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Hamilton Law Association Operation re. COVID-19 and Related Notices to the Profession

On this page
MAY 26 | Amendment to Central South Region Notice dated May 12th re. Criminal, Family, Civil Expansion
MAY 14 | SCJ Expansion Update
MAY 13 | Central South Region re. Expansion of Criminal, Civil and Family Services Effective May 19th, 2020
MAY 11 | New Procedures for Criminal Matters in the OCJ
MAY 7 | Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
MAY 6 | SCJ Order Adjourning Child Protection Matters
MAY 6 | SCJ Order Further Adjourning Criminal Matters
MAY 6 | Notice to the Profession: SCJ Continued Suspension of In-Court Matters to July 6, 2020
MAY 4 | Ontario Small Claims Court Counter Service Suspension
MAY 4 | ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE NOTICE: New Return Date of July 6, 2020
APRIL 23 | Virtual Witnessing for Wills and Power of Attorney
APRIL 21 | Notice to the Profession Re. the Suspension of Criminal and Civil Jury Trials
APRIL 20 | Real Estate Update
APRIL 16 | The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) Update
APRIL 7 | Protocol re. Family and Child Protection Matters in Central South Judicial Region
APRIL 2 | Expansion SCJ Virtual Court Operations
MARCH 28 - Notice to Court Users re: Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic
MARCH 27 | Legal Aid Ontario Supports to the Bar
MARCH 26 | Land Registry Offices, Law Society Program, and Real Estate Update
MARCH 25 | Changes to summary Legal Advice Services at Legal Aid Ontario due to COVID-19
MARCH 24 | Notice to the Legal Profession re. Civil Claims Online Services
MARCH 24 | EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND CIVIL PROTECTION ACT ORDER UNDER SUBSECTION 7.0.2 (4) OF THE ACT - ELECTRONIC SERVICE
MARCH 23 | Hamilton Related Business Continuity and Recovery Information Website
MARCH 23 | Legal Aid Update and Regional Legal Aid Contact List
MARCH 21 | Province Suspends Limitation Periods and Other Deadlines
MARCH 20 | Legal Aid Ontario and the Criminal Bar
MARCH 19 | Ontario Protecting Critical Front-Line Justice Services in Response to COVID-19
MARCH 18 UPDATE: Family Law Practitioners | Children's Aid Societies Suspending Certain Access Visits
MARCH 18 | Law Society Ontario Corporate Statement RE: Client Identification

MAY 26 | Amendment to Central South Region Notice dated May 12th re. Criminal, Family, Civil Expansion

May 26, 2020

CRIMINAL MATTERS:

2.k. The court is available to do Summary Conviction appeals.
The parties are reminded that matters scheduled below are remanded with warrants returnable and cases to be spoke to as follows:
• March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 are further adjourned to July 6, 2020 at 10:00 am.
• April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020 at 10:00 am.
• May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020 at 10:00 am.
• June 2020 and July 2 and 3, 2020 matters are now adjourned to July 9, 2020 at 10:00 am.

FAMILY MATTERS:

v) CONTESTED MOTIONS (SHORT MOTIONS):
The court will hear contested motions or applications which can be argued in less than 45 minutes by zoom or conference call. While the court remains in suspension, the motion material shall indicate any Wednesday for the motion hearing date.
Concise material shall be filed with Court Services, in PDF with hyperlinks to tabs and exhibits; while draft orders are to be filed in WORD. The material shall be filed by email to Court Services at:

• Brantford: BrantfordSCJCourt@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: HaldimandCountyCourt@ontario.ca
• Hamilton Family: HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Courthouse@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: SCJStCatharinesCourthouse@ontario.ca
• Welland: SCJWellandCourthouse@ontario.ca

While the court remains in suspension, the moving party must then complete service at least 7 days prior to the date the motion is to be heard. If responding material is filed 4 days prior to the motion date, a confirmation must be filed by the moving party stating that responding material has been filed. Confirmations are to be sent by email to the Trial Coordinators at:

• Brantford: BrantfS@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: Cayuga.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Hamilton Family Court: Hamilton.Family.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: St.Catharines.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Welland: Welland.Superior.Court@ontario.ca

The Trial Coordinators will then provide a non-negotiated date for the motion to be heard, and the original motion date will be vacated.
If no responding material is filed 3 days prior to the original motion date then the moving party must file a confirmation to that effect, and the motion will proceed as an unopposed basket motion, and the original motion hearing date will be vacated.

Except where specifically stated in the protocol of April 7, 2020; the Notice of May 12, 2020, and this Notice, the Family Law Rules continue to apply.
Parties must undertake to file all materials and any fee payable upon resumption of normal court operations.

CIVIL MATTERS:

The parties are reminded that matters scheduled below are now returnable to be spoken to on the following dates:
• March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 are further adjourned to July 6, 2020 at 10:00 am.
• April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020 at 10:00 am.
• May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020 at 10:00 am.
• June 2020 and July 2 and 3, 2020 matters are now adjourned to July 9, 2020 at 10:00 am.

iv) CONTESTED MOTIONS/APPLICATIONS:
The court will hear contested motions or applications which can be argued in less than 45 minutes by zoom or conference call. While the court remains in suspension, the motion material shall indicate any Wednesday for the motion hearing date.
Concise material shall be filed with Court Services, in PDF with hyperlinks to tabs and exhibits; while draft orders are to be filed in WORD. The material shall be filed by email to Court Services at:

   Brantford: BrantfordSCJCourt@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: HaldimandCountyCourt@ontario.ca
• Hamilton: HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Courthouse@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: SCJStCatharinesCourthouse@ontario.ca
• Welland: SCJWellandCourthouse@ontario.ca

While the court remains in suspension, the moving party must then complete service at least 7 days prior to the date the motion is to be heard. If responding material is filed 4 days prior to the motion date, a confirmation must be filed by the moving party stating that responding material has been filed. Confirmations are to be sent by email to the Trial Coordinators at:

• Brantford: BrantfS@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: Cayuga.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Hamilton: Hamilton.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: St.Catharines.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Welland: Welland.Superior.Court@ontario.ca

The Trial Coordinators will then provide a non-negotiated date for the motion to be heard, and the previous motion date will be vacated.

If no responding material is filed 3 days prior to the original motion date then the moving party must file a confirmation to that effect, and the motion will proceed as an unopposed basket motion and the original motion hearing date will be vacated.

Parties must undertake to file all materials and any fee payable upon resumption of normal court operations.

v) LONG MOTIONS & SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS:
The court will hear long motions and summary judgment motions of 3 hours or less.
While the court remains in suspension, the motion material shall indicate any Wednesday for the motion hearing date.
Concise material shall be filed with Court Services, in PDF with hyperlinks to tabs and exhibits; while draft orders are to be filed in WORD. The material shall be filed by email to Court Services at:

• Brantford: BrantfordSCJCourt@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: HaldimandCountyCourt@ontario.ca
• Hamilton: HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Courthouse@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.SCJ.Courts@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: SCJStCatharinesCourthouse@ontario.ca
• Welland: SCJWellandCourthouse@ontario.ca

Counsel must then complete service at least 7 days prior to the motion hearing date. If responding material is filed 4 days prior to the original motion date, a confirmation must be filed by the moving party stating that responding material has been filed. Confirmations are to be sent by email to the Trial Coordinators at:

• Brantford: BrantfS@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: Cayuga.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Hamilton: Hamilton.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: St.Catharines.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Welland: Welland.Superior.Court@ontario.ca

The Trial Coordinators will then provide a non-negotiated date for the motion to be heard, and the previous motion date will be vacated.

If no responding material is filed 3 days prior to the original motion date then the moving party must file a confirmation to that effect, and the motion will proceed as an unopposed basket motion and the original motion hearing date will be vacated.
Parties must undertake to file all materials and any fee payable upon resumption of normal court operations.

Harrison S. Arrell
Regional Senior Justice – Superior Court of Justice
Central South Region

MAY 14 | SCJ Expansion Update

May 14, 2020

This memo is being sent on behalf of Mohan Sharma, Executive Legal Officer, Office of the Chief Justice, Ontario Superior Court of Justice

To view this memo please click here.

Further to the new Consolidated Notice to the Profession, dated May 13, 2020, please find attached a memo that summarizes the new provincial Notice and a chart summarizing which matters will be heard in each of the Court’s regions.

MAY 12 | Central South Region re. Expansion of Criminal, Civil and Family Services Effective May 19th, 2020

May 13, 2020

This notice is being sent on behalf of Regional Senior Justice Arrell

To view this notice as a pdf please click here

By Notice to the Profession dated March 15, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) advised the profession, the media and the public that, while the SCJ was suspending court operations, it would continue to hear urgent matters in criminal, family and civil. 

