Expanding In-Person, Remote and Online Justice Services in OntarioPublished on September 17, 2020
Throughout the COVID-19 emergency and recovery, this government has been working with justice partners to keep Ontarians safe and maintain the administration of justice across our province. This has included work and investments to support the transition to remote proceedings that kept urgent matters moving while minimizing the number of people in courthouses.
As of September 14, more than 20 additional courthouses have reopened as part of a phased approach to expanding court services and in-person hearings. In addition, 17 courthouses that opened in July have now reopened more courtrooms, including additional courtrooms at the Newmarket courthouse on Eagle Street. So far, almost half of Ontario’s 682 courtrooms and four satellite courtrooms have reopened for in-person hearings. We are working with Ontario’s courts to reopen more courtrooms by this fall.
Health and Safety
Protecting health and safety inside reopened courtrooms is our government’s focus. Before each courthouse could reopen, individual site assessments were completed to ensure courthouse-specific measures were in place to support the health and safety of all participants. Ontario is working with public health officials to ensure strict health and safety protocols are followed in all courthouses including:
- screening measures before entering the court
- enhanced cleaning
- hand sanitizer stations
- barriers in public spaces and in courtrooms
- physical distancing by staying two metres apart
- mandatory face coverings
For more information about precautionary measures being taken as courthouses and courtrooms reopen, please read the:
- COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms Ontario.ca page
- Guidebook, COVID-19: Recommended Precautionary Measures for Resuming Court Operations.
The web page and guidebook are updated regularly. The guidebook applies the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s advice in a courthouse setting and outlines the measures being taken to support in-person court hearings while safeguarding the health and safety of all justice participants.
Expanded Online Filing and Search
Ontario is also providing innovative ways of delivering justice remotely. Online claims can be filed for civil claims, small claims and family law matters. The public can also file by email at the Superior Court of Justice or the Ontario Court of Justice.
The government recently made it possible for people to submit almost 400 additional types of court documents for civil and family law matters. We also made it easier for Ontarians to find court case information without leaving home through a new online service that provides public access about criminal and civil court cases at the Superior Court of Justice.
Ontario will continue to take decisive action to keep Ontarians safe and maintain access to justice by establishing new and innovative ways of delivering services remotely, in-person and online.