COVID-19: What’s Happening in the Courts and Tribunals

Changes are occurring regularly, check the court’s website for the most recent updates.

Suspension of Limitation Periods in Ontario ends September 14, 2020

Ontario Courts of Justice:

  • Some courts are resuming in-person proceedings that include strict health and safety protocols.
  • For dates that occurred during closures, your new appearance date is based on the date you were supposed to originally appear. The earliest date is Aug 4, 2020 – check the schedule for your new appearance date
  • A criminally accused person can contact the Crown Attorney’s Office by email or phone to obtain their Crown Screening form and/or disclosure.
  • The court has procedures in place to assist individuals in applying to vary their release conditions, without needing to personally appear in court.

Provincial Offences Court: Oct 14, 2020 announcement: Court has adjourned all in-person appearances set in municipally-administered Provincial Offences courts and Provincial Offences Act appeals to a judge until Jan. 22, 2021. The court will reschedule these hearings to a later date. All court locations will continue with the remote hearing of matters. The court is asking the parties involved in these matters to refrain from attending court in person.

Ontario Social Justice Tribunals – including the Landlord and Tenant Board, Child Family Services Review Board, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Superior Court of Justice

  • Resumed some in-person hearings on July 6, 2020. 
  • Continues to hear matters virtually, and expects to further expand the scope of matters that will be heard virtually.
  • Criminal or civil jury selection or jury trials will resume on September, 2020, at the earliest.

Small Claims Court:

  • Continues to hear urgent motions and urgent garnishment hearings by telephone or videoconference.
  • On June 2, 2020, started scheduling settlement conferences in non-urgent matters, to be conducted remotely.

Federal Court:

  • There are provincial differences in how the court resumes, check the latest directions on the court’s website.
  • In Ontario, the suspension period has been extended to June 29, 2020; all hearings scheduled before the end of July are cancelled; online filing of service of documents has been made easier.

Ontario Court of Appeal:

  • All hearings suspended; urgent matters can be heard by way or written materials or remotely.
  • Check website for serving and filing deadlines and extensions of time.

Supreme Court of Canada:

  • The Court remains open for case-related matters
  • Counsel will appear before the court exclusively by videoconference, via Zoom, for hearings in November and December 2020. The justices will be present in the courtroom, and the court’s website will continue to livestream all proceedings.