During the intervening period the SCJ has continuously explored all avenues to expand the services it provides to the public.  As set out in the Province-Wide April 2, 2020 Notice to the Profession issued by Geoffrey B. Morawetz, Chief Justice, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, each Region expanded the scope of matters it heard effective April 6, 2020, with a further expansion April 28, 2020.

Having considered the various resources and technological constraints to hearing matters during the suspension of court operations, the Central South Region will, effective May 19, 2020, expand further to deal with additional matters.

During the next several weeks, the Central South Region will continue to monitor the situation and, if possible, will further expand the types of matters and hearings that will be heard during these extraordinary times.

This NOTICE supersedes and replaces the NOTICES of April 2, April 28 and April 30, 2020 issued in Central South. However, the protocol of April 7, 2020 regarding Family and Child Protection matters remains in place and should be followed regarding documentary and filing requirements for conferences and motions;

The Chief Justice has issued orders adjourning criminal matters to specified dates and extending bench warrants accordingly. He has also issued an order adjourning matters and extending certain orders in child protection cases. These and other orders of the Chief Justice can be found at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/

MAY 11 | New Procedures for Criminal Matters in the OCJ

May 12, 2020

As you may know, on Monday May 4, the Ontario Court of Justice released a public communication announcing that it will not be returning to full operations on May 29, 2020. The communication advised that no trials or preliminary inquiries will be conducted until July 6, 2020 at the earliest.

As we continue to work with the Superior Court, the Ministry, and other justice partners to address and tackle the challenges to the resumption of trials and preliminary inquiries, the Court understands and shares the pressing concern of a growing court backlog.

The Court is thus pleased to announce a limited expansion. As of Monday May 11, the Court will expand its operations to accommodate resolutions of criminal charges involving persons who are out of custody, where the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place. In addition, as further described in the Notice, the Court is making judicial pre-trials mandatory for all criminal proceedings (including YCJA proceedings):

i)             that were scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 that was, or will be, adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and

ii)            that are scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between July 6, 2020 and October 30, 2020

Please find attached the COVID-19 Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, which is effective May 11, 2020. This notice both consolidates previous directives regarding OCJ criminal proceedings issued as a result of the COVID-pandemic and it includes important updates regarding our Court’s criminal operations.

Accompanying this Notice are two related protocols, one about the conduct of bail hearings, and the other about new procedures for consent variations to bail orders and police undertakings. You will find these protocols attached, together with the consent variation application forms.  In addition, I enclose a procedures guide regarding the new consent variation procedures that my office prepared for the judiciary, Court Services Division and Counsel for your reference.

Please find attached the below attachments:

COVID-19: NOTICE TO COUNSEL AND THE PUBLIC RE: CRIMINAL MATTERS IN THE ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE 

COVID-19: CONSENT VARIATION PROCEDURES FOR RELEASE ORDERS AND POLICE UNDERTAKINGS IN THE ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE  

** Detailed Procedure for Judiciary/Court Services/Counsel ** COVID-19: CONSENT VARIATION PROCEDURES FOR RELEASE ORDERS AND POLICE UNDERTAKINGS IN THE ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE

COVID-19: ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE PROTOCOL RE BAIL HEARINGS 

ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE: APPLICATION FOR CONSENT VARIATION OF BAIL

ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE: APPLICATION FOR CONSENT VARIATION OF POLICE UNDERTAKING

MAY 7 | Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

May 08, 2020
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency until May 12, 2020 and has indicated that the declaration may be further extended beyond this date. In light of the continued uncertainty about the duration of the state of emergency in Ontario, the Ontario Court of Justice will not be returning to full operations on May 29, 2020. No trials will be conducted until July 6, 2020 at the earliest, unless a judge seized with a continuing matter orders otherwise.
The Court will continue discussions to consider gradually expanding the range of matters that it is hearing.

The Court is working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to adopt technology that will increase participants’ ability to access courthouse services using remote means, such as by the electronic filing of court material, remote scheduling processes, and remote hearings. The Court is also working with stakeholders to plan for the eventual resumption of in-person attendances in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants based on the best available public health information.

In order to protect the health and safety of all court users and to help contain the spread of COVID-19, we continue to ask members of the legal profession and members of the public to NOT attend courthouses in person at this time unless a judge orders otherwise or if you are unable to email family court documents relating to an urgent family matter.
Under no circumstances should you come into a courthouse if you have been advised by public health officials, your doctor or the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) website (https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus) to self-isolate.
Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates (https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/).

Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (May 7, 2020)
This Notice supplements the March 28, 2020 Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice. Please read this directive in conjunction with the March 28, 2020 directive.

The OCJ will continue to hear urgent matters. Starting on May 19, 2020, cases conferences in previously adjourned matters and, subject to local direction, other matters will be permitted to be heard in the Ontario Court of Justice. In addition to these matters, each local courthouse will continue to hear certain in-chambers requests.
New proceedings, unless urgent, will not be heard at this time.
The scheduling and document filing requirements for case conferences and other matters will be determined locally by the Local Administrative Judge, keeping in mind the limited on-site court staff resources.

All other family court matters not addressed by this Directive (for example, trials) and previously scheduled between March 20, 2020 to May 29, 2020 will be now be adjourned until July 6, 2020.

Additional Important Information:

When a document has been filed electronically, it is not necessary to file a paper copy.
Parties shall not assume that the judge hearing the matter will have access to the entire court file.

MAY 6 | SCJ Order Adjourning Child Protection Matters

May 06, 2020
Due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID 19 and its impact on Superior Court of Justice operations in Ontario,

[1] Child protection to be spoken to eventsthat have been set to return to court for a rescheduling appearance during the weeks of June 1 st , 8 th and 15 th 2020 are hereby adjourned to July 2020, in accordance with regional Notices to the Profession which will be released shortly.

[2] In addition, child protection to be spoken to events that were to be heard in the month of June 2020 are hereby adjourned to July 2020, in accordance with regional Notices to the Profession which will be released shortly.

[3] Existing orders in all such cases that are impacted by [1] and [2] above are hereby extended until July 31st, 2020 or further court order.

[4] If urgent issues arise in any such case in the interim, either party may make a request to the court for a matter to be addressed as permitted by Notices to the Profession applicable in each judicial region.

[5] The court will continue to hear steps in a child protection case in accordance with Notices to the Profession as applicable in each judicial region.

[6] This order shall not apply to child protection events that have been scheduled for a hearing in the intervening period including any initial hearings upon the removal of a child to a place of safety, scheduled temporary care and custody hearings, initial attendances for status review applications or steps in an appeal. Allsuch events shall continue at the scheduled time pending further order of this court.

MAY 6 | SCJ Order Further Adjourning Criminal Matters

May 06, 2020
The Order of March 15, 2020 appended to this Order is further extended as follows: Due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID 19, any accused person who had or has a criminal matter scheduled for any type of appearance in any court in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice between March 17 and July 3, 2020 shall be adjourned as follows, unless the court orders otherwise:

[1] Matters originally scheduled for appearances in March, 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 are further adjourned to July 6, 2020. • Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear in this Court on July 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in March 2020, • the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 2, 2020, is hereby extended to July 6, 2020, • if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 6, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and • the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

[2] Matters originally scheduled in April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020. • Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear in this Court on July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in April 2020, • the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 3, 2020 is hereby extended to July 7, 2020, • if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 7, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and • the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

[3] Matters originally scheduled in May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020. • Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear in this Court on July 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May 2020, • the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 4, 2020 is hereby extended to July 8, 2020, • if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 8, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and • the bench warrant with discretion is extended as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

[4] Accused persons with matters scheduled in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in the month of June 2020 and on July 2 and 3, 2020 must now appear in this Court on July 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in June, 2020. • A bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in June on which the person was scheduled to appear, • if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 9, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and • the bench warrant with discretion is issued as of the date the person is scheduled to appear, pursuant to s. 597 (4) of the Criminal Code.

[5] Persons scheduled to appear in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on July 6, 7, 8 and 9 should do so as scheduled.

[6] This Order extends, as necessary, all warrants of remand for accused persons in custody to whom the Order applies.

[7] At a future date, Notice will be given of an orderly process for the re-booking of trial and motions dates affected by this Notice and that of March 15, 2020.

MAY 6 | Notice to the Profession: SCJ Continued Suspension of In-Court Matters to July 6, 2020

May 06, 2020

To protect the health and safety of all court users and to help contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) suspended in-person hearings, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, and until further notice.  Only certain matters would be heard virtually, by way of telephone or videoconference hearing.

