• 34th Annual Joint Insurance Seminar

    Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Live Streamed

    Read more

  • The Adaptive Lawyer: Diversifying Your Practice

    Thursday, September 3rd, 2020
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • New Lawyers' Seminar

    Thursday, September 10th, 2020
    10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • Corporate Commercial Law Seminar

    Thursday, October 8th, 2020
    9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    Available Live Streamed

    Read more

  • Family Law Seminar

    Thursday, October 29th, 2020
    1:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
    Available Remotely

    Read more

  • Emerging Issues in Real Estate Seminar

    Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
    9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

  • Employment Law Seminar

    Thursday, November 12th, 2020
    2:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
    Live Zoom Webinar

    Read more

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

    Read more

  • Looking for a Lawyer in Hamilton?

    Search our Membership Directory by:
    First & Last Name
    Area of Law
    LSUC Certified Specialist
    Language other than English

    Read more

  • Looking for a legal job in Hamilton?

    Search our Careers Page for:
    Jobs for Lawyers & Support Staff
    Seeking jobs for Lawyers & Support Staff
    Seeking jobs for Articling & Summer Students
    Seeking Volunteer Positions

    Read more

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

On this page
AUGUST 6| OCJ Criminal Notices and Practice Direction Update
AUGUST 5 | Expansion of Justice Services Online Civil & Family
AUGUST 5 | Regulation to Amend Rules of Civil Procedure
JULY 28 | Legal Aid Ontario - Billing on line now available for COVID JPTs and Myers Reviews
JULY 21 | Justice Participants Unable to attend In-Court Hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice
JULY 14 | Continued Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations due to COVID-19
JULY 13 | Amended Practice Direction Regarding the Electronic Conduct of Matters During the Covid-19 Emergency
JULY 7 | Re-Opening Ontario: A Flexible Response to COVID-19 Act, 2020
JULY 6 | Notice to the Profession re. Use of Online Claim Services
JULY 2 | OCJ Notices re. Family Matters, Provincial Offences, Criminal Case Management, and Criminal Case Adjournment Dates
JUNE 29 | Notice to the Profession - Divisional Court
JUNE 26 | Notice to the Profession Re: Civil, Family, Criminal Expansion in the Central South Region Protocols (Effective June 26, 2020)
JUNE 25 | SCJ Notice re: Expected Steps as Some In-Court Hearings Resume - July 6th
JUNE 18 | Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice
JUNE 17 | Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice as of July 6, 2020
JUNE 6 | Province Extends Suspension of Limitations Periods to September 11th
JUNE 4 | Real Estate Update
JUNE 2 |Notice Regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations>
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 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

AUGUST 6 | OCJ Criminal Notices and Practice Direction Update

Aug 07, 2020

Please be advised that the Ontario Court of Justice issued new criminal Notices and a Practice Direction, including:

Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice resume August 17, 2020 at College Park, Kenora, Timmins and Peterborough. They will resume August 24, 2020 in Burlington.   For more information see Notice to the Profession and the Public re: Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice at College Park, Kenora, Timmins, Peterborough and Burlington

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to limit the number of people who are required to attend court, the Court has issued a Practice Direction Authorizing Alternate Form of Appearance where an Enhanced Designation of Counsel has been Filed.  Accused persons who are represented by counsel and who have filed an Enhanced Designation of Counsel may have their matters adjourned, without the accused personally appearing, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Practice Direction.

A Notice providing details about the Virtual Criminal Case Management Courts Pilot launching in Kitchener and Ottawa, including information about how counsel and accused persons may connect to the court by videoconference or audioconference,  is now available:  see Notice to the Profession and the Public: Virtual Criminal Case Management Appearances in Kitchener and Ottawa Beginning August 10, 2020

Please find the new notices at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/

AUGUST 5 | Expansion of Justice Services Online Civil & Family

Aug 06, 2020
Today, the Justice Services Online (JSO) platform (ontario.ca/familyclaims and
ontario.ca/page/file-civil-claim-online) has expanded to enable the online submission of
close to 400 types of civil and family court documents.

The new services, “Civil Submissions Online” and “Family Submissions Online” will
provide a simple and quick way to electronically submit court documents, at every step
in a case, in any new or existing:
• civil action or application in the Superior Court of Justice; and
• family proceeding in the Superior Court of Justice or Ontario Court of Justice.

Users can pay court fees online securely by debit or credit card. Individuals can also
use the system to request a fee waiver certificate or submit documents with an existing
fee waiver certificate.

By making it possible to submit most court documents online, the Ministry is increasing
efforts to protect the health and safety of Ontarians by reducing the need to attend a
courthouse in person. The new services complement Civil Claims Online and Family
Claims Online and, over time, will replace some email filing processes established in
response to COVID-19. While courthouses will continue to accept in-person filings, we
encourage you to use the new systems and avoid unnecessary visits to Ontario
courthouses.

Getting Access

To access Justice Services Online, users are required to create an account using their
Ontario ONe-key ID. ONe-key is a unique electronic credential that allows you to
communicate securely with online government services.

Setting up your ONe-key ID is fast and simple. To learn more, visit https://www.one-key.gov.on.ca/iaalogin/overview.jsp.

The Ministry will enhance the service based on user feedback. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback about the service, please contact Alexey Togunov, Director, Project Implementation Branch at Alexey.Togunov@ontario.ca.

Beverly Leonard
(A) Assistant Deputy Attorney General
Court Services Division

AUGUST 5 | Regulation to Amend Rules of Civil Procedure

Aug 05, 2020

On August 5, 2020 the Ministry of the Attorney General filed a regulation to amend the Rules of Civil Procedure, O. Reg 441/20.

The amendments introduce a new court rule, rule 4.05.2, to authorize the use of the Civil Submissions Online system. This new online system, released this morning, allows the electronic submission of over 250 types of documents for filing and issuance in Superior Court of Justice civil actions and applications.

A summary of the amendments is available on the Ontario Regulatory Registry.

Further inquiry can be directed to the following addresses, with O. Reg 441/20. in the subject line: attorneygeneral@ontario.ca

Court Services Division

Ministry of the Attorney General

JULY 28 | Legal Aid Ontario - Billing on line now available for COVID JPTs and Myers Reviews

Jul 28, 2020

As part of LAO’s emergency response to the COVID pandemic, lawyers will now be able to bill (as of July 26, 2020) Legal Aid Online for:

1. COVID JPTs

•             Matters must be set down for either a preliminary inquiry or trial, and the JPT must occur  between March 16 and October 31, 2020.

•             Coverage is limited to one special COVID JPT per proceeding, however, counsel may still request second JPT coverage for matters set down for a preliminary inquiry or trial in the Ontario Court of Justice. This is in addition to JPT and Superior Court of Justice pre-trial coverage available on all criminal certificates.

•             For the first JPT request, if eligible, coverage will be automatically added to the certificate within 24 hours of the request. Subsequent requests for JPT coverage will be routed to respective District worklists.

2. Myers (s.25) Reviews

•             Matters are not subject to merit testing.

•             For the first request, coverage will be automatically added to the certificate within 24 hours of the request. Subsequent requests will be routed to respective District worklists. 

Further information may be obtained at:

In briefs for lawyers

https://www.legalaid.on.ca/in-briefs/request-your-mandatory-judicial-pretrial-coverage-online/

https://www.legalaid.on.ca/fr/les-brèves/possibilite-de-faire-en-ligne-une-demande-de-services-au-titre-dun-certificat-pour-les-conferences-judiciaires-preparatoires-au-proces-obligatoires/

COVID-19: Ongoing supports for lawyers

https://www.legalaid.on.ca/lawyers-legal-professionals/covid-19-ongoing-list-of-supports-for-lawyers/ 

https://www.legalaid.on.ca/fr/professionnelles-et-professionnels-du-droit/covid-19-liste-des-mesures-dappui-aux-avocates-et-avocats/

 

JULY 21 | Justice Participants Unable to attend In-Court Hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Jul 23, 2020

On July 6, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice resumed in-court hearings in certain court locations following health and safety recommendations from public health officials which were implemented by the Ministry of the Attorney General. Each week, further courtrooms are re-opening across the province after the recommended health and safety measures are implemented, allowing more matters to be heard in courthouses.

The Ontario government has more information about the reopening of courtrooms, the health and safety measures put in place, the requirement to self-screen before entry, and the expectations of all court users, which is accessible here.

I also recognize that some counsel, parties and justice participants may be uncomfortable attending a courthouse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some may have underlying health conditions, or live with someone who does, or have childcare issues arising from the pandemic. Many may not wish to disclose personal health information. Accordingly, I have encouraged all judicial officers, when exercising their authority, to be flexible and to respect the various reasons why an individual may not be comfortable attending a courthouse in person. The feasibility of a virtual hearing is to be explored, when requested. Similarly, I encourage counsel and parties to be accommodating when requests for virtual hearings are made by opposing counsel or parties.

Requests to have matters heard virtually or in writing – rather than in-person – should be made to the judge or local trial coordinator at the time the hearing is requested and before it is scheduled. Last minute requests to reschedule matters places unnecessary, additional burdens on trial coordinators, and may prejudice or inconvenience opposing counsel, parties and witnesses.

I thank you for your cooperation.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice

JULY 14 | Continued Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations due to COVID-19

Jul 14, 2020

SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE
SMALL CLAIMS COURT

RE: Continued suspension of Small Claims Court operations due to COVID-19

ORDER OF:  Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco

ORDER

[1] By Notice to the Profession and the Public dated June 2, 2020, the operations of the Small Claims Court have been suspended, with the exception of urgent motions and garnishment hearings and select remote settlement conferences, until further notice.

[2] I now make the following order:

All Small Claims Court proceedings that

    1. were, as of March 13, 2020, scheduled for a hearing between March 16, 2020 through October 30, 2020, and
    2. are not assigned a new date between March 16, 2020 and October 30, 2020,

are adjourned to November 2, 2020 or to such other date as determined by the Court.

