@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse SCJGreyBruce@ontario.ca

Failure to do file a confirmation may result in the matter not proceeding on the scheduled date.

Upon receipt of the confirmations, the court will advise the parties of the details and times for the virtual conference.  The motions will be staggered throughout the day.

3. Currently Scheduled Civil Pre-Trials (July 6 To September 11, 2020)

Unless ordered otherwise, all civil pre-trials scheduled between July 6 and September 11, 2020 shall proceed by way of virtual conference on the scheduled dates.

The parties must re-file their pre-trial briefs at the following email address:

Brampton-Peel Region Courthouse BramptonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Milton-Halton Region Courthouse MiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Orangeville – Dufferin County Courthouse OrangevilleSCJCourt@ontario.ca
Guelph- Wellington County Courthouse Guelph.Courthouse@ontario.ca
Owen Sound- Grey County Courthouse OwenSound.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
Walkerton- Bruce County Courthouse Walkerton.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca

Upon receipt of the pre-trial briefs, the court will advise the parties of the details and times for the virtual conference. The pre-trials will be staggered throughout the day.

RSJ Ricchetti
June 25, 2020