Effective April 6, 2020, the SCJ expanded the scope of its virtual operations.  Regional Notices to the Profession were issued identifying which matters would be heard in each region in-writing, or by telephone or video conference hearings.

On April 20, 2020, the SCJ issued a further Notice to the Profession advising that the Court will not recommence criminal or civil jury selection or jury trials until September 2020, at the earliest.

Given the on-going public health situation due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty as to when it will be safe to return to courthouses, the SCJ will not resume in-person hearings of other 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.

The Executive of the Court has been working closely with the Ministry of the Attorney General, the profession and other justice partners to expand the scope of matters that can be heard virtually.  The Superior Court of Justice continues to work to deliver access to justice during these difficult times.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice.

MAY 4 | Ontario Small Claims Court Counter Service Suspension

May 04, 2020
In order to protect the health and safety of the public and court staff, Small Claims Court counter services are suspended until further notice.

This means that until further notice, court documents cannot be filed at Small Claims Court counters.

If the court rules or legislation required your claim or document to be filed on or after March 16, 2020, you have more time to file your document with the court. Limitation periods and other statutory deadlines to take a step in a court case were suspended by the Ontario government through an order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (O. Reg 73/20). This emergency order is available at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200073.

The new deadline for filing a claim and other documents in your case will be determined once the emergency period ends or by a court order.

You can choose to file your claim online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-small-claims-online.

While you can file a claim online, please note that at this time:

• a defence to your matter is not required to be filed unless a judge made an order requiring the filing;

• your matter will not proceed to a court hearing or judgment unless a judge decides to allow an urgent hearing.

Hearings of the Small Claims Court were suspended by the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice effective March 16, 2020 and until further notice. See:
https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/suspension-small-claims-ops/.

Until further notice, the Small Claims Court will hear only urgent motions and urgent garnishment hearings. Urgent cases may include:

• Cases in which a judgment debtor has an outstanding warrant for arrest issued in relation to a Small Claims Court finding of contempt; or

• Time-sensitive cases that would result in immediate and serious financial hardship if there was no hearing. If you wish to ask for an urgent court hearing, you can make a request for consideration by a judge.

Directions on how to make a request for an urgent hearing of a Small Claims Court matter can be found on the Superior Court of Justice website at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/category/news/.

For notices regarding any changes to Small Claims Court processes please visit the websites of the
Superior Court of Justice at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/ and
Ministry of the Attorney General at: https://www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral.

MAY 4 | ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE NOTICE: New Return Date of July 6, 2020

May 04, 2020
The Ontario Court of Justice will not be returning to full operations on May 29, 2020.  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. This applies to criminal, family and Provincial Offences Act matters. The Court will soon provide a detailed notice to the profession and to the public about all proceedings in the Ontario of Justice.  The Court is also working closely with its justice partners, including the Ministry of the Attorney General, to adopt technology that will increase participants’ ability to access the Court’s services using remote means, such as by the electronic filing of court material, remote scheduling processes, and remote hearings.

The full message can also be found on the OCJ website.

 

APRIL 23 | Permitting Wills and POAs Witnessed Virtually

Apr 23, 2020

On April 23, 2020, the Ontario Government amended an order under s. 7.0.2(4), of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act permitting wills and POAs witnessed virtually (through audio – visual communication) to be signed in counterpart from the date of the order.  It is intended that this order will remain in place until the end of the declared state of emergency.

This amendment simply revokes Schedule 1 of O. Reg 129/20 and replace it with a new Schedule 1 that includes both the virtual witnessing provisions (unchanged since April 7 and in effect for the duration of the state of emergency) and the new counterpart signature provisions, effective from the date of the order onward for the duration of the state of emergency.

You can view the order here and read the legislation here.

On April 7, 2020, the Lieutenant Governor in Council made an order under s. 7.0.2(4), of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act permitting virtual witnessing for wills and powers of attorney provided that at least one person who is providing the service as a witness is a licensee pursuant to the Law Society Act. 

The Order is not retroactive and will be in place for the duration of the declaration of emergency. 

The Order in Council can be found here and on e-Laws, as a regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

APRIL 21 | Notice to the Profession Re.the Suspension of Criminal and Civil Jury Trials

Apr 21, 2020

To protect the health and safety of all court users and to help contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) suspended in-person operations, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, and until further notice.

By order, all criminal matters scheduled for any type of appearance between March 17, 2020, and June 1, 2020, were adjourned.[1]  All civil matters scheduled to be heard on or after March 17, 2020, were adjourned with no fixed return dates.  The effect of those orders was to suspend most jury proceedings.

Since March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has continued to hear high priority non-trial matters.

Given the on-going public health situation, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will not recommence criminal or civil jury selection or jury trials until September, 2020at the earliest.

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notice-suspension-criminal-and-civil-jury-trials/

The Court will monitor the public health situation and issue further direction in early May.

In the meantime, all dates for criminal matters that are currently scheduled for trial or for any other reason in June will remain in place until that further direction is issued.

For civil jury matters, each region of the Court will consider how it can best reschedule civil jury trials that were to have been heard during this suspension of regular operations.  Details will be shared in regional notices to the profession as they become available.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Ontario Superior Court of Justice


[1] Matters set in March were adjourned until June 2, 2020; matters set in April were adjourned until June 3, 2020; and matters set in May were adjourned until June 4, 2020.

APRIL 20 | Real Estate Update

Apr 20, 2020

The Federation of Ontario Law Associations have received further information to be shared with the real estate lawyers of Ontario.  They have been diligently working with other stakeholders to seek clarification and effect positive changes for the benefit of real estate lawyers and their clients. A link to this update is available on the FOLA website here.

On behalf of FOLA we wish to express our gratitude to the Treasurer and senior staff at the LSO who have been actively engaged on many issues important to the public and to the bar during these challenging times.  It is greatly appreciated.

Banking Updates

More great news! We have been advised that MCAP and RMG have rescinded their restriction on lawyers acting on refinance transactions.

A notice sent out last week confirms that effective immediately, MCAP and RMG refinances may be closed through FCT, FNF or individual solicitors.

Electronic Funds Transfers

Most lenders still require certified cheques or bank drafts for mortgage discharge purposes, and with banks closing branches and reducing hours, discharging mortgages is becoming more and more challenging.  We continue to work with other stakeholders in an effort to find alternate solutions.

We have been advised that some lenders are offering to debit the lawyer’s trust account directly by EFT to withdraw mortgage discharge funds. It is our understanding that this is not permitted under Law Society By-Law 9. The only external party authorized to debit a lawyer’s trust account is Teranet, and only from a special trust account set up under section 16 of By-Law 9.  A lawyer can electronically transfer funds to a lender, provided that the lawyer complies with the By-Law 9 requirements for such transfers.  By-Law 9 is available on the Law Society website here.

We have also been asked whether third party EFT platforms for transferring closing funds have been approved by the Law Society, and as far as we know, the Law Society has not approved any. The latest statement from the Law Society on such platforms is here.

Planning Act notice provisions suspended

In response to questions about whether or not the Emergency Order freezing limitation periods applies to the notice provisions under the Planning Act, the government enacted Ontario Regulation 149/20 last week to clarify. O.Reg 149/20 suspends certain notice periods under the Planning Act until the COVID-19 emergency is terminated or disallowed. The Regulation is available here.

LRO Updates

Further letters from the Director of Titles have been received.

A letter from the Director of Titles relating to registered mail for Land Titles Applications is available here.

A letter from the Director of Titles relating to Cautions is available here.

LDD Remote Signing Platform

As we previously advised, Lawyer Done Deal has launched a Remote Signing Platform which is available to all lawyers free of charge.  It allows lawyers to post documents to clients, host virtual closing meetings and view client signing activity.  More details about the platform can be found here.   A short video regarding the new platform is now available on the OBA website here.

Stay up to date with FOLA’s real estate information at https://fola.ca/real-estate-law.

APRIL 16 | The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) Update

Apr 17, 2020

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) has shifted from full service to core services effective Monday, March 23, 2020, to protect the health and well-being of our staff and stop the spread of COVID-19.

We are still open, but operating at a reduced capacity, with reduced staffing levels to respect physical distancing.

Clients can still call FRO and receive core services, but there will be longer than normal wait times. We ask for your patience as we strive to continue to provide high-quality client service.

As we make further business decisions, we will continue to provide updates on our website. Please see the updates below to provide information to clients.