[3] I direct the administrative staff for the Superior Court, Small Claims Court to record this order on every Small Claims Court proceeding that was, as of March 13, 2020, scheduled between March 16, 2020 through October 30, 2020.

[4] Any Small Claims Court proceedings that have been filed since March 16, 2020 and that have not yet been provided a court date shall, unless assigned a date between March 16, 2020 and October 30, 2020, be deemed to be adjourned to November 2, 2020 or such other date as determined by the Court.

[5] Attendance in court on November 2, 2020 by any party to a Small Claims Court action is not required. You will be notified by the court on or after November 2, 2020 advising you of the next hearing date for your proceeding.

[6] This order rescinds my July 3, 2020 order regarding the adjournment of Small Claims Court proceedings.

Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco

JULY 13 | Amended Practice Direction Regarding the Electronic Conduct of Matters During the Covid-19 Emergency

Jul 13, 2020
Given the exceptional and evolving circumstances concerning COVID-19, and subject to any further Practice Direction that may issue, this Amended Practice Direction Regarding the Electronic Conduct of Matters During the COVID-19 Emergency applies until further notice:

1. No in-person hearings will be conducted during the COVID-19 emergency. All matters (appeals and motions) will proceed by remote appearance, or in writing, as set out below.

2. Subject to any order of the court, all matters to be heard on or after April 14, 2020 will be conducted pursuant to this Practice Direction.

3. The requirements of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194, the Criminal Appeal Rules, S.I./93-169, the Family Law Rules, O. Reg. 114/99, and all existing Practice Directions and Guidelines requiring the filing of hardcopy documents, and respecting the conduct of oral hearings, in the Court of Appeal for Ontario are dispensed with for the period of time during which this Practice Direction is in effect, unless otherwise stated herein or ordered by the court.

4. All documents that are required for the hearing of any matter are to be filed in electronic format only. If hardcopy materials have already been filed, parties must file electronic copies of all materials necessary for the hearing of any matter, as set out below, and in accordance with the times set out in the court’s practice directions concerning the reinstatement of times prescribed. The practice directions concerning the reinstatement of times prescribed can be accessed on the court’s website under the banner “Practice Directions and Notices regarding COVID-19” at https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/notices/covid-19/.

Continue reading here to view the FULL NOTICE from the Court of Appeal.

JULY 7 - Re-Opening Ontario: A Flexible Response to COVID-19 Act, 2020

Jul 07, 2020
Since we first learned of COVID-19, our government has responded to the situation and continues to act decisively to contain the spread of this deadly virus. Nothing is more important than protecting Ontarians. While the declaration of emergency may come to an end shortly, the danger posed by COVID-19 will continue for months to come. That is why Ontario has introduced the Re-Opening Ontario – A Flexible Response to COVID-19 Act, 2020 that would, if passed, support the continued efforts to reopen Ontario in a way that recognizes that the impact of COVID-19 may still be felt for an extended period of time after the declaration of emergency is over.

This proposed legislation would allow the province to continue its path to recovery by easing restrictions where appropriate, while keeping in place measures to address the continuing threat from COVID-19. Emergency orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) that are in effect when the new legislation comes into force would be maintained under the new legislation. The proposed legislation also increases flexibility and efficiency by allowing all orders continued under the act to be extended for up to 30 days at a time. However, it will not permit the creation of new orders.

The ability to extend or amend orders under this legislation would automatically cease after one year unless extended by the Legislature and the legislation would mandate reporting to the Legislature after this one-year period and after any period during which those powers have been extended. To further ensure appropriate oversight and transparency, the proposed legislation would mandate reporting at least once every 30 days to a committee of the Legislature on the rationale for the extension of any orders.

There are three emergency orders made by the Ministry of the Attorney General that I would like to point your attention to: O. Reg. 73/20 – Limitation Periods; O. Reg. 76/20 – Electronic Service; and O. Reg. 129/20 – Signatures in Wills and Powers of Attorney.
Further to my consultation with the judiciary and legal organizations, on June 5, 2020 the Lieutenant Governor in Council amended O. Reg. 73/20 made under s. 7.1 of the EMCPA, suspending limitation and procedural time periods to extend the order up to and including September 11, 2020. As noted above, the Re-Opening Ontario – A Flexible Response to COVID-19 Act, 2020, would provide for 30-day extensions of orders. As a result, if passed the government intends to continue to extend the limitation and procedural time periods order until the previously announced date of September 11, 2020 given the need for predictability and notice to the profession and the public that we heard about during the consultations.

If passed, O. Reg. 129/20 that authorizes witnessing wills and powers of attorney virtually and O. Reg. 76/20 that authorizes electronic service would also be subject to the 30-day extension period set out in the Re-Opening Ontario – A Flexible Response to COVID-19, 2020. We will continue to monitor these orders to assess whether an extension of these orders may also be necessary.

The needs of the justice sector have changed during this outbreak, and the demands on the system will continue to evolve as the province reopens in stages. We will continue to act on the guidance of public health experts and will continue to work together to respond to these unprecedented challenges.

Doug Downey
Attorney General

JULY 6 | Notice to the Profession re. Use of Online Claim Services

Jul 06, 2020
Ministry of the Attorney General / Court Services Division

In order to avoid unnecessary visits to the courthouse, lawyers and litigants are strongly encouraged to continue to use the Ministry of the Attorney General’s online claims services to file eligible documents and to receive electronically issued documents. (Please note that effective July 6, 2020 and until further notice, Court Services Division counter services are being offered between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

▪ Civil Claims Online, which was expanded on March 23, 2020 to allow a greater number of documents to be filed online, can be accessed at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-civil-claim-online. This system allows for simple online filing of more than two dozen documents/forms in civil cases in the Superior Court of Justice.

▪ Family Claims Online allows the online filing of joint or simple divorce applications to the Superior Court of Justice and can be accessed at https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-divorce-application-online

▪ Small Claims Online permits plaintiffs to file claims up to $35,000 online and also pay the related fee online to the Small Claims Court. Small Claims Online can be accessed at https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-small-claims-online

Please also note that, at this time, select filings and requests can also continue to be submitted by email. The Superior Court of Justice’s website notices outline the processes that must be followed when submitting documents and requests by email.

JULY 2 | OCJ Notices re. Family Matters, Provincial Offences, Criminal Case Management, and Criminal Case Adjournment Dates

Jul 03, 2020

The Ontario Court of Justice will be further expanding its operations on July 6, 2020, as it resumes hearing additional family law matters and criminal trials and preliminary inquiries.  To continue limiting the number of people who must attend within courthouses and courtrooms, the adjournment of criminal case management appearances, which began on March 16, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is being extended to July 31, 2020.  On July 6, 2020, the Court will also resume setting criminal trial and preliminary inquiry dates, including rescheduling trials and preliminary inquiries that were adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for court administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full-court operations across Ontario.  The Ministry has announced the first phase of the plan (Phase One) will be implemented Monday, July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

  1. COVID-19: Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice Addition  (July 2, 2020)
  2. COVID-19: Notice to Counsel/Paralegals and the Public Re: Provincial Offences Act Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (July 2, 2020)
  3. Notice to the Profession and the Public re Criminal Case Management Appearances and Setting Trial and Preliminary Inquiry Dates (Published July 2, 2020)  Trial / Preliminary Inquiry Scheduling Form
  4. Criminal Case Adjournment Dates – Out-of-Custody Accused (updated July 2, 2020) * Note: The criminal case adjournment dates are subject to change. Please check this website regularly for any updates.
For a complete list of Ontario Court of Justice notices to the profession, please visithttps://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/

June 29 | Notice to the Profession - Divisional Court

Jun 29, 2020

For Court Hearings During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Divisional Court will not resume in-person hearings on July 6, 2020 and will continue to hear matters remotely in accordance with this Notice to the Profession until further notice.

D.1. Provincewide Protocol applies to all Divisional Court matters

Set out below is the practice to be observed to schedule a matter in Divisional Court anywhere in Ontario.

Please note that this direction applies to all matters in Divisional Court. The court’s schedule of cases as of the suspension of ordinary court operations is, itself, entirely suspended until September 4, 2020, and matters will not be heard according to that schedule.  Only matters scheduled in accordance with this Direction will be heard.  Therefore, a party in a matter that has been scheduled previously for hearing up to September 4, 2020 will have to obtain a new date for hearing following the process set out below, if the party wishes the case to proceed during the suspension of in-person hearings.

For cases that were scheduled prior to the suspension of normal court operations to dates after September 4, 2020, hearings will be proceed on the scheduled dates.  The Divisional Court will provide further directions at a later date as to whether these matters will proceed in person or remotely, and whether documents are to be filed electronically in accordance with this Notice to the Profession.

All previously scheduled in-person matters that are now cancelled may be rescheduled for hearing by videoconference or other means directed by the court pursuant to this Notice to the Profession.

Any previously scheduled in-person matters that are now cancelled, and which are not rescheduled for hearing by videoconference, will not be scheduled for in-person hearings until further Notice to the Profession, and will be scheduled thereafter in accordance with a scheduling protocol that will be provided by way of Notice to the Profession at a future date.

