Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding Court Proceedings (November 21, 2020)

In view of the public health situation, effective Monday, November 23, 2020, the Court will not commence any new jury selection in any court location except in those in a Green Zone as defined by the Ontario Government as of the date of this notice https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open.

This will remain in effect until at least January 4, 2021. An update will be issued on December 29, 2020.

To be clear, only court locations in Green Zones as of the date of this Notice will commence new jury selection until at least January 4, 2021.

Jury trials currently in progress can proceed, subject to the discretion of the trial judge.

Toronto and Peel

In the lockdown regions of Toronto and Peel, until further notice new (non-jury) matters that do proceed in-person will be required to maintain a 10-person limit in each courtroom.

Matters that are in progress involving greater than 10 persons in a courtroom, may continue at the discretion of the trial judge.

Virtual Proceeding Strongly Encouraged In All regions

In all regions, I strongly encourage the use of virtual proceedings wherever possible. I recognize that parties, counsel and participants may not be comfortable attending a courthouse or travelling to attend court. The Court must respond to this situation with great flexibility.

I have requested all judicial officers, when exercising their authority, to be as flexible as possible and to encourage virtual proceedings, wherever possible. Similarly, I request counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings or other arrangements are made by opposing counsel or parties.

We must continue to do what we can to move matters forward while supporting public health efforts to stabilize the situation.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Ontario Superior Court of Justice