The Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a further Notice to the Profession on June 25, 2020. The Notice indicates that COVID-19 risk assessments are being conducted at each Ontario courthouse. Issues such as physical distancing, facility and room capacity, plexiglass barriers, enhanced cleaning, courtroom configuration, document transmission, and COVID screening are being examined.
By July 6, 2020, there will be 56 courtrooms available for use by the Superior Court of Justice. Many jurisdictions, including Toronto, London, Ottawa, Kingston, Brampton, Newmarket, Barrie, and Oshawa, will have at least one courtroom available. Additional courtrooms will be available by September 15, 2020 and November 1, 2020.
Starting 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. For civil matters, direction will be provided by each region for the hearing of proceedings.
Litigants and lawyers are asked to come to court at least 30 minutes in advance due to extra screening requirements.
Lawyers do not have to gown for in-court appearances in the Superior Court of Justice due to limited space in courthouse robing rooms. Counsel may continue to wear business attire.