D.2. Scheduling Divisional Court Matters

  1. Any party wishing to schedule a Divisional Court matter shall contact the court through the following email address (with a copy sent to all other parties):  scj-csj.divcourtmail@ontario.ca. Other parties should not respond to the request for scheduling until requested to do so by the court.
  2. Scheduling requests should contain the following information:
    1. Title of Proceedings, file number, and jurisdiction (judicial region) from which the case originates.
    2. The names and email addresses of representatives of the parties (counsel, or self-represented persons).
    3. The nature of the matter to be scheduled (motion, application or appeal) and some brief particulars (for example, “appeal from the final order of Doe J. of the Superior Court of Justice (2019 ONSC 123456) granting judgment of $25,000 in a defamation action” or “judicial review from the Ontario Labour Board decision granting / denying certification”).  The explanation should not be more than a sentence or two in length.  Where the decision below has been reported on CanLII, a citation to that decision should be included.
    4. The estimated time required for the hearing.
    5. A brief explanation of any urgency, time sensitivity, or other factor the party wishes the court to take into account in scheduling.
    6. Whether some or all parties consent to scheduling the matter (consent is not required).
    7. Whether the matter was already scheduled to proceed before the suspension of court operations or whether this is a request to schedule a new matter.
  3. Matters will be scheduled at the direction and in the discretion of one of the Divisional Court Administrative Judges or a designate. Court staff will then contact the parties to confirm arrangements for providing file documents to the court in electronic format, and to provide details of the hearing.
  4. Hearings will all be conducted electronically, either by teleconference or by videoconference. Teleconferences will be conducted on court teleconference lines. Videoconferences will be conducted using the application ZOOM. Parties will be required to confirm in advance that they will be able to participate in the hearing using the selected technology.
  5. This direction applies to all Divisional Court matters in Ontario, including panel matters and matters ordinarily heard by single judges in Regions outside Toronto.
  6. For the moment, the Divisional Court is able to hear more than urgent matters, but, given technological and staffing constraints, it is not able to hear a full docket of cases.  Scheduling preference will generally be given as follows:
    1. Where a matter is considered urgent by the Administrative Judge or designate, the matter will be scheduled to proceed as soon as reasonably possible on a schedule to be fixed by the court.
    2. Where a matter is not urgent, but is time sensitive, in the opinion of the Administrative Judge or designate, the matter will proceed on a schedule to be fixed by the court, taking account the time sensitivity.
    3. Other matters will be scheduled to be heard in due course, bearing in mind the demand for urgent and time-sensitive matters and the technological and staffing limitations under which the court is operating.  To the extent that it is possible to do so, the length of time the matter has been awaiting a hearing, and the likely delay if the matter is not heard until in-person hearings resume, will be taken into account in prioritizing hearings.

D.3. Filing Electronic Documents for Hearings

  1. Any matters heard by the court pending resumption of in-person hearings will be heard remotely, and therefore all documents required for the hearing must be available to the court electronically. The requirement of electronic documents applies to all matters, including cases where parties filed paper documents prior to the suspension of ordinary court operations. Divisional Court staff will provide directions to the parties about what will be required and, if necessary, a teleconference may be arranged with one of the Administrative Judges or designate for directions respecting what materials are required and how they are to be filed.  In general, the following guidelines will apply:
    1. Where possible, all documents should be uploaded by the parties to a drop box with a link and instructions on how to access the documents delivered to the court by email at the following address: scj-csj.divcourtmail@ontario.ca. The uploaded documents are to be provided as follows:
      1. All documents other than factums are to be uploaded to a drop box in pdf format.
      2. Documents should be labelled in a manner that identifies them clearly for the panel so that it is not necessary to open the document to understand what it is. Pages should be numbered sequentially within each pdf.  If this is not practical, given the current state of the documents, then individual documents should be uploaded to a drop box in pdf form, so that each document is clearly labelled, enabling the panel to find document quickly.
      3. Factums are to be filed in Word and pdf version. Where possible, the factums should contain hyperlinks for authorities and, if possible, hyperlinks to a “Factum Compendium”, described below. Factums can be unsigned.
      4. Books of authorities containing the full text of authorities should not be uploaded to the drop box. However, citations to cases in the factums are to provide, if possible, a hyperlink to the CanLII version of cases.  The only exceptions to this principle are authorities not available on CanLII, such as excerpts from textbooks, foreign law, or Canadian decisions not reported on CanLII: these should be collected in a small brief of unreported authorities and filed electronically.
      5. Parties are encouraged to file a “Factum Compendium” containing single pages or brief portions of cases cited, and brief portions of evidence from the record referenced in the factum, hyperlinked in the factum.
      6. Parties are also encouraged to file a compendium for oral argument in advance of the hearing, containing excerpts of evidence and authorities to which counsel will refer in oral argument.
      7. Where portions of cases are included in a compendium, the title of proceedings and headnote should be included as well. Where portions of the record are included in a compendium, the first page of the document and identification of where it may be found in the record should also be provided.
      8. In cases involving documents protected by, or which are sought to be protected by, a protective order (such as a sealing order or a publication ban), counsel should seek tailored directions during a case management conference.
    2. Where it is not possible for parties to file documents through a drop box, documents are to be delivered to the Court as attachments by email at the following address: scj-csj.divcourtmail@ontario.ca. No individual email can be larger than 35 MB.  Specific directions on how documents are to be filed by email will be provided by the Court before they are to be filed.
    3. At least one day before the hearing, the parties are to file a counsel sheet setting out the name(s) of counsel and the estimated time for counsel’s submissions.
    4. At least one day before the hearing, the parties are to advise that they have reached agreement on costs or are to file costs outlines by email with the Court.
    5. After the end of the suspension of ordinary court operations, parties will be required to file paper copies of documents provided to the court electronically pursuant to this Direction, and to pay any applicable court fees for steps that have taken place pursuant to this Direction.

D.4. Motions in Writing for Leave to Appeal to the Divisional Court

  1. The Divisional Court will accept requests that the Court proceed with in writing motions for leave to appeal.
  2. Any request made by a party that the Court consider a motion for leave to appeal should include the information detailed at paragraph D.2.2 above.
  3. Materials on motions for leave to appeal shall be filed electronically in accordance with paragraph D.3 above, with necessary modifications to reflect that the motions are read in writing and will not be heard by videoconference.
  4. Motions for leave to appeal will be scheduled at the direction and in the discretion of one of the Divisional Court Administrative Judges or a designate. Court staff will then contact the parties to confirm arrangements for filing documents in electronic format or to convene a case management conference.
  5. This direction applies both to motions for leave to appeal that were initiated prior to the suspension of ordinary court operations, and to motions for leave to appeal initiated after the suspension of ordinary court operations.

D.5. Filing of Materials with the Court

  1. During the suspension of normal Court operations, no documents will be issued by the Divisional Court or are to be filed with the Court except in accordance with this protocol or in accordance with a direction from one of the Divisional Court Administrative Judges or a designate. For example, originating processes (notices of appeal, applications for judicial review) will not be issued by or accepted by the court unless they have been authorized by one of the Divisional Court Administrative Judges or a designate.
  2. Where paper copies of case materials have been filed with the court previously, and those materials are made available to the court electronically pursuant to this Direction and/or any case management order made in the case, parties will not need to refile those materials in paper form, even if those materials have been altered to include hyperlinks.
  3. Where parties file electronically compendiums, counsel sheets, bills of costs, or any other documents not previously filed in paper form pursuant to this Direction and/or any case management order made in the case, one paper copy of each such document must be filed with the applicable court office upon the resumption of ordinary court operations.
  4. Where parties file electronically any documents required to be filed by the Rules of Civil Procedure (such as, for example, Records, transcripts, factums), and where these documents have not previously been filed in paper copy with the applicable court office, the parties must file one paper copy of each such document, and pay any applicable court fees upon the filing of such a document, upon the resumption of ordinary court operations.

D.6. Self-Represented Litigants

This direction applies to all matters in Divisional Court, whether parties are represented by counsel or are self-represented.  If a self-represented litigant is unable to conduct a case in accordance with all of the requirements set out in this Notice to the Profession, then, during a case management conference held with one of the Divisional Court Administrative Judges or designate, the self-represented litigant may explain the difficulty and request variation in the requirements to enable that litigant to file documents and participate in the hearing by some alternative means.

D.L. Corbett and Favreau JJ.
Divisional Court Administrative Judges
June 29, 2020

JUNE 26 | Notice to the Profession Re: Civil, Family, Criminal Expansion in the Central South Region Protocols (Effective June 26, 2020)

Jun 26, 2020

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.

The following SCJ Courtrooms will open within the Central South Region on July 6, 2020;

  • John Sopinka – Hamilton – Courtroom # 600
  • Hamilton Family Court – Courtroom #3
  • Waterloo Region Courthouse – Courtrooms # 201 and # 601
  • St. Catharines Courthouse – Courtroom # 10
  • Welland Courthouse – Courtroom #1
  • Brantford – Courtroom # 200

Having considered the various resources and technological constraints to hearing matters during the suspension of court operations, the Central South Region, effective July 6, 2020, will continue to hear matters as noted below.

This NOTICE supersedes and replaces the NOTICES of April 2, April 28, April 30, May 19, and May 26, 2020 issued in Central South. However, the remains in place and should be followed regarding documentary and filing requirements for conferences and motions;

ALL FAMILY COUNSEL MUST REVIEW THE FOLLOWING SITE-SPECIFIC PROCEDURES FOR FAMILY AND CHILD PROTECTION MATTERS:

CRIMINAL MATTERS:

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: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/

The July 6, 7, 8, 9, 2020 TBST Dates will not require an in-court appearance if defence counsel have a designation and a future date has been rescheduled. Crown and Defence counsel must make contact with the TC immediately, if they have not already done so, to reschedule their matter.

Any self-represented accused person must attend in person in court on the following dates, unless another date has been arranged in advance with the trial coordinator:

  • Any matters that were to be heard in March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 are further adjourned to July 6, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Any matters that were to be heard in April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3rd, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Any matters that were to be heard in May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Any matters that were to be heard in June 2020 and July 2 and 3, 2020 are adjourned to July 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

The following criminal matters will be heard either virtually or in person depending on availability of courtroom allocations:

  • All bail issues including detention reviews, bail reviews and initial hearings on S. 469 offences;
  • Extending stays of driving prohibitions, fine payment, and bail pending appeal orders for Summary Conviction Appeals that have a sunset clause before July 7, 2020; and
  • Habeas corpus applications;
  • Trials that were scheduled for March, April, May and June 2020 must be scheduled for a further judicial pretrial to discuss resolution, re-election and/or re-scheduling. Counsel must contact the Trial Coordinators who will provide a date for the pretrial and the coordinates to connect to the pretrial;
  • All guilty pleas;
  • Pre-trial motions will be heard. The motions judge will decide as to the methodology of the hearing, after consultation with counsel.
  • Criminal Judicial Pre-Trials for all parties may only be obtained by contacting the trial coordinator at the court site where the matter is filed. The judicial pretrial will be arranged as per the already established Central South protocol prior to COVID-19.
  • Summary Conviction Appeals.

