COVID-19 - Firm News

April 8, 2020   

Civil Claims Online Portal:
Filing Non Urgent Documents Online

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
Partner



In response to COVID-19, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) has made necessary changes to procedural deadlines and steps over the last few weeks. Amidst these changes, the Court has recently announced that certain proceedings can now take place electronically.

Filings

The Court has stated that it will relieve compliance with procedural rules, regulations, and statutes as necessary to best manage matters during this challenging time.

The Court will be accepting filings by e-mail for urgent matters or those matters listed in the relevant region’s Notice to the Profession. Once regular court operations resume, any materials filed via e-mail must be filed in paper format with the requisite filing fee.

For matters that are not considered to be urgent or have not been listed in the relevant region’s Notice to the Profession, counsel and parties are discouraged from filing documents at courthouses in person. Instead, claims or Statements of Claim should be filed through the Civil Claims Online Portal (directions, list of document types approved for online filing, and link to online site).

All time-periods for steps in civil proceedings as established by statute, regulation, rule, bylaw, or order of the Government of Ontario have been suspended. This includes all limitation periods and procedural time periods, which have been suspended in Ontario beginning March 16, 2020, until further notice.

Hearings

Civil matters scheduled to be heard on or after March 17, 2020, are adjourned until further notice. However, the SCJ will continue to hear urgent and time-sensitive matters in cases where there would be significant financial repercussions if the matter was not heard.

Beginning April 6, 2020, the ability to hold remote hearings will be expanded to include:

  • pre-trial conferences;
  • motions or applications to approve settlements where a party is under a disability, in writing;
  • consent motions, in writing; and
  • to see other hearings that might be heard in your particular region, visit the SCJ’s website

Hearings can be conducted in various formats, including in writing, by teleconference, or by videoconference, unless the Ministry of the Attorney General determines that a physical hearing is necessary.

Pre-trial conferences that were scheduled to be heard between March 16, 2020, and May 31, 2020, but were cancelled due to court closures can now be rescheduled on request. However, the objective of any rescheduled pre-trial conferences will be settling the action; pre-trial conferences will not be dealing with Trial Management at this time. Pre-trial conferences may be quite helpful for matters with the possibility of settlement that may benefit from judicial assistance.

I hope that this finds you all well and keeping safe!



The managing partner of our firm's Ottawa office, Martin Smith, can be reached at 613-566-5970 or msmith@mccagueborlack.com to address any of your questions or put you in touch with any lawyer at our firm in any of our offices in Ottawa, Toronto, London, Kitchener, or Barrie.


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