  • Legal service on FRO: Effective immediately and until further notice, legal documents for any proceeding that is required to be served on the Director of the Family Responsibility Office must be served by email to: FROlegalservice@ontario.ca. This email is not for client service-related inquiries or for the delivery of other documents to FRO.
  • Phone lines: Our phones are still open, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but clients will experience longer than normal wait times due to FRO having fewer staff available.
  • FRO Online: Clients will be able to access their basic case information using FRO’s self-service online tool. If a client would like to sign up for FRO Online, they will have to phone FRO to register.
  • FRO’s automated client information: Clients can access automated information regarding last payment, balance and enforcement actions any time by calling FRO. Clients will need their 7-digit case number and PIN when they call.
  • Support payors: We expect payors to continue to make payments as per their court order, and if there is a change in their circumstances as a result of COVID-19, they need to inform us. We will work with them.
  • Support recipients: FRO will continue to flow payments to recipients as we receive them. If we do not receive payments, we will take the appropriate actions to get payments flowing.

FRO client inquiry line

Toronto: 416-326-1817
Toll-free: 1-800-267-4330
TTY: 1-866-545-0083

Agents are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Automated case information is available 24 hours a day.

Learn More

For more information, visit ontario.ca/FRO

APRIL 7 | Protocol re. Family and Child Protection Matters in Central South Judicial Region

Apr 07, 2020
Introduction

1. This Protocol sets out how the Memo to the Bar of RSJ Arrell dated April 2, 2020 will be operationalized in Central South Judicial Region, for family and child protection matters.

2. This Protocol is supplementary to, and does not replace, the April 2, 2020 memo. The documents are to be read together. RSJ Arrell’s Memo is appended hereto. 1

3. This memo applies to all court sites in Central South Judicial Region.

4. Information regarding filing of documents is set out below at paragraphs 14 and 31.

Please pay careful attention to filing your materials to the correct e-mail address.
a. Urgent Motions and Case Conference material will be served to a general mailbox that reaches the Trial Coordinators.
b. Basket motions and Motions in writing will be served to a general mailbox that reaches Court Services Division.

5. Application of the Family Law Rules is modified only to the limited extent set out in this Protocol and the April 2, 2020 Memo. All other Family Law Rules continue to apply.

Urgent Matters

6. Urgent matters will continue to be heard as set out in the memo of April 2, 2020.
See Central South Expansion Notice https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notice-to-the-profession-cs/

7. Urgent matters will continue to be referred to a triage judge, assigned to determine urgency. Counsel and parties are encouraged to review the case law on urgency before bringing an urgent motion.

8. If a matter is determined to be urgent, the triage judge will determine additional materials to be served and filed, timelines, and any other directions for the hearing of the matter. Parties should be aware that the judge hearing the motion may require further materials.

Case Conferences

9. Case conferences continue to be a required step for matters not found to be “urgent” as set out above.

10. A case conference by tele-conference may be requested where there are one or two discrete issues with which the court can assist. Case conferences will be scheduled for 30 minutes.

11. Case conference dates and times will be set by the Court and are not negotiable.

12. Priority will be given to cases where parties have not yet had a case conference.

13. The following materials must be filed for a case conference:
a. Case conference brief of each party, maximum 4 pages, 12-point font, no attachments (except as listed below) and must be double spaced.
b. If parenting issues, a copy of each party’s Form 35.1 Affidavit;
c. If financial issues, a copy of each party’s up-to-date financial statement;
d. If property issues, a copy of each party’s net family property statement;
e. If support issues, a pre-filled Support Deduction Order;
f. If seeking an Order at the case conference, a draft Order, in Word, to facilitate potential changes to that Order by the judge;
g. A copy of any relevant prior Order or Endorsement (if Order not yet taken out) shall be provided with the materials.
h. Contact information, including email contact information, of all parties.

i. The subject line of your email MUST include the following information:
a. Level of court
b. Type of matter (family or child protection)
c. Name of parties
d. File number
e. Appearance sought: case conference.

Filing of Documents for Urgent Motions and Case Conferences

14. As set out elsewhere, where documents are to be filed, they are to be filed at the following email addresses which direct materials to the applicable Trial Coordinator:
• Brantford: BrantfS@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: Cayuga.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Hamilton Family Court: Hamilton.Family.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: St.Catharines.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Welland: Welland.Superior.Court@ontario.ca

15. Given the volume of materials being sent to the Trial Coordinators through the email addresses listed, documents for urgent motions and case conferences must be filed as one package by each party, not in several emails.

16. The e-mail box will be checked regularly by the Trial Coordinator who is also working remotely.

17. Please do not e-mail the Trial Coordinator directly. Use only the email addresses set out above.

Motions in Writing

18. A case conference continues to be required for non-urgent matters, before a motion will be heard in writing. If your matter has not been conferenced, see the above regarding case conferences.

19. Any motion brought under this section must be the equivalent of a “short motion” (ie: would previously have been heard in under 60 minutes).

20. The following motions will NOT be heard in writing at this time:
a. Summary Judgment Motions (child protection or otherwise)
b. Long Motions
c. Uncontested Trials
d. Contempt Motions
e. Disclosure Motions (due to the need to have access to the complete court file).

21. When bringing a motion in writing under this section, the moving party shall be responsible for filing, in one email to the Court, all of the documents below, of both parties, copied to the other party’s email address. This is essential to avoid overloading of the general email box and to ensure that no materials go astray. For clarity, do not file your motion without all of the applicable documents below:
a. A cover email copying the responding party, directed to the applicable email address set out in paragraph 31, below.
b. Form 14 C Confirmation, signed by both parties or both parties’ counsel. That Form 14(C) must:
i. list all documents being filed for the hearing of the motion, with number of pages;
ii. containing a statement that the parties consent that the matter may be heard in writing, as follows:

Either:
Counsel for the Applicant and Counsel for the Respondent hereby confirm that that this motion may be dealt with in writing and that all materials to be submitted on the hearing of this motion are attached;

Or (where parties are self-represented):
The parties hereby agree that this motion may be dealt with in writing and that all materials to be submitted on the hearing of this motion are attached
c. Notice of Motion setting out relief sought;
d. One affidavit per party, maximum 10 pages inclusive of any exhibits, 12 pt font, double spaced;
e. One Reply affidavit, from moving party, maximum 3 pages, 12 pt font, double spaced;
f. If parenting issues, a copy of each party’s Form 35.1 Affidavit;
g. If financial issues, a copy of each party’s up-to-date financial statement, with required income information attachments;
h. If property issues, a copy of each party’s net family property statement;
i. If support issues, a pre-filled Support Deduction Order;
j. Brief summary of argument for non-routine motions;
k. A copy of any relevant prior Order or Endorsement (if Order not yet taken out);
l. A draft Order, in Word, to facilitate potential changes to that Order by the judge.
m. Contact information, including email contact information, of all parties.

n. The subject line of the email submitting materials to the court MUST include the following information:
i. Level of court
ii. Type of matter (family or child protection)
iii. Name of parties
iv. File number
v. Appearance sought: Motion in writing

Materials on a written motion shall be in writing only. For clarity, there shall be no audio or video files submitted to the court in conjunction with a motion in writing.

Basket Motions/ Consent Motions/ Procedural Motions

23. The following matters will be heard by Form 14(B):
a. Motions for Consent Orders, such as for: parenting time, disbursement of funds held in trust, appointment of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL);
b. Procedural motions such as for substituted service/ dispensing with service;
c. Consent motions to change with all applicable forms as required under the Family Law Rules.

24. When bringing a motion under this section, the moving party shall be responsible for filing, in one email to the court, all of the documents below of both parties, copied to the other party’s email address. This is essential to avoid overloading of the general email box and to ensure that no materials go astray. For clarity, do not file your motion documents separately.

25. In addition to the documents otherwise required under the Family Law Rules, the following documents must be filed:
i. For parenting matters:

1. Both parties’ Form 35.1 affidavits must be filed;
2. Brief updating affidavit setting out how the proposed arrangements are in the best interests of the child(ren);
3. If seeking the appointment of OCL, include a brief affidavit setting out the basis of the request, and the type of involvement requested (s. 89 or s 112 of the Courts of Justice Act). Note that Voice of the Child Reports are not available at this time.
ii. For support matters:
1. SDO and SDIS must be filed if parties are represented;

26. The subject line of the email submitting materials to the court MUST include the following information:
i. Level of court
ii. Type of matter (family or child protection)
iii. Name of parties
iv. File number
v. Appearance sought: 14 B Basket Motion/Consent Motion/Procedural Motion

27. The email must indicate that the parties confirm that all of the materials served by both parties for the motion are being filed. A responding party who does not agree that all materials have been filed by the moving party must advise the court immediately, by email to the applicable email address set out below in paragraph 31.

28. Be sure to provide contact information, including email contact information, of all parties.

29. At this time divorce applications and adoption applications are not being processed, unless the divorce is urgent, in which case the matter may be addressed as an urgent motion.