A reminder to counsel that there are currently no jury trials being conducted until September 2020 at the earliest.  If there is a change to your client’s current election, please make contact with the Trial Coordinator.

Non-Jury Trials that are currently scheduled to proceed prior to September 2020, must be confirmed by counsel by email with the TC.

FAMILY MATTERS:

Parties are reminded that matters previously scheduled prior to the suspension of the Superior Court will be spoken to as follows:

CYFSA 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. Existing orders to continue.
  • April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3, 2020 are further adjourned to July 7, 2020. Existing orders to continue.
  • May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 are further adjourned to July 8, 2020. Existing orders to continue.
  • June 2020 and July 2 and 3, 2020 are adjourned to July 9, 2020. Existing orders to continue.

FLA matters originally scheduled for appearances in:

  • March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 9, 2020 are further adjourned to July 14, 2020.
  • April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 10, 2020 are further adjourned to July 15, 2020.
  • May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 11, 2020 are further adjourned to July 16, 2020.
  • June 2020 and July 2 and 3, 2020 are adjourned to July 17, 2020.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY THE FOLLOWING SITE-SPECIFIC PROCEDURES FOR FAMILY AND CHILD PROTECTION MATTERS:

URGENT MATTERS

All urgent requests for long motions of one hour or more in family matters (as described in the May 13, 2020 Notice to the Profession) shall continue to be sent to the trial coordinator by email at the court site where the file is located. The urgent request will be forwarded to the triage judge, and the triage judge will determine whether the matter is urgent.  If the matter is not deemed urgent, the party requesting the hearing will be advised by an endorsement in a return email.

If the triage judge determines that the matter is urgent, the judge will issue an endorsement by email setting out the terms for the filing, service, and any other directions for the hearing of the application.

Electronic materials from each party are limited to 10MB unless the judge hearing the matter expressly grants an order permitting the materials to be sent in multiple emails.

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

NON-URGENT MATTERS

A)    RULE 39 FIRST APPEARANCE

Please DO NOT attend at the courthouse.

Due to the large amount of family matters, a notice will go out during the week of July 20th, 2020 regarding First Appearance dates.

Any new applications issued as of July 6, 2020 and into the future, will be given a First Appearance date after September 14, 2020.

B)    MANDATORY INFORMATION PROGRAMS (MIPS)

Until further notice, all Mandatory Information Programs (MIPs) in the Central South Region may now be completed on-line, without prior Judicial approval. Please contact AXIS Family Mediation Inc., for instructions on how to register. MIP@axisfamilymediation.com, toll free at 1-888-988-AXIS (2947) or via the courthouse Information and Referral Coordinators (IRCs).

C)    APPLICATIONS, MOTIONS TO CHANGE

Applications, motions to change, and answers will be accepted electronically or filed at the court. The parties must contact Axis Mediation for their MIP date. MIP@axisfamilymediation.com, toll free at 1-888-988-AXIS (2947) or via the courthouse Information and Referral Coordinators (IRCs).

D)    FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY OFFICE (FRO)

Due to the very high volume of family cases in the Central South Region, the court will assign new dates for family law matters through a written assignment court process on or before August 31st, 2020.

E)    CONSENT AND OTHER BASKET MOTIONS

All consent motions and other basket motions must be delivered electronically to the court office at the court site where the file is located, as listed below:

In order to ensure your request is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information:

  • LEVEL OF COURT (SCJ)
  • TYPE OF MATTER (Criminal, Family, Civil, Civil Enforcement, Small Claims, Estates)
  • FILE NUMBER (if applicable)
  • TYPE OF DOCUMENT (e.g., Motion, Conference Brief, Other Request)

AND:

The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:

  1. Short title of proceeding
  2. List of documents attached
  3. Order requested
  4. Name, role (i.e. lawyer, representative, party, etc.,) and contact information of person submitting the request (email and phone number)

The electronic material must include the motion material, consent by all parties if applicable, email addresses for all parties, and a draft order.

The parties must follow the limits of size of material as set out in the protocol of April 7th, 2020 unless the judge hearing the matter expressly allows additional material to be filed. All material must be in at least 12-point font.

A judge will review the materials and, if appropriate, issue an order as requested or amended.

In the event a judge has issues or concerns with the materials or the proposed order, the judge will provide the parties with an endorsement by email setting out the deficiencies or reasons for denial of the order.

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

F)     MOTIONS IN WRITING

Where all the parties agree that the motion can proceed based on written material only, without a conference hearing, the parties must deliver the motion material electronically to the court office at the court site where the file is located, as listed below:

In order to ensure your request is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information:

  • LEVEL OF COURT (SCJ)
  • TYPE OF MATTER (Criminal, Family, Civil, Civil Enforcement, Small Claims, Estates)
  • FILE NUMBER (if applicable)
  • TYPE OF DOCUMENT (e.g., Motion, Conference Brief, Other Request)

AND:

The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:

  1. Short title of proceeding
  2. List of documents attached
  3. Order requested
  4. Name, role (i.e. lawyer, representative, party, etc.,) and contact information of person submitting the request (email and phone number)

The electronic material must include the motion material from both parties; factums, draft orders, email addresses for all parties, and written confirmation by all parties that the motion will proceed by written submissions only.

The electronic material from each party must be in PDF with hyperlinks to tabs and exhibits, Factums must be in WORD as must the draft order. All material must be in at least 12-point font. The parties must follow the limits of size of material as set out in the protocol of April 7th, 2020 unless the judge hearing the matter expressly allows additional material to be filed.

PROTOCOL REGARDING FAMILY AND CHILD PROTECTION MATTERS IN CENTRAL SOUTH JUDICIAL REGION

A judge will consider the material and, in due course, issue an endorsement/order on the motion. The judge may reserve the issue of costs and give directions for written costs submissions.

The parties must undertake to file all material and any fee payable upon resumption of normal court operations.

G)   CASE CONFERENCES and SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES

Unless otherwise ordered by a judge, effective July 6, 2020, all Case and Settlement Conferences will be heard virtually.  To arrange a date and time for the conference, counsel must contact their respective Trial Coordinator with 3 agreed upon dates by email. The Trial Coordinator will respond with the conference date set and coordinates to connect to the conference.

Once booked, the parties may send their concise conference materials to the trial coordinator at the court site where the file is located.

The material must include concise conference briefs, proof of service, identification of the issues to be canvassed, and draft orders.  Attachments and exhibits are not to be included unless requested. Details regarding the conference call and hearing date will be provided to counsel by email from the trial coordinator.

Requirements regarding materials to be filed for case and settlements conferences as set out in paragraph 13 of the Protocol released April 7, 2020 continue to apply.

PROTOCOL REGARDING FAMILY AND CHILD PROTECTION MATTERS IN CENTRAL SOUTH JUDICIAL REGION

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

H)   DIVORCES AND ADOPTIONS

The Court will deal with Divorces and Adoptions. Materials for consideration by the court should follow the directives set out in the paragraph 31 of the Protocol released April 7, 2020 and should be sent by email to:

I)      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. 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:

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:

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.

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

CIVIL MATTERS:

Parties are advised that matters previously scheduled prior to the suspension of the Superior Court will be spoken to as follows:

  • March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to June 2, 2020 and further adjourned to July 6, 2020 are further adjourned to September 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • April 2020 that had been adjourned to June 3, 2020 and further adjourned to July 7, 2020 are further adjourned to September 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • May 2020 that had been adjourned to June 4, 2020 and further adjourned to July 8, 2020 are further adjourned to September 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
  • June 2020 and July 2 to July 17, 2020 matters that had been adjourned to July 9, 2020 are further adjourned to September 18, 2020 at 10:00 am.

** NOTE: Counsel who have matters on these speak-to lists, must contact the Trial Coordinators AFTER July 25, 2020 to reschedule their motions, civil pretrials, etc.  For any trials that are on these lists, counsel are to file a joint consent with the new trial sittings and trial time requested, over the next 12 months starting with the sittings not earlier than November 15 2020.   Filing a consent with the Trial Coordinators in advance, will remove your matter from the above noted the September speak-to dates, and counsel need not attend. The record will be endorsed with the new trial date consented to.

A)    CONSENT, COURT APPROVALS, BASKET MOTIONS AND ANY OTHER EX PARTE MOTIONS

All consent motions, basket motions, court approval motions, and other ex parte motions in civil matters can be heard and must be delivered electronically to the court office at the court site where the file is located, as listed below:

The electronic material must include the motion material, consent by all parties if applicable, email addresses for all parties, and a draft order(s).

The electronic material from each party must be in PDF with hyperlinks to tabs and exhibits, Factums must be in WORD as must the draft order. All materials must be limited to 10MB unless the judge hearing the matter expressly grants an order permitting the material to be sent in multiple emails.

A judge will review the material and, if appropriate, issue the draft order as requested or amended.

In the event the judge has issues with the material or the proposed order, the judge will provide the parties with an endorsement regarding the deficiencies or reasons for denial of the order.

The parties must undertake to file all material and any fee payable upon resumption of normal court operations.

NOTE: Any hard copy basket motions which were filed with the court prior to March 16, 2020, for which counsel have had no response, should be re-submitted in electronic format as set out above.

B)    MOTIONS IN WRITING

Where all the parties agree that the motion can proceed based on written material only, the parties must deliver the motion material electronically to the court office at the court site where the file is located, as listed below:

The electronic material must be concise and include the motion material from both parties; factums, draft orders, email addresses for all parties, and written confirmation by all parties that the motion will proceed by written submissions only.

