Author Archives: derek

Effective Immediately: Reduced Counter Services at St. Catharines and Welland courthouses


The health and wellbeing of court occupants and all Ontarians who access the courthouse is a priority.

Do not come into the Courthouse in person if you have been advised by Public Health or your doctor or the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) website to self-isolate due to possible exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

All users of this courthouse are advised to consult the MOH website for the latest information on COVID-19 at:

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or to determine whether you should isolate yourself or seek medical assistance, call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit for assistance and direction, before attending the courthouse. 


Effective March 18, 2020, and until further notice, counter services will be offered between 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  


Please note that online filing is available for Small Claims Court, Civil, and Family Court matters. For more information, please visit: (Small Claims Court) (civil) (family)


All onsite family mediation and information services are being suspended until further notice.  Parties are encouraged to contact service providers to discuss services being offered remotely, including online or by phone. 

You may also be able to find information at:

Community Legal Education Ontario:

Steps to Justice:

Legal Aid Ontario:

LCLA Library staffing

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the Law Library will be unstaffed until further notice.  Staff will be working offsite, and may be reached via email at  Library staff will have access to Quicklaw, Practice Advisor, Wrongful Dismissal Database and Lawyers’ Daily, and will be able to assist with research. We will post any updates on the LCLA website.

Legal Aid Ontario – Additional Family Duty Counsel Services – effective November 18, 2019

As you are well aware, on July 7, 2019, Legal Aid Ontario implemented service changes across the province in order to align their operations to their provincial funding allocation for 2019.  Earlier this afternoon, FOLA was advised that following a period of monitoring LAO services, they have adapted services as required and, as a result, they determined that there is now capacity to provide some additional family duty counsel services.

As such, effective November 18, 2019, duty counsel will provide these additional services:

  • Procedural advice to anyone appearing without their own lawyer in first appearance court or case conference.
  • Assistance with child protection matters for financially eligible clients in jurisdictions where clients are unable to retain lawyer in a timely manner.
  • Assistance with consents, as long as negotiations have been completed and the issues are eligible for duty counsel services.
  • Assistance with second case conferences, for those who financially qualify for legal aid and the issues are eligible for duty counsel services.

The attached documents outline additional services which will now be available. The provision of these additional services will be subject to local practise and duty counsel capacity. Some services may not be available at every location.

Substantive legal advice and assistance remains limited to those who financially qualify for legal aid.  Please do forward this to all members who work with Legal Aid.



MAG notice regarding civil justice reforms

Good afternoon – earlier today, MAG sent us the following notice to all in the legal profession:

On January 1, 2020, important civil justice reforms will come into effect. The reforms were introduced through:

  1. A regulation filed on October 23, 2019 to increase the Small Claims Court monetary jurisdiction (O. Reg 343-19 amending O. Reg. 626/00 pursuant to the Courts of Justice Act, s.53(1)).
  2. A regulation filed on October 23, 2019 to amend civil court rules relating to Simplified Procedure (O. Reg 344-19 amending the Rules of Civil Procedure pursuant to the Courts of Justice Act).
  3. Bill 100, the Protecting what Matters Most Act (Budget Measures) 2019, which passed on May 29, 2019 (amends s.108 of the Courts of Justice Act by eliminating civil jury trials in Simplified Procedure actions)

Please also note that a regulation filed on October 23, 2019 amends the Rules of the Small Claims Court court forms relating to garnishment proceedings (O. Reg 345-19). The court forms are available on the CSD court forms website.

This information can also be found on FOLA’s website.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director


Re: Overnight arrests by video

We had a meeting on Friday September 27th with a majority of stakeholders to see how the revised changes to Bail was going.  The project appears to be working by reducing the number of prisoners being brought to the court house but what we did identify, was a work flow issue.. The end result will be that we will be switching SB2 and SB3.

Effective Monday October 21st, All Bail matters will be moved into SB2 Starting at 930 am, where the video suite is located and will deal with overnight arrests, video from the various Detention centres and regular bail matters, if I can describe them as that.

