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

Ontario Courts of Justice: as of March 16, 2020, if you have a Provincial Offences Act, family or criminal court appearance in the Ontario Court of Justice you do not need to attend court at this time, unless the matter is an in-custody or urgent criminal matter or an urgent family matter.

  • May 15, 2020: an accused person can contact the Crown Attorney’s Office by email or phone to obtain their Crown Screening form and/or disclosure.
  • An update regarding out-of-custody appearances that were scheduled to occur between June 1, 2020 and July 3, 2020 will be posted soon.
  • No trials or preliminary inquiries will be conducted until July 6, 2020 at the earliest, unless a judge seized with a continuing matter orders otherwise. For more information.
  • Effective May 11: the court has new procedures in place to assist individuals in applying to vary their release conditions, without needing to personally appear in court.
  • May 19 update for Provincial Offences: judicial pretrials will be held by audio or video conference. Cases subject to judicial pre-trials will be determined by local protocol. Parties will be notified of the date and time of the judicial pre-trial and the information for attending the audio or video conference.

Ontario Social Justice Tribunals (including the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Social Justice Tribunal) are postponing in-person hearings but will proceed with written, telephone or video hearings wherever possible. All limitation periods have been suspended as of Mar 16, 2020.

Superior Court of Justice is hearing emergency matters in family, civil and criminal cases only, but this information changes regularly. Check their website for regional notices and specific guidance. May 19, 2020 update:

  • Will not resume in-person hearings of any court matters until July 6, 2020, at the earliest.  It will, however, continue to hear matters virtually, and expects to shortly further expand the scope of matters that will be heard virtually.
  • Will not recommence criminal or civil jury selection or jury trials until September, 2020, at the earliest.

Small Claims Court – May 4, 2020, the court will hearing URGENT matters only; all other cases continue to be suspended.

The Federal Court has further extended filing deadlines until May 15, 2020 and had made online filing of service of documents easier.

Ontario Court of Appeal has suspended all appeals; urgent matters can be heard by way or written materials or remotely. May 21, 2020 amended practice direction, that gives information on serving and filing deadlines and extensions of time relating to criminal appeals, applies until Sept. 30. More information.

The Supreme Court of Canada has adjourned all hearings scheduled for March, April and May; filing deadlines have been suspended; and the court is closed to all visitors.