The electronic material from each party must be in PDF with hyperlinks to tabs and exhibits, factums and draft orders must be on WORD. All the material must be limited to 10MB unless the judge hearing the matter expressly grants an order permitting the materials to be sent in multiple emails.

The judge will consider the material, and in due course, will issue an endorsement/order. The judge may reserve on the issue of costs and give directions for written costs submissions.

The parties must undertake to file all material and any fee payable upon resumption of normal court operations.

C)    CIVIL PRETRIALS

The court will hear civil pre-trials by conference call or zoom, as directed by the judge. Counsel are to contact the trial coordinator after agreeing to 3 dates with the opposing parties for the hearing date. The trial coordinator will respond with the hearing date assigned and the details to connect to the hearing. Pretrial briefs shall be no more than 10 pages double spaced and in WORD format with minimum 12-point font. Briefs shall be filed by email with the trial coordinator who will provide details regarding the hearing:

Counsel who had civil pretrials scheduled to be heard in March, April, or May 2020, that did not get heard should contact opposing parties to confirm the pretrial could go forward by zoom or conference call. The court will also hear any pre-trial not previously scheduled. If the parties agree that they wish the pretrial to be heard, they should contact the Trial Coordinator who will provide a non-negotiable date for the pretrial and the coordinates to connect to the pretrial.

Counsel must have access to the instructing party at all times during the hearing. Pretrial briefs must be concise, in WORD format with a minimum 12-point font and should be emailed to the Trial Coordinator for distribution to the judge 3 days before the hearing.

NOTE: Civil pretrials currently scheduled for July 6th, 2020 and thereafter will proceed as scheduled and the parties will be advised as to the details of the hearing.

D)    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. 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:

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:

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.

E)    LONG MOTIONS, SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS & APPLICATIONS

The court will hear long motions, summary judgment motions and applications of 3 hours or less.

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:

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:

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.

F)     CASE MANAGEMENT & CLASS PROCEEDING FILES

The court will hear any conferences required on case managed matters as well as civil case conferences if required. The parties shall contact their respective trial coordinator by email to arrange a conference call with the judge.

The court will hear class action case management matters and the parties shall contact their respective trial coordinator to arrange the conference call with the judge.

G)   SMALL CLAIMS COURT

The Court Office will contact parties to reschedule their Small Claims Court dates that were missed due to the court suspension. Please review the following notice for more information:

NOTICE REGARDING THE SUSPENSION OF SMALL CLAIMS COURT OPERATIONS (JUNE 2, 2020)

MATTERS HEARD BY THE REGISTRAR IN BANKRUPTCY:

URGENT MATTERS

Case management masters sitting as Registrars in Bankruptcy will hear urgent and time sensitive matters and matters where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result if there is no judicial hearing.  The Registrars will use their discretion to determine whether a matter should be heard urgently and will direct whether the matter will be heard by teleconference, video conference or in writing.

Court office staff will continue virtual operations for accepting urgent bankruptcy filings during the suspension of the court’s regular operations.  The party shall email the Hamilton court office at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca with details about a matter they wish to have heard urgently, identifying why the matter is urgent, time sensitive or will result in significant financial repercussions if there is no hearing, in 2 pages or less. The party shall advise of a time estimate for hearing. The party will also attach a completed request form.

If the Registrar in Bankruptcy determines that a matter is to be heard urgently, the Hamilton court office will direct the party to communicate by email with the Registrar who will hear the matter.

TAXATIONS TO BE HEARD IN WRITING

Taxations of Statements of Receipts and Disbursement (where a clear Letter of Comment has been received) and Taxation of legal bills are considered urgent and time sensitive and will be heard in writing.  If a party wishes a taxation to be heard in writing, the party shall email the materials to the Hamilton court office at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca and request that the taxation be scheduled for the next available date.

The following documents should be filed:

  1. Statement of Receipts and Disbursements (SRD) – each taxation submission should have (1) the record containing required documents for review including the SRD, and (2) a separate PDF copy of the SRD for signature;
  2. Comment letter;
  3. Trustee affidavit of fees, with dockets and any other relevant documentation (if there are extenuating circumstances or complexities concerning the administration of the estate, these matters should be addressed in the affidavit filed in support of the taxation);
  4. Inspector resolution approving the SRD (if not apparent from the SRD);
  5. Copies of taxed legal bills of costs;
  6. Statement of Affairs – one copy only; and
  7. Estate general ledger or detailed trial balance.

The following documents are not necessary to include in these filings at this time:

  1. Duplicate copies of documents;
  2. Scans of forms that are blank or not filled in or completed or blank pages after tabs;
  3. Copies of documents, notices or reports in connection with the discharge of the bankrupt.
  4. Affidavits of service proving service of the initiating bankruptcy documents

Attached documents are to be no larger than 10 MB each.

Materials for urgent hearing:

Parties should email the Registrar in Bankruptcy hearing the matter with all relevant materials necessary for the hearing and copy the Hamilton court office at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca.  The system cannot accommodate large records.  Accordingly, the parties shall exercise discretion in determining what materials are necessary.  Parties should also consider sending large documents by way of secure file share rather than as attachments.  Caselaw and other source materials referenced in a factum should be hyperlinked.  Where hyperlinks are provided, the parties need not file a Book of Authorities.  The Registrar will ask for further materials if necessary.

Hard copies of the materials, with the appropriate filing fee, shall be filed with the Hamilton court office once regular court operations resume.

Affidavits:

Parties are directed to the Law Society’s Virtual Commissioning resource as well as the Law Society’s Corporate Statement re: COVID-19 which provides for alternate means of commissioning affidavits. Registrars in Bankruptcy will accept unsworn affidavits prior to the hearing on the condition that a sworn affidavit is provided prior to the hearing or the affiant is available at the teleconference to swear the contents.

Orders:

Finalized draft orders shall be emailed directly to the Registrar in Bankruptcy.  The Registrar will sign the order and send a scanned signed copy to the party.   The order is effective from its date and the order need not be entered.

ISSUING BANKRUPTCY APPLICATIONS IN WRITING

The usual process will continue to be followed for issuing bankruptcy applications.  The party shall email the Hamilton court office with the application and request issuance, with a hard copy and the appropriate filing fee sent by regular mail that day or the following day. A date for the hearing of the bankruptcy application to proceed in writing may be obtained on request by email to the Hamilton office at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca.

Proof of service, which must be effected in accordance with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, must be filed by email at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca in advance of the in-writing hearing date.

If the application is on consent or unopposed, the Registrar will deal with the matter in writing. If the application is opposed, the Registrar will adjourn the matter to be scheduled before a Superior Court judge.

ADDITIONAL MATTERS TO BE HEARD IN WRITING

The Registrars in Bankruptcy will also hear appropriate urgent and time sensitive matters in writing. The types of matters that fall into the urgent or time sensitive matters include the following matters:

  1. Motions to extend proposal periods where a Notice of Intention has been filed;
  2. Motions to approve Division I proposals;
  3. Motions to revive consumer proposals;
  4. Motions seeking leave to file a completion or second consumer proposal;
  5. Applications for bankrupt’s discharge following compliance with prior court discharge orders; and
  6. Any other matter which the Registrars in their discretion determine is appropriate.

If a party seeks to apply for a bankrupt’s discharge following compliance with prior court discharge orders, the party shall email the materials to the Hamilton court office at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca. together with a completed request form (link above), and request that the application be scheduled for the next available date. The system cannot accommodate large records.  Accordingly, the parties shall exercise discretion in determining what materials are necessary.

The party shall undertake to file a hard copy with the Hamilton court office by regular mail, together with the appropriate filing fee, once regular court operations resume.

If a party wishes a motion to be heard in writing, the party shall request a hearing date from the Hamilton court office by emailing HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca, together with a completed request form (link above). Once a date has been assigned, the party shall serve the motion in accordance with the notice requirements in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the procedure set forth in rule 37.12.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply.  The moving party shall email the materials to the Hamilton court office at HamiltonSCJCourt@ontario.ca together with proof of service.

Orders that are granted will be scanned and delivered by email to the party upon disposition. The order is effective from its date and the order need not be entered.

MATTERS PREVIOUSLY FILED

If a party has previously submitted or filed matters of the nature that will be heard as outlined in this notice, the party must resubmit these matters by email, in accordance with the procedure outlined in this notice.  Where possible, the party is requested to identify that such matter was previously filed and the filing fee paid, as appropriate.

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

JUNE 25 - SCJ Notice re: Expected Steps as Some In-Court Hearings Resume - July 6th

Jun 25, 2020

A. Introduction

On May 13, 2020, I issued an updated and Consolidated Notice to the Profession regarding matters that would be heard virtually – by telephone or video conference – during the suspension of in-court operations in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In that Notice, I indicated that the SCJ will not resume in-person hearings of any court matters until July 6, 2020, at the earliest.

In this Notice, I advise the profession, litigants, accused, the media and the public of the steps that are expected to be completed to permit some in-court hearings to resume at certain court locations, effective July 6, 2020.

B. Ministry of the Attorney General’s Recovery Efforts

Since May 13, 2020, I have been briefed by the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ministry) and its Recovery Secretariat of the Ministry’s plans to conduct courthouse site assessments and to implement health and safety precautionary measures at courthouses to allow matters to be heard safely in courtrooms.  In approaching a safe return to in-person hearings, I am advised that the Ministry and Recovery Secretariat are being guided by the Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, a Public Health Ontario physician specializing in communicable diseases and emergency preparedness and response, as well as the Chief Prevention Office for Ontario from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

To conduct site assessments of each courthouse, the Ministry and Recovery Secretariat are relying upon the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PHSA).  The PHSA is Ontario’s designated Health and Safety Association which provides training, consulting and resources to the Municipal, Public Safety, Health and Community Care, and Education and Culture Sectors.  PHSA consultants are occupational health and safety professionals.  I am advised that a team of 30 PHSA consultants will be completing COVID-19 risk assessments at each Ontario courthouse.