Case Management Court will be moved into SB3 with a 900 am start and once Case Management Court has been completed it will become a Bail Assist Court with IPBC taking priority on Mondays and Thursdays at 130 pm.

It is believed that this will assist Court Support Staff with Docket and Information preparation and ensure that proper breaks are given throughout the day.

Signage and the information counter on the first floor will be prepared to advise the public of these changes.

I will be preparing revised Protocols for both SB2 and SB3 and hopefully have them distributed by weeks end.

Also please feel free to share this message with anyone else who would have an interest in this matter.

Thank you,



Local Administrative Justice of the Peace Niagara

SB2 Case Management Video Bail Best Practices Protocol 20191021

SB3 Case Management IPBC 20101021

Changes to LAO Duty Counsel Program

FOLA received notice yesterday from Legal Aid Ontario about changes that are coming in the duty counsel program, effective July 7th.

The lists of what duty counsel will do/won’t do are attached.

The central changes are as follows, though the detail is really in the service guides:

  • Criminal duty counsel: duty counsel will continue to serve in-custody accused without financially testing as always, but will serve only financially and legally eligible clients for out-of-custody accused.  Duty counsel won’t be providing dedicated courtroom services (ie staffing courtrooms all day) except for bail court.  However, duty counsel will continue to go into court (not trial courts, of course) to serve legally and financially eligible clients.
  • Family duty counsel: duty counsel will assist clients with some aspects of Motions to Change, and will provide in-court service to financially and legally eligible clients in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Unified Family Court.
  • Agency work: duty counsel will provide routine agency work for lawyers on certificate matters.

As a practising lawyer, with over 25 years experience, and with my practice restricted, by choice, to criminal law for well over half my career, please, accept this personal note of encouragement.  I can say that in reviewing the DC restrictions rather than enhancement of DC services we, the practising Certificate counsel Bar, should see a wee glimmer of positivity as this is good for us and not as harmful as anticipated.   In the meanwhile, I as FOLA LAO chair, and Katie Robinette, FOLA’s Executive Director, plan to continue to actively participate with the Alliance for the Sustainability of Legal Aid (ASLA).   The next meeting is Tuesday next.  We and other stakeholders are seeking a course of action to address your concerns.

Terry Brandon

FOLA Legal Aid Chair

Service Guide 2019 – CRIMINAL

 Service Guide 2019 – FAMILY

Provincial Practice Advisory – 90 day Detention Reviews s. 525 Criminal Code

Provincial Practice Advisory – 90 day Detention Reviews s. 525 Criminal Code

Effective: June 3, 2019

Purpose: To notify Crown counsel, members of the criminal bar, court staff, trial coordinators and corrections of their obligations to the Court pursuant to s. 525 of the Criminal Code and R. v. Myers, 2019 SCC 18.  


  1. It is the responsibility of the correctional facility to notify the SCJ when an inmate is eligible for a 90[1] day review pursuant to s. 525 as interpreted in Myers.[2]
  2. When the 90 day eligibility period is reached, the correctional facility must notify and bring a s. 525 application to the SCJ. The correctional facility will notify the SCJ trial coordinator and SCJ court administration.[3]
  3. Corrections is to notify the SCJ sufficiently in advance of the 90 day eligibility period to enable the Court and trial coordinator to arrange for notification of counsel and to determine next steps in the matter. The point in time for notification in each region will be determined by arrangement with the SCJ judiciary in each region.[4]
  4. Correctional facilities are to notify the SCJ in the location where the case is going to be tried.
  5. Unless directed otherwise by the Court or local practice advisory, SCJ court administration is responsible for:
    1. Inputting the appropriate information into FRANK
    2. Opening a s. 525 file – this should generally include
      • the material submitted to the Court from correctional facility (e.g. OTIS information/s. 525 application)
      • an endorsement page for SCJ presiding judge
    3. Ordering a copy of the information from the OCJ to be available to the SCJ when required as directed by the Judge or by local practice.
    4. CSD (OCJ) must make efforts to expedite making a copy of the information available to SCJ at the requisite time when it is required.

