The Ontario Superior Court provides that possible court cases related to COVID-19 will have priority over non-emergency cases for reasons of public health and safety.
On its website, the Ontario Superior Court confirms the suspension of all its regular activities “as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until further notice”.
Urgent family and childhood matters, certain urgent civil and commercial cases (Toronto courthouse), and other cases deemed urgent by the judiciary will be heard.
On the other hand, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Ontario, Geoffrey B. Morawetz states that the courts must be ready to deal with possible COVID-19 court cases:
– Prescriptions filed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health that relate to COVID-19.
– Preventing or prohibiting the repetition of an offense under an order filed under the Health Protection and Promotion Act
– Filling orders requiring the seizure of premises, drugs or supplies under the Health Protection and Promotion Act
– Urgent COVID-19 injunction requests
– Urgent appeals and urgent judicial review applications to the Divisional Court related to COVID-19
In Quebec as in Ontario, the activities of courthouses are turned upside down in order to reduce the crowds in courtrooms. However, the maintenance of certain essential services forces many to attend despite everything.
The Superior Court of Quebec and the Court of Quebec suspend their regular activities until further notice.
The Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court said on Monday that “all criminal, family and civil law matters scheduled to be heard on or after Tuesday, March 17, 2020 are adjourned”. Lawyers and parties to cases scheduled for hearing on or after March 17 are advised not to attend the courthouse.
Non-urgent cases, both civil and criminal, are postponed.
The criminal chambers must ensure the first compulsory appearances of detained persons, certain inquiries into release, as well as the preliminary inquiries and trials which are considered urgent by the judges on the files.
Less urgent cases are postponed, while defendants will receive a mail notice regarding their next hearing date.
In Quebec, the civil chamber, the trials of the Regular Division and the Small Claims Division are suspended.
According to a press release from the Court of Quebec published Sunday, requests for leave to appeal from administrative court decisions can be made in accordance with “in accordance with the practice of the district”.
Certain urgent activities maintained relate to requests from the director of public health, custody of a person for psychiatric assessment, requests for obtaining a restricted driver’s license, for release from the seizure of a road vehicle, l obtaining or contesting or canceling a seizure before judgment, any other request that the Court may consider urgent, “in particular when the fact of not proceeding or of not respecting certain time limits provided by law would risk losing rights to the parties ”
Settlement conferences and facilitation in criminal matters are suspended.
Courts, however, maintain youth appearances, release inquiries, preliminary inquiries and other cases deemed urgent by the judiciary.
The requests for extension of immediate protection measure, for temporary accommodation, and concerning certain sections of the Youth Protection Act are maintained.
Requests for adoptions considered urgent are maintained.
The Quebec Ministry of Justice has also indicated this weekend that discussions were aimed at setting up a system of representation, by voluntary lawyers, for members of the Bar who would not be available to appear before the courts.