The Ministry has provided a list of items that will be assessed at each court site and courtroom before a courtroom will re-open.  This includes: physical distancing; facility and room capacity; plexiglass barriers; hand sanitization dispensers; personal protective equipment (PPE); enhanced cleaning; courtroom (re)configuration; document transmission; movement of in-person accused; public/media access to courtrooms; jury events; courtroom disinfection; use of public elevators and escalators; use of public washrooms; entrance protocol and COVID screening at courthouses; public and media access; and food service areas.

I am further advised that the Ministry expects to post on its website by July 6, 2020, comprehensive information on health and safety measures, including a Guidebook for all court users.

C. Phased Return to In-Person Hearings

Pursuant to the Ministry’s plans, a fixed number of courtrooms will be rendered safe for use in Phases.  In Phase 1 and by July 6, 2020, we have been advised that site assessments of 56 SCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.  This list of courthouses expected to have at least one courtroom available to the SCJ by July 6, 2020 is found at Annex A.

The Ministry intends to have additional courtrooms available for SCJ use in additional courthouses by September 15, 2020 (Phase 2) and November 1, 2020 (Phase 3).

D. Resumption of Some In-Court Hearings

Based on the assurances of the Ministry and its public health and occupational health and safety experts, the SCJ expects to resume some in-court hearings effective July 6, 2020 only at the court locations identified in Annex A.

There will only be 56 courtrooms available for use by the SCJ on July 6, 2020.  Trials and other hearings that are urgent or which were scheduled to be heard during the suspension of the Court’s regular operations will be given priority.  Jury matters will continue to be deferred until at least September 2020.  As a result of space limitations created by the need for physical distancing, the Court is exploring with the Ministry the availability of off-site jury selection and will provide a further direction as soon as that information is available.

For civil and family matters, direction will be provided regionally for the hearing of these proceedings.

Litigants and lawyers are asked to come to court at least 30 minutes in advance because of extra screening requirements so that the attendance can proceed at the scheduled time.

Each courthouse has restrictions on the number of people who may be in the courthouse for safety purposes. Litigants should only bring family members or other supports to court with them where absolutely necessary.

If you need assistance from Duty counsel in relation to your family law or child protection matter, you should contact legal aid before your court attendance to see what help is available.  Legal Aid can be reached at 1-800-668-8258.

In addition to any in-person appearances, the SCJ will continue to hear matters virtually, as set out in the May 13, 2020 Consolidated Notice to the Profession and the most recent Regional Notice to the Profession.

E. Gowning

The requirement to gown for an in-court appearance in the SCJ remains suspended, until further notice.  Counsel may continue to wear business attire. This is because there is limited space in courthouse robing rooms, which may not permit sufficient physical distancing.  Judges and masters will be robed.

F. Criminal Matters Suspended Effective March 17, 2020 and further by Order of May 5, 2020

In some Regions, some matters will be heard in person or remotely in July and August.  Counsel will be made aware of these matters by the Court.

EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, including cases where a new trial date or other date has been assigned or ordered by the court, this section of this Notice constitutes an Order regarding the continued adjournment of criminal matters.

Further to my orders of March 17 and May 5, 2020, and by this Order, dated June 17, 2020, and unless the court orders otherwise, criminal appearances have been adjourned as follows:

  1. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled for appearances in March 2020 (after March 17) that had been adjourned to July 6, 2020, are further adjourned to September 15, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in March 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 2, 2020 and extended to July 6, 2020, is now extended to September 15, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear on September 15, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. 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. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in April 2020 that had been adjourned to July 7, 2020, are further adjourned to September 16, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in April 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 3, 2020 and extended to July 7, 2020, is further extended to September 16, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 16, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. 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. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in May 2020 that had been adjourned to July 8, 2020 are further adjourned to September 17, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in May 2020,
    2. the bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) issued to return on June 4, 2020 and extended to July 8, 2020, is further extended to September 17, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on July 8, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. 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. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were scheduled in June 2020 are adjourned to September 18, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in June 2020,
    2. a bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in June on which the person was scheduled to appear, and is returnable on September 18, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 18, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. 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. EXCEPT WHERE THE COURT ORDERS OR DIRECTS OTHERWISE, matters that were originally scheduled in July and August 2020, are adjourned to September 18, 2020.
    1. Accused persons subject to this Order must now appear on September 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the court location at which they were to appear in July or August 2020,
    2. a bench warrant with discretion (s. 597(4)) is issued as of the date in July or August 2020 on which the person was scheduled to appear, and is returnable on September 18, 2020,
    3. if the person fails to appear in this Court on September 18, 2020, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, and
    4. 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.

Persons scheduled to appear in the SCJ on September 14, 2020 and following should do so as scheduled.

The Order extends, as necessary, all warrants of remand for accused persons in custody to whom the Order applies.

Geoffrey B. Morawetz,
Chief Justice

JUNE 18 - Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice

Jun 18, 2020

PLEASE CLICK HERE  to view this notice on the Ontario Court of Justice website.

This Notice supersedes previously announced notices.

  1. INTRODUCTION

Additional family law matters in the Ontario Court of Justice are resuming as of July 6, 2020.

The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.  The Ministry has announced the first phase of the plan (Phase One) will be implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.

In Phase One and by July 6, 2020, the Court has been advised that site assessments of 93 OCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.

Persons attending court must ensure that they arrive for court early because of the extra screening requirements in order to be in court for their scheduled appearance.  Because of the restrictions on the number of people who may be in the courthouse, unless essential, family members or supporters should not attend court with people who have scheduled appearances in court.

The Court is continuing to have discussions to consider gradually expanding the range of matters that it is hearing beyond July 6, 2020.  This Notice sets out how family law proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice will be scheduled and conducted as of July 6, 2020.

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 the public to NOT attend courthouses in person at this time unless you have been scheduled to appear in court or if you are unable to email family court documents relating to a scheduled family law 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.  If you are unable to come to court because you have been told to self-isolate, contact the courthouse by email:  Courthouse email addresses or by telephone: Court Addresses and Phone Numbers

Please continue to check the court’s website for updates (https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/).  The Court will provide additional information about the scheduling and conduct of all court proceedings, including the Court’s ongoing work to make more services available using remote technology.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the opening of additional courthouses and courtrooms in accordance with its recovery plan.  The Court will continue working actively with all justice partners to implement a fair and orderly return to operations. As we do so, with the health and safety of all court users remains our paramount concern.

  1. SCHEDULING OF FAMILY MATTERS IN THE ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE (June 17, 2020)

This Notice replaces the May 7, 2020 Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has determined the following court locations are part of their Phase 1 plan for re-opening of in-person family matters, unless ordered otherwise:

Ontario Court of Justice Courthouses Phase 1 (July 6, 2020)

Region Courthouses

Central West: Brampton, Brantford, Milton, Orangeville

Northeast: North Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury

Northwest: Thunder Bay

Toronto: 311 Jarvis Street, 47 Sheppard Avenue East

West: Chatham, Guelph, Owen Sound, Sarnia, Windsor

Virtual courts (by teleconference or videoconference) remain essential to the reopening of courts and will continue as currently scheduled.  Matters may be heard either in-person, by teleconference or videoconference (virtual courts) or a combination of in-person and virtual court appearances.  A judge will determine how a matter will be heard.

As of July 6, 2020, only the following matters will be heard at the above specified court locations by in-person attendances, unless ordered otherwise:

  1. Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) trials and summary judgment motions;
  2. Family Law Act (FLA) and/or Children’s Law Reform Act (CLRA) urgent trials and focused hearings, as determined by the judiciary;
  3. Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) Settlement Conferences, Trial Management Conferences and/or combined Settlement/Trial Management Conferences;
  4. Family Law Act (FLA) and/or Children’s Law Reform Act (CLRA) Settlement Conferences and/or Trial Management Conferences.

Only a judge will decide if a matter is ready to proceed. This may require a remote court appearance before a judge. If a remote court appearance is necessary, you will receive notice of this by the court.

While court operations are expanding as part of Phase 1, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remains restricted.

Because of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance and considering the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties and counsel take reasonable steps to ensure that matters scheduled for a court appearance are ready to proceed.

  1. WITNESSES

All witnesses subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a hearing scheduled on or after July 6, 2020 must attend court on the scheduled date, unless there is a court order that permits the witness to attend remotely.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email:  Courthouse email addresses or by telephone: Court Addresses and Phone Numbers

 

  1. URGENT MATTERS, CASE CONFERENCES AND OTHER FAMILY LAW MATTERS

As per the May 7, 2020 Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, the OCJ will continue to hear urgent matters, case conferences in previously adjourned matters and, subject to local direction, other family law matters, including certain in-chambers requests as described in the former Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice (May 7, 2020).

  1. NEW APPLICATIONS

New applications, unless urgent, will not be heard at this time.  An announcement will be made shortly regarding the resumption of other in-person appearances in family matters.

  1. FILING: Filing requirements continue to include the following:

  1. Documents and requests shall be sent by email to the appropriate courthouse. The list of email addresses for each court may be found here https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/courthouse-email-addresses/.
  2. In order to ensure your request is received and processed by the appropriate court office, the subject line should include the following information:
    1. LEVEL OF COURT (OCJ)
    2. TYPE OF MATTER (Family, CYFSA)
    3. FILE NUMBER (Indicate NEW if no court file number exists)
    4. TYPE OF DOCUMENT (Motion, Application, Case Conference, Settlement Conference, Trial Management Conference, Combined Conference, Trial Record, Focused Hearing, Other Request)
  3. The body of the email should include the following information if applicable:
    1. court file number (if it is an existing file)
    2. short title of proceeding
    3. list of documents attached (note: attachments cannot exceed 35MB)
    4. type of request
    5. confirmation of service, setting out when and how any other party was served.
    6. name, role (i.e. legal representative, party, etc.,) and contact information of person submitting the request (email and phone number)

If you are unable to file documents in a family court matter by email, contact your local courthouse to determine the other options that are available or attend your local courthouse.  Note that entry into the courthouse will be controlled and court counters are only open between 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Contact information for all courts in Ontario is available on the Ministry of the Attorney General website: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/

When a document has been filed electronically, it is not necessary to file a paper copy.

