In light of the newest Covid-19 Omicron variant, Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz released an update on January 19, 2022, regarding court and jury procedures going forward. Effective Monday, February 7, 2022, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will extend the following temporary adjustments to its operations until February 28, 2022, subject to further directions from the Court:
- For Jury trials scheduled in January and February, jury selections will not commence in any location until February 28, 2022
- The presiding judge will decide whether in-progress jury and non-jury trials are to proceed at this time or to be rescheduled for a later date. The positions of the parties will be considered, and any adjustments will be made for parties who do not wish to attend in person.
- Parties who are represented by lawyers are encouraged to access courts virtually. Lawyers are encouraged to facilitate their clients’ access to technology through any possible means, such as attending at their office or another location to attend hearings virtually or provide them with the necessary technology. Where a litigant does not have access to necessary technology or a lawyer with the necessary technology, litigants are encouraged to reach out to their local court office to make appropriate arrangements for their participation.
- Criminal, judge-alone trials and other criminal matters can proceed in person at the discretion of the presiding judge. Alternatively, they can proceed in a hybrid matter, but efforts should be made to hear these matters remotely where possible.
- Civil matters will proceed virtually. In urgent matters only, the Court may allow cases to proceed as hybrid hearings.
- Family and Child Protection matters will proceed virtually. In urgent matters only, the Court may allow cases to proceed as hybrid hearings.