30. Documents for Basket Motions/ Consent Motions/ Procedural Motions are to be filed at the following court addresses at paragraph 31 (NOT at the addresses set out in paragraph 14, above).
Filing for Motions in Writing, and Basket Motion/ Consents/ Procedural Motions

31. Documents for Motions in Writing, and Basket Motions/Consents/ Procedural Motions are to be filed through the applicable Court Services Division for each courthouse as follows:

• Brantford: BrantfS@ontario.ca
• Cayuga: Cayuga.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Hamilton Family Court: Hamilton.Family.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Kitchener/Waterloo: Kitchener.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Simcoe: Simcoe.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• St. Catharines: St.Catharines.Superior.Court@ontario.ca
• Welland: Welland.Superior.Court@ontario.ca

32. Given the volume of materials being sent to the Court Services Division through the email addresses listed, documents must be filed in one package by each party, not in several emails.

33. The e-mail box will be checked regularly by the Court Services Division.

34. Please do not e-mail the Trial Coordinator about matters sent to CSD at the email addresses in paragraph 31. Any follow up should be directed to the applicable email address in paragraph 31.

Information from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer

35. The court has been advised that the Office of the Children’s Lawyer will continue to respond to urgent family matters where there has been an appointment to provide legal or clinical services for a child or children, including matters designated as urgent by the court.

36. The Office of the Children’s Lawyer has advised that it is not accepting requests for Voice of the Child Reports at this time.

37. The Court is advised that the Office of the children’s Lawyer is prioritizing high conflict and complicated custody and access matters at this time for both section 89 representation and section 112 reports. The usual timelines for the delivery of section 112 reports do not apply at this time. Efforts are being made to provide the reports in a timely manner recognizing the challenges in the current COVID-19 context.

38. If the parties are requesting the appointment of the OCL, the applicable draft Order shall be completed before the appearance.

39. If the Court makes an Order for OCL appointment, the parties remain responsible for completing the applicable intake forms:

Information from the Family Responsibility Office

40. The Family Responsibility Office has advised the Court that the agency is not sending new notices of drivers’ license suspension at this time and that they are in the process of cancelling notices previously sent. It is hoped that this will reduce the need to bring refraining motions at this time.

Harrison S. Arrell
Regional Senior Justice – Superior Court of Justice
Central South Region

APRIL 2 | Expansion of SCJ Virtual Court Operations

Apr 03, 2020

To protect all court users during the COVID-19 crisis, all but urgent hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) were suspended, effective March 17, 2020.  Today, Chief Justice Morawetz and all eight Regional Senior Justices issued new Notices to the Profession.  They expand the SCJ’s virtual court operations in each region, effective April 6, 2020. 

Attached are two Provincial Notices to the Profession from Chief Justice Morawetz (Criminal and Civil/Family).  They address a variety of issues including emailing material to the court, service by email, media access to court proceedings, and gowning.  They include links to the eight Regional Notices to the Profession. The eight Regional Notices identify which matters may be heard in each region, and the process to have a matter heard. 

SCJ Notice to the Profession (Family & Civil)- COVID-19 | April 2

SCJ Notice to the Profession (Criminal)- COVID-19 | April 2

Also attached is a memo from the Office of the Chief Justice that provides a summary of the Notices to the Profession issued today, for information purposes only.

MEMO Office of the Chief Justice, Ontario Superior Court of Justice | April 2

All SCJ Notices to the Profession relating to COVID-19 may be accessed at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/ or on FOLA’s website

MARCH 28 - Notice to Court Users re: Access to Ontario Court of Justice Proceedings during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 30, 2020
As part of the collective efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect the health and safety of court users, justice system participants and members of the public, the Ontario Court of Justice is limiting access to courthouses.

Pursuant to a direction of the Chief Justice published on March 28, 2020, people should
not attend Ontario Court of Justice courthouses unless they fall in one of the exceptions
described below.

Urgent criminal and family matters: As of March 28, 2020, all urgent criminal and all
urgent family proceedings will be conducted by telephone and/or video conferencing,
unless otherwise ordered by a judicial official. Attendance in courtrooms for those matters will be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official orders otherwise.

Urgent and/or essential criminal intake court: For urgent and/or essential criminal
intake court functions, attendance in courtrooms will be controlled.

Filing urgent documents: Court documents for urgent matters can now be filed by
email. See Notice to the Legal Profession and the Public regarding the process of
emailing urgent documents
at the Ontario Court of Justice (above).
For further details about the scheduling of proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice,
including Provincial Offences Act matters, please refer to the Ontario Court of Justice
website.


Media:
A separate notice has been sent to the media advising how accredited media
can request access to court proceedings by remote attendance.

Remote attendance by counsel and/or litigants and in-custody accused:
• All court appearances by in-custody accused persons will be done remotely rather
than in person, unless a judicial official orders otherwise.
• Counsel and/or litigants will participate in hearings by remote means unless a
judicial official directs otherwise.
• If you have questions about scheduling a remote appearance, please contact the
relevant Trial Coordinator’s office.

Requests from persons for access to court proceedings:
• As noted, a separate notice has been sent to the media advising how accredited
media can request access to court proceedings by remote attendance.
• Justice system stakeholders may receive requests from persons with an interest
in a particular proceeding asking to attend or participate in the proceeding
remotely. Counsel who receive such a request should contact the Trial
Coordinator’s Office. Contact information for Trial Coordinators is provided
in this notice. The Trial Coordinator’s Office will confirm with the judiciary if the requesting party can be provided with access to the remote proceedings and, if so, make the necessary arrangements.
• Counsel should advise any non-party participants that, other than announcing their
presence at the start of the hearing, or unless asked or invited to participate by the
presiding judicial official, their phone must be on mute during the proceedings.

** These procedures are subject to change.

MARCH 27 | Legal Aid Ontario Supports to the Bar

Mar 27, 2020
As part of our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is working to offer more business support and information to lawyers.

We are committed to instituting interim business solutions, and are eager to work with you while cooperating with the courts and Ministry of the Attorney General to maintain access to justice.

Following this note, we’ve listed resources regarding safe practices, as well as more key updates relevant to the legal community.

Further to our message on March 17 regarding service, billing and other steps LAO is taking, we are working hard to develop a suite of business supports to help you during this time.

These include:
 Extending the date for completing your self-report.
 As of March 27, reducing payment time from 28 to 14 days for submitted accounts.
 There is $17.8M in outstanding billings from the private bar in LAO’s accounts payable. LAO will pay this amount out on Friday.
 Re-instituting the bail block authorization to be added to certificates.
 Exploring ways for alternative payments.
 Waiving merit testing for bail review.
 Paying volunteer criminal lawyers who attended court March 16-20, 2020
 Working on a temporary payment option for block fees which will allow counsel the choice of billing on an hourly basis so lawyers can bill for prep work prior to the conclusion of a matter and bill for resolutions where they were not in attendance.
 Temporarily suspending collection on recoveries identified in audits and investigations.

We are also engaged in ongoing discussions with law associations in an effort to further clarify billing and certificate coverage rules.

For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, some of LAO’s policies regarding legal and financial eligibility (excluding appellant matters) will be temporarily changed to allow us to quickly help people at heightened risk. In the coming days, legal and financial eligibility testing will be waived for the following:
 Criminal defence certificates for in-custody accused (excluding homicide)
 Summary legal advice
 Child, Youth, and Family Services Act (CYFSA) matters
 Psychiatric patients seeking assistance for CCB and ORB matters
 Victims of domestic abuse who are seeking family court assistance including initial and motion to change proceedings

Implementation details are still being worked out.

I have included some additional resources below relating to COVID-19.

With thanks and gratitude for your ongoing work and cooperation,

David Field
President and CEO
Legal Aid Ontario

MARCH 26 | Land Registry Offices, Law Society Program, and Real Estate Update

Mar 26, 2020

Law Society CPD

There is a Law Society free audio webcast on Friday, March 27 entitled “Your Real Estate Practice and the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know Right Now.” Click here for more details.

We understand that the live program is now full.  The Law Society is replaying the program on April 1, 2 and 3. See the LSO CPD calendar here for more details.

Teraview and Land Registry Operations

You can expect some changes in the operation of the Land Registry Offices.  We urge you to be patient, to explain to your clients the uncertainties and delays which may occur and to be prepared with tools like the Lawyer’s Delayed Closing Escrow Agreement prepared by the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate, which can be found here.