Important Information: As per previous Notices regarding the Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, the following expectations continue to be in place:

Parties shall not assume that the judge hearing a matter will have access to the entire court file.

By submitting documents via email to the court, the party/legal representative agrees to accept email communication from the court with respect to the proceeding.

A formal affidavit of service does not need to be filed.  However, members of the legal profession/ parties should retain a copy of any relevant affidavit(s) of service and/or related documents (e.g. email confirmations) and be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

Materials sent by email must indicate when and how service on any other party was made.  Legal representatives or parties should retain a copy of the relevant affidavit of service and/or related documents (e.g. email confirmations) and be prepared to produce it to the Court on request.

The materials should also include any prior orders or endorsements that were issued and that are relevant to the matter.

Where it is not possible to email a sworn affidavit, affidavits may be delivered unsworn but the affiant must be available to participate in any telephone or videoconference hearing to swear or affirm the contents of the affidavit.

Requests for other family matters will be determined by a judge. Where a court attendance is required, contact your local courthouses to make arrangements for your attendance.

If a judge declared that your matter will be held after the court fully reopens, the documents which you submitted to the court may not be processed until regular court operations resume.

These instructions are subject to direction from a judicial official.

  1. PRE-COURT DISCUSSIONS

As per previous Notices regarding the Scheduling of Family Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, the following expectations continue to be in place:

Parties should make reasonable efforts to communicate prior to a hearing to attempt to resolve the issues.  If a contested hearing is necessary, parties should determine the issues that remain in dispute. The parties should make efforts to narrow the issues as much as possible and discuss the nature of any evidence to be heard and how it will be presented.

  1. LEGAL RESOURCES

Legal Aid Ontario

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

Law Society of Ontario emergency family referral line during COVID-19

The Law Society of Ontario continues to support a telephone line to provide assistance to people who are self-represented (SRLs) and trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the court on an ‘urgent’ basis and, if so, how to proceed in making their request.  The emergency service will connect SRLs with family lawyers, working on a pro bono basis, who will provide 30 minutes of legal advice specific to determining whether or not their family court matter is urgent and referrals to other available legal services.

SRLs may contact the law society by phone at the following numbers to access the service: Toll-free: 1-800-268-7568; General: 416-947-3310.

Law Society of Ontario Referral Service

The Law Society of Ontario’s Referral Service will give you the name of a lawyer within or near your community, who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options.  You can start the online process of obtaining a lawyer referral at http://www.findlegalhelp.ca/, 24 hours per day.

 
 
 

JUNE 17 - Resumption of Criminal Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice as of July 6, 2020

Jun 17, 2020

To view this notice on the Ontario Court of Justice website please click here.

Trials and Preliminary Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice resume July 6, 2020. The Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for courts administration and courthouse facilities, has established an incremental plan to prepare courthouses and courtrooms to facilitate the return to full court operations across Ontario.  The Ministry has announced the first phase of the plan (Phase One) will be implemented Monday July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courthouses and courtrooms.  Court operations will continue to expand with additional courthouses and courtrooms added as the Ministry continues to implement its plan across the province, with a targeted completion date of November 1, 2020.

As part of the return to operations plan, the Ministry is implementing health and safety measures in each courthouse.

In Phase One and by July 6, 2020, the Court has been advised that site assessments of 93 OCJ courtrooms will be complete, and that all necessary health and safety precautions, based on public health expert advice, will be implemented for the protection of all court users, including judicial officers, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, staff and members of the public.  The Ministry will not re-open a Phase One site on July 6, 2020 if it concludes that the health and safety of courthouse participants cannot be adequately protected on this date.

More information about the precautionary health and safety measures at courthouses implemented by the Ministry will be publicly available before July 6, 2020.

Do not attend the courthouse if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been advised by a public health official,  a physician or the Ontario Ministry of Health website to self-isolate.  Please contact your lawyer or, if you do not have a lawyer, please contact the courthouse by email or telephone to seek direction.

This Notice provides information specific to the resumption of trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020.  The content of this notice will be incorporated in the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice prior to July 6, 2020.

Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will be provided in advance of July 6, 2020.

Please continue to check the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.  The Court will provide additional information about the scheduling and conduct of all court proceedings, including the Court’s ongoing work to make more services available using remote technology.  Court operations will continue to expand as the Ministry facilitates the opening of additional courthouses and courtrooms in accordance with its recovery plan.  The Court will continue working actively with all justice partners to implement a fair and orderly return to operations. As we do so, the health and safety of all court users remains our paramount concern.

1.    Resumption of Trials and Preliminary Inquiries on July 6. 2020, at Specified Court Locations

The Court will resume  hearing criminal trials and preliminary inquiries on July 6, 2020, in a limited number of courtrooms in all courthouses that are part of Phase One of the Ministry’s plan.  All trials and preliminary inquiries involving accused persons who are in custody and who are out of custody will proceed as scheduled in the following Ontario Court of Justice locations:

Ontario Court of Justice Courthouses where Trials and Preliminary Inquiries will Resume as of July 6, 2020

Region Courthouses

Central East: Barrie, Newmarket, Oshawa (Durham), Lindsay

Central West: Brampton, Brantford, Hamilton, Milton, Orangeville, St Catharines

EastBelleville: (Quinte), Cornwall, Kingston, Ottawa, Pembroke

Northeast: North Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury

Northwest: Thunder Bay

Toronto: Toronto North (1000 Finch Ave W), Toronto East (1911 Eglinton Ave E), Toronto West (2201 Finch Ave W), 311 Jarvis St, College Park (444 Yonge St), Old City Hall (60 Queen St W)

West: Chatham, Guelph, Kitchener (Waterloo Region), London, Owen Sound, Sarnia, St Thomas (Elgin County), Windsor

All participants in a trial or preliminary inquiry, including the accused person(s), counsel and witness(es) will attend in person, unless a judge has directed otherwise.

While court operations are expanding as part of Phase One, the number of courtrooms that are open, and the number of people who can attend inside the courtroom or courthouse, remain restricted in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

In light of the restrictions on courthouse and courtroom attendance, and in light of the ongoing public health guidelines and other restrictions, it is essential that all parties take reasonable steps to ensure matters scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry are ready to proceed.

Sections a to c, below, apply to trials and preliminary inquiries at the courthouse locations listed above.

a.    Filing of Pre-trial and Trial Applications

The temporary extension of filing deadlines for pre-trial and trial applications and related application materials established in section 5.3 of the of the Court’s COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice will end as of June 15, 2020.  All application materials in relation to trials and preliminary inquiries scheduled to proceed on or after July 6, 2020, should be filed in accordance with the timelines set out in the Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice.  Application materials that should have been filed with the Court on or before June 15, 2020, but for the previous deadline extension, should be filed by Friday, June 19, 2020.

Materials can be filed electronically in accordance with s. 5.2 of the COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

b.    Witnesses

All witnesses who have been subpoenaed or ordered to attend court for a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled on or after July 6, 2020, must attend court on the scheduled date unless the party who subpoenaed them advises that their attendance is no longer necessary.

If you are a witness and have any questions or concerns about your subpoena or about an upcoming court date, please contact the person listed on the subpoena or on the correspondence you received with your subpoena.  If there is no contact information on your subpoena, contact the courthouse by email or telephone.

c.    COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Judge and until further notice, all cases currently scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry will be spoken to approximately one week before the scheduled hearing date before a judge presiding in a special COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court. The purposes of the Trial Readiness Courts are:

(i) to confirm that trials or preliminary inquiries are ready to proceed on their hearing date; and

(ii) to assign cases into courtrooms that are open and operating.

Unless otherwise directed by the Regional Senior Justice, cases will appear in Trial Readiness Court the Monday before the week of the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry. Where the Monday is a holiday, Trial Readiness Court will be held on Tuesday. For example, matters scheduled for trial or a preliminary inquiry during the week of July 6 – 10 will be addressed in the Trial Readiness Court scheduled for Monday, June 29. Matters scheduled for trial or preliminary inquiry the week of July 13 – 17 will be addressed in the trial readiness court scheduled for Monday, July 6.

For details about the Trial Readiness Court in each court location, including scheduling information, see Ontario Court of Justice Trial Readiness Court.

All appearances in Trial Readiness Court will be by audioconference or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judge.

Accused persons who are represented by counsel do not need to be present for the Trial Readiness Court.

All counsel who speak to matters in Trial Readiness Court must be fully informed about the case and have authority to make binding decisions regarding the conduct of the case.

Accused persons who are not represented by counsel are to attend Trial Readiness Court by audioconference, or videoconference where applicable, to speak to their matter.

There is no need for counsel or accused persons to file a “bring forward” request or application to have their case addressed.

The Court expects the Crown and defence counsel will have communicated before Trial Readiness Court to identify and discuss any issues that may affect the scheduling or conduct of the hearing including, but not limited to:

  • whether, and on what basis, a party may be bringing an application to adjourn the case at the trial readiness court appearance;
  • any witnesses or parties who may be unable to attend court due to health concerns, public health orders or COVID-19 symptoms or other issues;
  • whether any portion of the hearing (including any witness testimony) will be conducted using remote technology.

The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court may hear and determine any application(s) regarding the scheduling or conduct of the hearing that the judge is satisfied should be determined in advance of the trial or preliminary inquiry date.  The judge presiding in Trial Readiness Court will not hear applications that are reserved to the trial judge or in respect of a continuing trial or preliminary inquiry with which a different judge is seized.

Where the parties indicate a matter is going to resolve, the matter will be scheduled into a resolution court on or before the scheduled trial or preliminary inquiry date, where feasible.

2.    Trials and Preliminary Inquiries in Other Courthouses

The Ministry of the Attorney General’s plan does not support any additional courtrooms during Phase One (July 6, 2020) other than the limited number in the courthouses listed above in section 1.  As a result, trials and preliminary inquiries will not be resuming at non-Phase One courthouses on July 6, 2020.

