The COVID-19 message on the Ontario Court of Justice website (https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/) was updated today. For your information, the revised message is set out below:
Message re COVID-19 (Updated January 13, 2021)
The health and safety of all court users remains a top priority for the Ontario Court of Justice as it continues to provide meaningful access to justice despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ontario Court of Justice provides essential justice services to the public and remains open during these difficult times.
In light of the government’s January 12, 2021 declaration of a second state of emergency, the Court stresses the importance of limiting in-person attendance at courthouses. The Court is committed to facilitating the conduct of proceedings by remote technology (video or phone) wherever possible and urges all judicial officials, parties and counsel to use remote proceedings unless an in-person appearance is required to ensure meaningful access to justice.
The Court has encouraged all judicial officials, when exercising their authority, to be flexible and to respect why an individual may not be able to attend a court hearing in person, and to consider all reasonable alternatives to conducting a proceeding in person. Similarly, the Court encourages counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings or other arrangements are made by opposing counsel or parties.
Based on expert advice from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Court will continue to accommodate in-person appearances where they are required to ensure meaningful access to justice. In consultation with public health officials, the Ministry of the Attorney General has implemented a broad range of health and safety measures at all courthouses open to the public. It remains of critical importance that all who attend a courthouse in person be vigilant in maintaining the public health and safety protections in place at each court facility. For information about the health and safety measures implemented at Ontario’s courthouses, please see the Ministry of the Attorney General website.
If you are unsure whether your case is being held by video or telephone or in person, please contact your lawyer or, if you do not have a lawyer, contact the courthouse where your case is being heard using the contact information on this website.
For information about Ontario Court of Justice notices, directives and policies in response to COVID-19, see COVID-19 Notices and Information.