This is the unofficial information we have received:

  • Teraview® and ONLand are still up and running and will continue to stay up during all normal hours! 
  • All physical Land Registry Offices have commenced reduced hours 9:30 to 12:30. If you need to do anything in paper you should verify the status of your local LRO.
  • Some physical LROs (mostly in Eastern Ontario) are still closing ad hoc. For the moment there is no work-around, but efforts are ongoing. The situation is unpredictable at best so lawyers and clients should be prepared to adapt. The list of unanticipated LRO closings is growing, not shrinking. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that non-convert deals will be registered.
  • For the time being it seems the volume of registrations in Teraview® are up, but certification rates are down to a crawl. Starting tomorrow, March 26th we expect that the LRO’s will move to much more stringent social distancing so even lower certification rates will likely result.

Banking Issues

We have reached out to the Law Society for assistance and we understand that they are contacting the financial industry and federal and provincial politicians regarding the following concerns:

  • Most banks are not accepting scanned documents for mortgage closings – and mortgage instructions require lawyers to be in the physical presence of borrowers, so even if we meet remotely, we need to be physically in the same room to sign the documents.
  • Lenders are not allowing lawyers to wire mortgage discharge funds, even though many bank branches are closed and those that are open are working on reduced hours.
  • Some lenders are now requiring all refinances to go through FCT or FNF, meaning borrowers will not have any legal representation.

There is a global pandemic with health and safety protocols to be followed. Remaining inflexible, requiring people to put themselves at risk and denying borrowers legal counsel is unconscionable.

Title Insurance

We strongly urge lawyers to think about the title insurers they are working with – is your preferred title insurer actively lobbying banks and government to remove lawyers from the real estate transaction? Are they marketing their ability to perform legal services that you ordinarily provide?  If so, the premiums you send them are funding these lobbying and marketing efforts.

There are title insurance companies, like TitlePLUS and Stewart Title, who are actively working to keep lawyers involved in real estate transactions, especially during these unprecedented times. 

DRA

Section 10 of the Document Registration Agreement (reproduced below) requires original documents to be provided within 2 business days of closing. You may want to consider amending this to either eliminate the need to send originals or extend the time frame.

This Agreement (or any counterpart hereof), and any of the closing documents herein before contemplated, may be exchanged by telefax or similar system reproducing the original, provided that all such documents have been properly executed by the appropriate parties. The party transmitting any such document(s) shall also provide the original executed version(s) of same to the recipient within 2 business days after the Closing Date, unless the recipient has indicated that he/she does not require such original copies.

Sending Closing Funds

Because many lawyers are now wiring purchase funds to the other lawyer whenever possible, a separate cheque is not being written to the mortgage lender for the discharge amount - the full balance is being delivered to the vendor’s lawyer with reliance on their undertaking to payout and discharge the mortgage. 

The Law Society guidelines recommend a separate cheque payable to the lender for the discharge amount to protect against fraud - lawyers who receive the funds but don’t pass them along to the lender, and consequently never receive a discharge.  You may be aware that there have been a few lawyers over the years who have gotten into some kind of trouble and who did this. It has been rare, but it has happened.

Given the current situation, there may be a greater risk of this happening if deals are not closing and people begin to feel desperate. Bills still need to be paid, and if there are fewer transactions closing, there may be a temptation to “borrow” the money sent for a discharge. 

If you are sending the full balance due to the lawyer on closing, you may want to consider amending your closing procedure to request evidence that the funds have been forwarded to the lender.

Corporate Amalgamations and Amendments

We have been advised that the only ServiceOntario office accepting amalgamations or amendments for Ontario companies, which need to be filed in person at the counter, is the Bay Street office in Toronto.

Land Transfer Tax pre-payments

We have also been advised that the Ministry of Finance is also no longer accepting payment of Land Transfer Tax at the Oshawa office. Pre-payments of LTT were done when you didn’t want to include the consideration on the transfer but rather simply include a statement that LTT was pre-paid.  For workarounds, you should contact the Ministry of Finance.

   

MARCH 25 | Changes to Summary Legal Advice Services at Legal Aid Ontario due to COVID-19

Mar 25, 2020

As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is working to offer more resources to clients through the telephone and online.

Effective March 24, LAO is making the following changes to our summary legal advice services across the province:

  • Clients who would have received in-person legal aid services through the Family Law Information Centres will be able to get help from LAO over the phone by calling 1‑800‑668‑8258.

  • Clients can also receive over-the-phone summary legal advice services for criminal matters by calling 1‑800‑668‑8258.

  • More family staff lawyers are being added to increase capacity.

  • During this time, LAO will waive financial eligibility requirements for summary legal advice. Legal eligibility requirements remain in place.

LAO will ensure service level of having a family or criminal staff lawyer respond to an inquiry within 48 hours or less.

These changes will start to take effect until further notice, and will be fully implemented by Friday, March 27, 2020. For more information contact:

Graeme Burk
Senior Media Relations Advisor
Legal Aid Ontario
media@lao.on.ca

MARCH 24 | Notice to the Legal Profession re. Civil Claims Online Service

Mar 24, 2020
Lawyers and litigants are encouraged to use Civil Claims Online to file eligible documents and to receive electronically issued documents in Superior Court of Justice civil actions.

Civil Claims Online can be accessed at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-civil-claim-online.

Document filing fees can be paid through the system. The documents which can be filed through Civil Claims Online are set out in Rule 4.05.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and are listed below.

This service should not be used to file documents in a proceeding that has been declared by the judiciary to require an urgent hearing pursuant to the Superior Court of Justice's Notice to the Profession, the Media and the Public dated March 15, 2020 or pursuant to the Commercial List Users Committee Notice dated March 16, 2020. Civil

Claims Online was expanded on March 23, 2020 to allow more documents to be filed online:

• Jury Notice (Form 47A)
• Statement of Defence and Counterclaim (Forms 18A and 27A)
• Statement of Defence and Crossclaim (Forms 18A and 28A)
• Defence to Crossclaim (Form 28B)
• Defence to Counterclaim (Form 27C)
• Third, Fourth or Subsequent Party Claim or a claim by a defendant to a counterclaim or crossclaim (Form 29A)
• Third, Fourth or Subsequent Party Defence (Form 29B)
• Certificate of Action under the Construction Act s.36 (Form 14 under the Construction Act)
• Notice of Discontinuance (Form 23A)
• Consent to Discontinuance filed for the purposes of clause 23.01(1)(c).

The expansion enables the electronic delivery of more court issued documents:
• A third, fourth or subsequent party claim (Form 29A).
• A certificate of action under section 36 of the Construction Act (Form 14 under that Act).

Documents available for online filing prior to the expansion:
• Statement of Claim (Form 14A, Form 14B or Form 14D)
• Notice of Action (Form 14C)
• Affidavit of Litigation Guardian of a Plaintiff under a Disability (Form 4D)
• Request for Bilingual Proceedings (Form 1)
• Consent to file documents in French
• Statement of Defence (Form 18A)
• Notice of Intent to Defend (Form 18B)
• Consent or Court Order (Form 59A) required in support of filing a document online
• Proof of Service for documents filed online (Form 16B, 16C, 17A, 17B, 17C or any documents listed in r. 16.09).

Documents available for electronic delivery prior to the expansion:
• Statement of Claim (Form 14A, Form 14B or Form 14D)
• Notice of Action (Form 14C)

The use of the Civil Claims Online system to electronically file and issue additional civil court documents was authorized by O. Reg. 456/19, amending the Rules of Civil Procedure, filed on December 19, 2019 and in force on March 23, 2020.

Rules 4.05 and 4.05.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure apply to the use of Civil Claims Online.

A Justice Services Online account is required to access the service.
Feedback can be offered through the “Rate Our Service” survey on the service and civilclaimsonline@ontario.ca.

MARCH 24 | EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND CIVIL PROTECTION ACT ORDER UNDER SUBSECTION 7.0.2 (4) OF THE ACT - ELECTRONIC SERVICE

Mar 24, 2020

Whereas an emergency was declared pursuant to Order in Council 518/2020 (Ontario Regulation 50/20) on March 17, 2020 at 7:30 a.m. Toronto time pursuant to section 7,0,1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act the "Act");

And Whereas the criteria set out in subsection 7.0.2 (2) of the Act have been satisfied;

Now Therefore, this Order is made pursuant to paragraph 8 of subsection 7.02 (4) of the Act, the terms of which are set out in Schedule I;

And Further, this Order applies generally throughout Ontario;

And Further, this Order shall be in effect for the duration of the declared emergency, subject to section 7.0.8 of the Act.

This applies to documents served on

  • the Crown
  • Ministers of the Crown, including the Attorney General of Ontario
  • the Children’s Lawyer
  • the Public Guardian and Trustee and
  • the Director of the Family Responsibility Office.