As the Ministry’s plan is implemented in other courthouse locations, trials and preliminary inquires will resume at those courthouse locations.  Notice will be given about which courthouse locations will be opening so that counsel and parties can prepare for the resumption of trials or preliminary inquiries.  Please check back on the Ontario Court of Justice website for updates.

3.    Other Court Proceedings will Continue to be Conducted as Remote Proceedings

All proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquiries will be conducted by audioconference and/or videoconference, unless otherwise directed by a judicial official. This includes bail proceedings, resolutions (including guilty pleas) involving accused persons who are in and out of custody, remand and case management (set date) appearances.

Attendance in courtrooms for criminal matters other than trials and preliminary inquiries will continue to be restricted to the judicial official and essential court staff, unless a judicial official directs otherwise.

The Court is actively working to expand opportunities for counsel and parties to attend court proceedings using remote technology.  Further updates and information about criminal proceedings other than trials and preliminary inquires, including criminal case management (set date) appearances, will be provided in advance of July 6, 2020.

4.    Scheduling Trial and Preliminary Inquiry dates

The Court will begin rescheduling criminal trials and preliminary inquiries that were scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 but adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, later this month.

The Court will provide further details about the procedure for setting trial and preliminary inquiry dates shortly.

Counsel are reminded that a judicial pre-trial is mandatory in all cases that were scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 and adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for all cases with a trial or preliminary inquiry scheduled between July 6, 2020 and October 31, 2020: see s. 6.2 of the Court’s COVID-19: Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice.

JUNE 6 | Province Extends Suspension of Limitations Periods to September 11th

Jun 08, 2020

The Lieutenant Governor in Council has amended O. Reg. 73/20, made under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), suspending limitation and procedural time periods.

The changes include:

  • "Decoupling" the duration of the suspension from the state of emergency. This responds to the bar’s requests for reasonable predictability and notice. The change allows the duration of the order to be based on all relevant factors and not just the state of emergency.
  • Extending the suspension of limitation and procedural time periods up to and including September 11, 2020 (the maximum renewal period allowed for under the EMCPA).
  • With respect to the suspension of time for steps in a proceeding, clarifying the discretion of a court or tribunal to include:
    • the person or persons who have jurisdiction to make orders in the proceeding;
    • the three Chief Justices in Ontario, in respect of any or all of the proceedings in their respective courts;
    • the chair of a tribunal, in respect of any or all of the proceedings before the tribunal.
  • Providing for enforcement under Part V of the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act to resume in appropriate cases to enforce payment of child or spousal support.

You can find a copy of Order No. 258/20 here.

You can find a copy of Order No. 259/20 here.

The Orders 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

 

JUNE 4 | Real Estate Update

Jun 04, 2020

Remote Commissioning

Bill 190, COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020 passed first, second and third reading and received Royal Assent on May 12, 2020.  Schedule 4 includes amendments to the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act to permit remote commissioning, subject to regulations made under the Act. 

The regulations are currently being drafted and the FOLA Real Estate Co-Chairs will be participating in stakeholder consultations with the Ministry of the Attorney General on June 10, 2020. 

Authorization for Virtual Meeting

Many lawyers are now meeting with clients remotely. To ensure that clients understand and consent to the risks associated with virtual meetings, FOLA recommends obtaining written consent from clients to video communications. A sample Authorization for Virtual Meeting can be found here.

Tarion Information Sessions for Lawyers

Tarion will be hosting two webinars for real estate lawyers next week, aimed at sharing information about how the provincial orders related to COVID-19 are impacting the new home warranty. 

Real Estate Lawyer Webinar: Impacts of COVID-19 on the new home warranty.

Thursday June 11, 2020 11:00am - 12:30pm

This webinar is ideal for lawyers who provide services to both new home vendors/builders and new home buyers. During this session, Tarion representatives will discuss:

  • The emergency order that suspends all statutory timelines related to the warranty
  • How Tarion is handing form submissions, repairs and inspections during this time
  • Tarion’s advice for buyers on how to conduct the PDI safely in consideration of social distancing
  • Potential delays that new home purchasers may be facing

At the end of the short presentation, there will be time for a question and answer session

You can register here.

Real Estate Lawyer Webinar: Understanding the Unavoidable Delay Process

Thursday June 11, 2020 2:00 – 3:30pm.

This webinar may be of interest to lawyers who represent new home vendors/builders.  During this session, members of Tarion’s legal team will outline the steps that need to be taken for new home vendors/builders to use the unavoidable delay provisions of the addendum to gain relief from delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.  A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

You can register here.

Digital signatures

Many lawyers are asking about the use of digitally signed documents.  Some lawyers love them and want to use them exclusively during this pandemic and others will not accept documents signed digitally. Some lawyers also differentiate between documents signed digitally using platforms like Docusign and documents signed on a tablet in the party’s own handwriting.

The Law Society confirms that this is a substantive legal issue to be determined by the lawyer. (see the LSO FAQ on this topic here.)

FOLA is also not taking a position for or against the use of digital signatures, but cautions lawyers to confirm that documents signed in such a manner will be acceptable to the recipient(s) before using digital signing platforms for closing documents.  Will the lenders, the other lawyer, CRA, etc. accept the document signed in this manner?

Communication is essential to prevent issues on closing.

Zombie Deeds

A “Zombie Deed” is a transfer that is registered after an owner dies – not by the Estate Trustee, but purportedly by the owner themself.  These situations arise when an A&D for the Transfer is signed by the owner, but before the Transfer is registered, the owner dies.

The Director of Titles has spoken out against “Zombie Deeds” in the past and the Courts have recently rendered a decision confirming that such transfers are improper.  See the latest A Lot from the DOT here.

If and when we receive further information of interest to the real estate bar, we will pass it along. 

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

JUNE 2 | Notice Regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court Operations

Jun 02, 2020

To view this notice on the Superior Court of Justice website please click here

March 16, 2020; revised May 4, 2020 and June 2, 2020

By notice dated Monday, March 16, 2020, sittings of the Ontario Small Claims Court were suspended until further notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hearings suspended included, but were not limited to, all trials, settlement conferences, motions, assessment hearings, garnishment hearings, contempt hearings and examinations, including teleconference hearings and videoconference hearings.

On June 2, 2020, the Small Claims Court will begin scheduling select settlement conferences in non-urgent matters, to be conducted remotely.

Urgent Matters

The Small Claims Court will hear urgent motions and urgent garnishment hearings during the COVID-19 emergency period. All urgent hearings will be heard by telephone or videoconference.

A judge will review each request and decide whether an urgent hearing will be scheduled. Urgent cases may include:

  1. Cases in which a judgment debtor has an outstanding warrant for arrest issued in relation to a Small Claims Court proceeding; or
  2. Time-sensitive cases that would result in immediate and serious financial hardship if there were no hearing.

Steps to Seek an Urgent Hearing

To request an urgent hearing, complete the request form available on the Superior Court of Justice website. Email your completed request form to: urgentsmallclaims@ontario.ca.

If the judge approves your request for an urgent hearing, you will receive an email with the date of your hearing, details about how to attend by telephone or videoconference and an email address where you must send your court documents for the hearing.

If you require legal advice in preparing a request for an urgent hearing, you may seek assistance through Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline (1-855-255-7256).

Settlement conferences

On June 2, 2020, the Small Claims Court will begin scheduling remote settlement conferences in non-urgent matters only where:

  1. All parties to the action agree to proceed with a remote settlement conference;
  2. Each defendant has filed a defence or was noted in default in the matter prior to March 16, 2020; and
  3. All parties agree to rely solely on the pleadings as filed and served.

The Court will consider any request that meets the three above criteria, even if no settlement conference had been previously scheduled in the case.

Steps for Scheduling a Settlement Conference

To request that the Court schedule a settlement conference, one party must submit the request form, available on the Superior Court of Justice website, to smallclaims.settlementconferences@ontario.ca. No matter which party or representative completes the form, all parties must agree to the method of hearing indicated on the form. The form must be signed by all parties or their representatives in order to be considered.

It is expected that most conferences will take place by video conferencing. A limited number may be held by telephone conferencing. A device with a camera and a microphone, plus access to WiFi/an internet connection, will be required for participation by video conferencing.

Suspension of Counter Service in Small Claims Courts

The Ministry of the Attorney General advises that although courthouses will remain open, effective May 4, 2020, counter service at all Small Claims Court locations is suspended and filings will no longer be accepted in person.

Where procedural rules or court orders require the filing of documents during this emergency period, and it is not possible to do so because Small Claims Court counter-service has been suspended, parties can expect the Court to grant extensions of time once the Court’s normal operations resume. Parties must still comply with orders and rules requiring the service or delivery of documents as between parties.

If you wish to file a claim in Small Claims Court during the suspension, you may do so online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-small-claims-online/page/file-small-claims-online.

If you require legal advice to assist you in filing a claim, you may seek assistance through Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline (1-855-255-7256).

Unsworn Affidavits

Where a judge authorizes a party to email materials to the court for an urgent hearing and it is not possible to email a sworn affidavit, unsworn affidavits will be accepted on the condition that a sworn affidavit is provided prior to the hearing or the person is available at the hearing to swear or affirm of the affidavit.

Filing Fees

Where parties and representatives deliver materials by email, they undertake to file the same materials in paper format, and pay the requisite filing fee, at the court counter when regular court operations resume.

More Information

The Ontario Small Claims Court continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. In the weeks ahead, the Court will gradually resume regular operations and reschedule matters.

You may wish to also consult the Ministry of Health’s website at Ontario.ca/coronavirus for further information on how to protect yourself.

While the Ontario Small Claims Court is an important source of timely access to justice in Ontario, the health and safety of those who use and work in the Small Claims Court is our priority.

Thank you very much for your understanding and co-operation during this extraordinary time.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Superior Court of Justice

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 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.