New Procedures for Criminal Matters in the OCJ

The following message is from Chief Justice Maisonneuve:

As you may know, on Monday May 4, the Ontario Court of Justice released a public communication announcing that it will not be returning to full operations on May 29, 2020. The communication advised that no trials or preliminary inquiries will be conducted until July 6, 2020 at the earliest.

As we continue to work with the Superior Court, the Ministry, and other justice partners to address and tackle the challenges to the resumption of trials and preliminary inquiries, the Court understands and shares the pressing concern of a growing court backlog.

The Court is thus pleased to announce a limited expansion.  As of Monday May 11, the Court will expand its operations to accommodate resolutions of criminal charges involving persons who are out of custody, where the Regional Senior Judge is satisfied that the necessary courthouse resources are in place. In addition, as further described in the Notice, the Court is making judicial pre-trials mandatory for all criminal proceedings (including YCJA proceedings):

  1. that were scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between March 16, 2020 and July 3, 2020 that was, or will be, adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  2. that are scheduled for a trial or preliminary inquiry between July 6, 2020 and October 30, 2020

Later today, the Court will be posting the COVID-19 Notice to Counsel and the Public re: Criminal Matters in the Ontario Court of Justice, which is effective May 11, 2020. This notice both consolidates previous directives regarding OCJ criminal proceedings issued as a result of the COVID-pandemic and it includes important updates regarding our Court’s criminal operations.

Accompanying this Notice are two related protocols, one about the conduct of bail hearings, and the other about new procedures for consent variations to bail orders and police undertakings. You will find these protocols attached, together with the consent variation application forms.  In addition, I enclose a procedures guide regarding the new consent variation procedures that my office prepared for the judiciary, Court Services Division and Counsel for your reference.

The Notice, protocols and forms will be posted on both the OCJ websites shortly.

Click below to view the Notice, protocols and forms:


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