A copy of the order is attached below:

https://www.hamiltonlaw.on.ca/docs/default-source/miscellaneous/mag---service-on-the-crown.pdf?sfvrsn=2

The Order in Council will also be posted on this website: https://www.ontario.ca/search/orders-in-council  and on e-Laws, as a regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e09?search=emergency+management.

SCHEDULE I

  1. For the duration of the emergency, service of documents on the Crown in right of Ontario, any Minister of the Crown including the Attorney General of Ontario, the Children's Lawyer, the Public Guardian and Trustee or the Director of the Family Responsibility Office in any proceeding, including any intended proceeding, other than a criminal proceeding, shall only be effected by such electronic means as the Attorney General may designate on the website of the Ministry of the Attorney General;
  2. Section 1 of this Schedule also applies with respect to service of documents on any other person where a statute, regulation or rule requires the documents to be left with the Children's Lawyer or the Public Guardian and Trustee;
  3.  Sections 1 and 2 of this Schedule apply despite section 15 of the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, 2019 or any other statute, regulation or rule governing service on the Crown in right of Ontario, any Minister of the Crown including the Attorney General of Ontario, the Children's Lawyer, the Public Guardian and Trustee or the Director of the Family Responsibility Office.

MARCH 23 | Hamilton Related Business Continuity and Recovery Information Website

Mar 20, 2020
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, together with City of Hamilton, Hamilton Economic Development, Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce have compiled a COVID19 Business Continuity and Recovery Information website to help residence navigate resources available to assist in this trying time. HLA Members are encouraged to visit the site and share its with your clients. For more information, visit https://www.hamiltonchamber.ca/covid19/.

MARCH 23 | Legal Aid Update and Regional Legal Aid Contact List

Mar 23, 2020

Effective as of end of day on Friday, March 20, 2020, LAO has stopped all in-person staff and per diem services in the courthouses across the province until further notice.  They will be using their normal system of staff and per diems for all services done remotely.  Certificates will still be available in the normal course.  Also, LAO recently announced that  it will be temporarily re-instating the bail block to the private bar with certificates in order to respond to demand as a result of COVID-19. Details to follow. Panel lawyers should know that they can do bails (on certificates) and be paid per the former rules.

LAO also announced that, in order to ensure that those in remand are getting fair treatment and timely access to justice, LAO will no longer assess merit prior to granting bail review authorizations.

Further, LAO is exploring billing and administrative changes to support the private bar and their legally aided clients during this crisis period.

FOLA will endeavour to keep you updated and you are also encouraged to visit their website frequently for more information. 

And finally, below is a regional contact list for LAO staff for your information. 

LEGAL AID ONTARIO REGIONAL CONTACT LIST

MARCH 21 | Province Suspends Limitation Periods and Other Deadlines

Mar 23, 2020

The provincial government through the Lieutenant Governor in Council made an order under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act suspending limitation periods and procedural time periods. The suspension is retroactive to March 16, 2020.  

The Order in Council can be viewed here:

https://www.oba.org/getmedia/31b388c7-2b5b-4193-b338-52d573c0c2aa/EMCPA-Order-eng-fr

The Order in Council will also be posted on this website: https://www.ontario.ca/search/orders-in-council  and on e-Laws, as a regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act at: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e09?search=emergency+management.

 

MARCH 20 | Legal Aid Ontario and the Criminal Bar

Mar 20, 2020

Legal Aid Ontario is still up and running and is doing it’s best to serve Ontarians.  They are currently working with the courts and MAG to make online services available for all matters. 

In terms of coordinating the private bar to assist in providing remote services, they have asked to direct those interested in accepting certificates to contact Sid Freeman sidfreeman@bell.net at the Criminal Law Association (CLA). 

Sid will need the following information from you:

  1. Your name, email address, and phone number
  2. Your city, region, and law association.

If you are assigned shifts, you will be paid hourly and will be provided with a special DCPO (duty counsel per diem number).   You MUST use the existing regular per diem sign-in sheets on sign in and upon exiting.  These sign in sheets will be available electronically - either as an attachment or through a portal. 

The CLA anticipates the Ontario Court of Justice will implement systems in short order to allow all lawyers to work remotely so we can safely work together while we battle COVID-19.  Once these systems are in place, they would like to be able to call on as many lawyers as possible to assist. 

Again, please send your contact information to Sid Freeman at sidfreeman@bell.net and she will assign you to your regional contact once remote capabilities are in place. 

 

MARCH 19 | Ontario Protecting Critical Front-Line Justice Services in Response to COVID-19

Mar 19, 2020

TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Doug Downey, Attorney General, issued the following statement in response to COVID-19 and the government's commitment to keep communities safe while continuing to hold offenders accountable:

"The health and well-being of Ontarians is our government's number one priority. This commitment extends across the vast network of justice partners and individuals who interact with the justice system on a daily basis.

We are working around the clock with our partners to respond to this constantly evolving public health issue. Adjustments are being made throughout the justice system to minimize disruption and continue to provide seamless, responsive justice services to all Ontarians, particularly the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Technology Solutions and Prioritizing Urgent Matters

To sustain these efforts and to address health and safety concerns raised by legal service professionals, Ontario courts and tribunals are limiting in-person proceedings and making use of audio and video conferencing to hear priority matters remotely, where possible. Justice partners are working collaboratively to develop and deploy technology solutions and other innovative tools across the province to ensure urgent matters can be heard without needing to appear in person. This approach will also help to mitigate the potential impacts of possible service disruptions. Courts and tribunals are also deferring non-urgent matters until they can be managed safely and securely.

Ontario's judges and justices of the peace continue to prioritize critical matters such as criminal and child protection proceedings. There is strong collaboration across the system to ensure that urgent and priority legal matters continue to be heard before our courts and tribunals.

All Tribunals Ontario in-person proceedings, including at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Landlord and Tenant Board and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, are postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. Where feasible, alternative hearing options such as written and telephone hearings will be considered. Front-line counter services will be closed until further notice.

We are also working very closely with our partners and colleagues in Ontario's court systems to ensure Ontarians can see justice done while also prioritizing the protection of public health in the province. The following actions have been taken across the justice system:

  • The Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular court operations until further notice, while continuing to hear urgent matters during this emergency period.
  • All sittings of the Small Claims Court in Ontario are suspended until further notice.
  • The Ontario Court of Justice has established procedures to reduce the number of people who attend court in-person for criminal and family matters. All non-urgent matters have been adjourned.
  • All Provincial Offences Act matters scheduled up to and including April 3, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. Tickets, fines or other court business may be handled online.
  • The Court of Appeal has suspended all scheduled appeals until April 3, 2020. During this period, urgent appeals will be heard based on either the written materials or remotely.

Keeping People Safe

We are committed to ensuring Ontarians remain safe and secure during this challenging time and are looking at all tools to help individuals and families stay in their homes. As part of this approach, the Ministry of the Attorney General has applied for a court order to suspend the enforcement of eviction orders. Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice. Sheriff's offices have been asked to postpone any scheduled enforcement of eviction orders currently set for this week.

We want to thank our partners at the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice, Tribunals Ontario, and the front-line workers across our justice system who are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy while maintaining the administration of justice in our province.

Ontario takes the health and safety of court users, staff and the judiciary very seriously. As this public health situation evolves, the government is committed to providing Ontarians with safe and reliable access to critical front-line services, including supporting the delivery of justice at its courthouses and tribunals. We are closely monitoring developments and will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves."

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

CONTACTS

Hayley Chazan
Minister’s Office, Press Secretary, Ministry of Health
416-726-9941

David Jensen
Communications Branch, Ministry of Health
416-314-6197

Jenessa Crognali
Minister’s Office
Jenessa.Crognali@ontario.ca

Brian Gray
Communications Branch
416-326-2210
MAG-Media@ontario.ca

Ministry of the Attorney General
http://www.ontario.ca/mag

MARCH 18 UPDATE: Family Law Practitioners | Children's Aid Societies Suspending Certain Access Visits

Mar 19, 2020

This notice is being sent on behalf of the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton and the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.

To view the FULL pdf version of this notice please click below:

https://www.hamiltonlaw.on.ca/docs/default-source/family-law/catholicchildrensaidsocietyofhamilton.pdf?sfvrsn=2

In response to growing concerns regarding COVID-19, effective March 17, 2020, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton and the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the following type of access visits:

  • All access visits occurring at the Society's office
  • All in-home or community access visits involving a Family Resource Worker
  • All access visits that require Volunteer Drivers

Please be advised that Child Protection staff will be making efforts to connect with clients and caregivers over the next few days to make arrangements for telephone and video contact to occur (where possible) during this period of suspension.

