Expanding In-Person, Remote and Online Justice Services in Ontario

Summary

Our government has responded to the COVID-19 emergency and recovery by accelerating our work to build a more accessible, responsive and resilient justice system.

We have moved Ontario’s outdated justice system forward by decades in a matter of months by working closely with justice partners and we cannot afford to look back or slow the pace of progress as we reopen the province.

We 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.

As courtrooms across the province continue to re-open gradually, as they have done since early June, we will continue to take measures to limit attendance in courthouses by continuing to move services online and support remote operations.

For example, 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.

 Our government made it possible for people to submit almost 400 additional types of court documents for civil and family law matters.

We have 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.

With this added support, courtrooms began re-opening in early July with enhanced health and safety protocols, guidelines, equipment and supplies in place.

As of today, more than 20 additional courthouses have reopened and an additional 18 courthouses that opened in July have now reopened more courtrooms.

In-person proceedings can now occur in almost half of Ontario’s 682 courtrooms and four satellite courtrooms.

Following the guidance of public health experts, we are working with Ontario’s courts to reopen more courtrooms by this fall.

Key Messages

  • Throughout the COVID-19 emergency and recovery our government has been working with justice partners to keep Ontarians safe and maintain the administration of justice across the 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.
  • We 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.

Enhanced Health and Safety Measures

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.

We are 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

News Links

COVID-19: Reopening courtrooms Ontario.ca page

Guidebook, COVID-19: Recommended Precautionary Measures for Resuming Court Operations.