The trial coordinator is responsible for:

  1. Notifying counsel of record in writing of the date of the appearance[5]. Notification may allow for counsel to notify the Court in writing if the accused waives the hearing.
  2. Listing the s. 525 detention review hearing as directed by a judge of the Court, if a hearing is required.
  3. If counsel’s name is not provided by the correctional facility via the warrant of remand or other means, the SCJ must make efforts to identify whether there is a counsel. This may require the trial coordinator to make inquiries of the Crown Attorney’s office or to check the information.
  1. The Crown is expected to assist in identifying counsel.
  2. First appearances on s. 525 reviews may be held by video or in person as is determined by local practice.
  3. If the accused person or counsel acting on the accused person’s behalf does not waive the hearing, it should be scheduled without delay as is reasonable in the all the circumstances.

Record for the hearing

  1. At the first appearance, if a s. 525 hearing is to be scheduled, the SCJ presiding judge may make inquiries into the nature of the hearing and may give direction to the Crown and defence counsel as to their responsibilities for providing a record for the hearing.

Such direction may include:

  • Setting time requirements for the s. 525 hearing
  • Setting timelines for the filing of materials and specifying the materials required
  • Identifying the party responsible for the filing of materials, such as (if applicable):
    • Surety affidavits
    • Transcripts
    • Relevant synopses (current and outstanding charges) and
    • Criminal record of the accused person

Bail transcripts

  1. Where the accused person is represented by counsel, the judge who schedules the 90 day review for hearing should make inquiries about the necessity of having the transcript of any bail hearing and/or previous review hearing, or any part of it available for the 90 day review hearing.

Those inquiries may include:

  • The basis of the 90 day review
  • Any delay that has occurred in moving the case forward and who is responsible for the delay
  • The allegations
  • The existence of a criminal record and/or outstanding charges
  • Whether the bail hearing/previous review proceeded on the basis of Crown or reverse onus
  • Whether evidence was called at the bail hearing/previous review
  • Whether the 90 day review will involve the presentation of a new plan for release, new information, or new sureties
  • Whether the reasons for the detention order will suffice, or whether a full transcript of the bail hearing/review is necessary, and/or
  • Whether the defence will argue that the accused person is at the point of time served.

Should the judge determine that all or part of the transcript is required, the judge may provide direction as to who will be responsible for ordering the transcript and who will cover the cost of the transcript. Where it is in the interests of justice to do so, the transcript cost may be covered by the Court. In those circumstances, the judge will either make arrangements to order the transcript or will direct the Crown to order the transcript with payment to be made by the Court.

Self-represented accused persons

  1. If the accused person is self-represented, and the judge determines that the bail transcript is necessary, the judge may order (or direct the Crown to order) the transcript with payment to be made by the Court.

Heather J. Smith
Chief Justice
Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)|
May 31, 2019


[1] The same procedure applies to 30 day reviews for summary conviction matters.
[2] 90 days since initially brought before a justice in OCJ (s. 503) or detained under s. 524, or since bail review s. 520/521.
[3] Corrections will always advise SCJ trial coordinator and will also advise SCJ court office if requested by SCJ. Additional offices (eg OCJ court office) may be notified by local practice advisory.
[4] The most optimum timing can be determined at the Regional level and by direction of RSJ or designated SCJ judiciary. (eg day 60-65 or day 75)
[5] In some centres, the Crown may be involved in this role.

Civil Claims Online Survey

Do you file civil case documents? Tell us how Civil Claims Online can work better for you.

Since November 2017, Ontarians have been able to file select civil case documents online, 24/7 using the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Civil Claims Online service.

We want to hear from you

As current and potential users, your input is crucial for making this service a success. We created a survey to get a better understanding of how you currently use the service, what you like about it and where we can improve.

Please respond to the survey by March 22, 2019. We truly appreciate your feedback!

Did you know?

With this service, you can file online 24/7. Filing online reduces trips to the courthouse, eliminates the need to pay for postage or courier services and reduces processing delays. Visit to learn more.