It is hoped that the above-noted types of access visits may resume as soon as possible, the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton and the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton will continue to assess COVID-19 developments as posted on the Hamilton Public Health website.


MARCH 18 | Law Society Ontario Corporate Statement RE: Client Identification

Mar 19, 2020
In the context of COVID-19, can a lawyer or paralegal use a virtual means of identifying
or verifying the identity of a client such as video conferencing or telephone?

At this time, the client identification and verification requirements of By-Law 7.1 continue to apply. However:

Lawyers and paralegals should review the information below as they do not need to
verify the identity of their clients for all matters.

If only client identification is required, lawyers and paralegals are able to comply with their professional obligations without meeting face-to-face or via video conference.

As a result of COVID-19, until further notice, the Law Society will interpret the
requirement that lawyers and paralegals verify the identity of their client face-to-face
as not requiring the lawyer or paralegal to be in the physical presence of the client.

Rather, alternative means of verification such as face-to-face verification via video
conference will be permitted. If lawyers and paralegals choose to verify identity clients
via video conference, they should attempt to manage some of the risks associated
with this practice as outlined below.

Current Requirements:
Because there is no obligation to meet with a client face-to-face to identify the client,
lawyers and paralegals should

Keep in mind the distinction between identifying and verifying the identity of a client:

Identifying the client means obtaining certain basic information about your client and any third party directing, instructing or who has the authority to direct or instruct your client, such as a name and address. You must obtain this information whenever you are retained to provide legal services to a client unless an exemption applies. This step can be done over the phone or by video conference. There is no requirement that it be completed face-to-face.

Verifying
the identity of a client means actually looking at an original identifying document from an independent source to ensure that your clients and any third parties are who they say they are. You are only required to verify the identity of your client and such third parties if you are involved in a funds transfer activity, that is, you engage in or instruct with respect to the payment, receipt or transfer of funds, and an exception does not apply. Assess whether verification of identity is required in the matter.

Verification of client identity occurs face-to-face unless

The individual whose identity is being verified is present in Canada and an attestation from a commissioner of oaths or other guarantor is provided; or
The individual whose identity is being verified is not present in Canada and verification is provided by an agent.

For more information, please review the Law Society’s Client Identification and Verification Requirements resources. For specific information about attestations or retaining an agent, please see Appendices 4, 5, 7, and 8. Managing the Risk of Face-to-
Face

Verification via Video Conference:
Where a lawyer or paralegal employs video conference as a means to conduct face-to-face verification of client identity instead of being in the physical presence of the client or by attestation or an agent, the following factors should be should be considered to help manage some of the risk:

Consider whether there are any red flags associated with fraud or money laundering, attempt to mitigate risk, and determine if they should proceed.
o To review these red flags, see the Federation of Law Societies’ Risk Advisories for the Legal Profession resource.
o Stay alert to the fact that persons may attempt to use situations like COVID-19 as an opportunity to commit fraud or other illegal acts and to be particularly vigilant for red flags of fraud or other illegal activities.
o Where virtual methods are chosen lawyers and paralegals must be particularly alert to these red flags to ensure they are not assisting in or being reckless in respect of any illegal activity.
o Lawyers and paralegals should document any red flags, what measures they have taken to mitigate that risk, and their decision on how they proceeded.
o If many red flags are present, lawyers and paralegals should consider whether they should proceed with the matter.
• Consider using another method of verifying identity that may reduce the risk of fraud or money laundering such as the dual process or credit file methods.
o For more information about these methods, review the Federation of Law Societies’ Guidance for the Legal Profession resource.

Can a lawyer or paralegal use virtual commissioning in the context of COVID-19?

Commissioning is governed by the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act and is not regulated by the Law Society. Although the law is evolving in this area, the best practice for commissioning documents remains for the lawyer or paralegal who is acting as a commissioner to be in the physical presence of the deponent to commission the document(s).

For more information, please review the Law Society’s Virtual Commissioning resource.
However, as a result of COVID-19, until further notice:

• The Law Society will interpret the requirement in section 9 of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act that “every oath and declaration shall be taken by the deponent in the presence of the commissioner or notary public” as not requiring the lawyer or paralegal to be in the physical presence of the client.
• Rather, alternative means of commissioning such as commissioning via video conference will be permitted.
• If lawyers and paralegals choose to use virtual commissioning, they should attempt to manage some of the risks associated with this practice as outlined below.

Managing the Risk of Virtual Commissioning: If a lawyer or paralegal chooses to use virtual commissioning, the lawyer or paralegal should be alert to the risks of doing so, which may include the following issues:

• Fraud
• Identity theft
• Undue influence
• Duress
• Capacity
• Client left without copies of the documents executed remotely
• Client feels that they did not have an adequate opportunity to ask questions or request clarifying information about the documents they are executing.

To manage some of the risks:

Consider whether there are red flags of fraud in the matter. To review these red flags, see the Federation of Law Societies’ Risk Advisories for the Legal Profession resource.

Assess whether there is a risk that the client may be subject to undue influence or duress. If there is such a risk, consider if you are able to assist the client at this time without meeting in person.

Determine how to provide the client with copies of the document executed remotely.

Confirm your client’s understanding about the documents they are executing and provide adequate opportunity for them to ask questions during the video conference.

Be alert to the fact that persons may attempt to use the current circumstances and resulting confusion as an opportunity to commit fraud or other illegal acts. Where lawyers and paralegals choose to use virtual commissioning, they must be particularly alert to these red flags in order to ensure that they are not assisting, or being reckless in respect of any illegal activity.

Hamilton  Law Association Operations

Library Services:
  • The library is unstaffed as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020,  and will remain so until further notice, on the advice of public health agencies and the Legal Information and Resource Network.
  • If the Courthouse is open, our doors remain unlocked but please note the following:
    • Photocopy services will be available through our coin-op machine in the staff printing room;
    • Printing services will be available provided that printing be recorded on the after hours log next to the front office photocopier; 
    • Regular disinfecting is not being carried out (including the public computers and copy room supplies), so use with caution and follow Hamilton Public Health guidelines to protect yourself and others;
    • Online legal research assistance can be provided by e-mail only. Please email Law Librarian Laura Richmond at either lrichmond@hamiltonlaw.on.ca or reference@hamiltonlaw.on.ca. Online case law and research databases, such as Advanced Quicklaw, Practice Advisor, Rangefindr, and O'Brien's Forms, are available on all computers in the Anthony Pepe Memorial Library.

Association Services:

  • No association or membership services will be available on-site as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This includes paying for membership on-site, getting new membership cards, or payment for lockers. For any questions at all to do with HLA membership or lockers, please email Membership Coodinator Rachel Anderson;
  • Access to the lounge and robing rooms will be available between 8:30 a.m. to 5:00p.m. and after hours to current access card-holders;
  • The HLA Executive and Board of Trustees will continue to meet via teleconference during this time. Please email Executive Director Rebecca Bentham if you have any concerns or comments you would like to bring forward to the Board;
  • For all financial matters related to invoices, payments, or receivables, please contact Manager of Finance Wendy Spearing; and
  • For all other Association related matters, as well as website inquiries, please contact Executive Assistant Marica Piedigrossi

Events & Meetings:

  • The Executive Committee will be meeting on Wednesday, March 18th to discuss next steps related to the possible postponement or cancellation of certain HLA events. All event registrations are on hold until further notice;
  • Revised dates for events that will be postponed will be published on the HLA website and announced through email when available beginning tomorrow;
  • All previously-scheduled committee meetings will be either cancelled or carried out remotely, at the discretion of committee chairs. Information will be provided to attendees directly;
  • No new meetings will be booked in the HLA meeting rooms until a return to work date has been decided;
  • No HLA Event staff will be on-site effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020. If you have any questions about HLA events, please email Event Coordinator Shega Berisha, or events@hamiltonlaw.on.ca

As needed, we will provide updates of local relevance and post updates on our website. If you have any concerns or comments at all, please email Rebecca Bentham.  For general court information, please always refer to the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice websites.

We wish all of the Hamilton legal community health and safety during this time. 

 

Public Health Service Recommendations

The Hamilton Law Association is taking steps to protect the health and safety of our members, volunteers, and staff, as well as the Hamilton community by monitoring updates provided by our health system partners, including Hamilton Public Health Services and the Ontario Ministry of Health.In addition, we are working to make recommended modifications to our service delivery and library and office environment.

To help prevent the spread of all types of respiratory illnesses, including influenza, Public Health Services recommends:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
  • avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth to prevent illness;
  • if you or your family members are ill, stay home;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and,
  • get the flu shot, if you haven’t already done so.

The Hamilton Law Association willcommunicate to members any updates with respect to Association related activities.