Feb. 12, 2021 – 2:33 PM – Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) PPE Policy Update

Below is a message from MAG’s Recovery Secretariat. 

*** please share with your staff and/or members ***

As the COVID-19 situation evolves across the province, we are writing to provide you with an update following our recent discussions with the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Office.

Even with the new COVID-19 variants of concern (UK, South African, and Brazilian), the ministry has been assured that the existing overlapping layers of protection within our courthouses remain effective at mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, out of an abundance of caution, new and enhanced masking requirements have been recommended for all justice sector participants, including our staff, the judiciary, and any person entering a courthouse.

Effective Tuesday February 16, the following enhancements will be applicable in all courthouses across the province:

  • Anyone entering a courthouse (including all critical justice participants) will be provided a 3-ply face covering, to ensure that a consistent, quality, face covering is being worn by everyone who enters a court. In most cases this will mean that an individual attending a courthouse will need to replace their own personal face covering, with a ministry-issued one.
  • In light of the ministry’s responsibilities for our staff under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, the ministry is exceeding current provincial masking recommendations, and all ministry staff will be issued surgical/procedure masks for use within the courthouse. Ministry staff can no longer wear their own personal face coverings, and the ministry-issued surgical/procedure masks must be worn at all times in all locations.

As before, the exceptions in place for individuals who can not wear a face covering, for medical or other accommodation issues, remain in place.

The updated masking policies were communicated to our ministry managers and employees internally earlier today. In addition, the new masking requirements for the public are now reflected on Ontario.ca, to inform individuals who are planning to attend a courthouse.

Over the next few weeks, we will be updating our Recovery Guidebook, COVID-19: Recommended Precautionary Measuresto reflect these and other adjustments. The updated version of the Guidebook will be distributed once finalized, and will continue to be available on Ontario.ca for broad public access.

Thank you.

MAG Recovery Secretariat

Feb. 11, 2021 – 5:14 PM -Notice to Legal Associations Regarding Amendments to the Rules of the Small Claims Court (O. Reg. 108-21, in force March 1, 2021) and Rules of Civil Procedure (O. Reg. 107-21, in force March 1, 2021)

NOTICE TO LEGAL ASSOCIATIONS  (Please share with your members)

On February 11, 2021, regulations were filed to amend the court rules and forms for Small Claims Court proceedings and civil proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice, namely:

O. Reg. 108-21, amending the Rules of the Small Claims Court; and

O. Reg. 107-21, amending the Rules of Civil Procedure

The Small Claims Court amendment regulation establishes new electronic processes in Small Claims Court proceedings through amendments to 17 rules and 23 forms and the creation of 2 new rules. 

The amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure and related forms allow for email service on the Crown in right of Ontario, the Attorney General, Children’s Lawyer and the Public Guardian and Trustee for originating processes and other documents as an alternative to personal service.

The new rules related to serving the Crown in right of Ontario and related entities are subject to O. Reg. 76/20 (Electronic service) under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, as long as O. Reg. 76/20 remains in effect.

A summary of each regulation is available on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry at:

21-MAG003 (O. Reg. 108-21)

21-MAG002 (O. Reg. 107-21)

The regulations come into force on March 1, 2021.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 10, 2021 – 1:43 PM -FOLA’s Weekly Update

Please find attached, this week’s Sector Call Report, which can also be found online here.   Please forward to your members.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 5, 2021 – 5:30 PM – SCJ Central South Region – update to notice to the profession

The Central South Region’s COVID-19 notice to the profession has been updated to advise that Registrars in Bankruptcy sitting in Hamilton will resume hearing non-urgent matters. See details here.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Feb. 5, 2021 – 10:22 AM – CaseLines Information Sheets

As you are aware, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice are introducing CaseLines, a cloud-based document-sharing platform that supports remote and in-person court proceedings.  This supports efforts to reduce the number of in-person court attendances at courthouses in accordance with the recommendations of public health advisors. 

Attached you will find an information sheet with more details about CaseLines and the planned provincial rollout.  Please share this information with members of your associations. 

They can also be found on our Courts page and our Family Law page.

Attachments:

Feb. 3, 2021 – 1:52 PM – FOLA’s Weekly Update

Please find attached, this week’s Sector Call Report, which can also be found online here.   Please forward to your members.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Jan. 28, 2021 – 5:28 PM – Family Law, Legal Aid (bail coverage increase to address COVID challenges), & LiRN info

There are three items here: 1) re: Family Law and Bill C-78; 2) Legal Aid Ontario update re: Duty Council; and 3) a reminder to complete the LiRN survey (deadline extended to Feb 5th). 

  1. Family Law – Bill C-78 Divorce Act Changes: What you need to know

Substantial changes to the Divorce Act come into force on March 1, 2021. Experts from the Family and Children’s Law Team, Department of Justice Canada, are offering free virtual training to provide you with an overview of the amendments.  This course will be helpful to those who need an introduction to the amendments and to those who need a refresher on the eve of implementation.  It is likely to be of interest to lawyers, courts and dispute resolution practitioners, as well as other family justice professionals.

The course will cover the following:

  • Status of Act, objectives
  • Language of parenting, parenting orders
  • Best interests, family violence
  • Relocation: process, substantive law
  • New duties: courts, parents, lawyers
  • Jurisdiction for parenting orders
  • Official Languages amendments
  • Inter-jurisdictional support
  • FOAEA Act  changes
  • Regulations, consequential changes, etc.

Courses Dates and Times:

February 22, 2021 – 11 am to 2 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138501899911

February 23, 2021 – 12 pm to 3 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138514728281

February 24, 2021 – 9 am to 12 pm (French): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138660672805

February 24, 2021 – 1 pm to 4 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138517119433

February 25, 2021 – 11 am to 2 pm (English): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138519163547

February 26, 2021 – 9 am to 12 pm (French): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/138665168251

For Department of Justice employees: A limited number of seats will be reserved for Department of Justice employees in each session. You must also register through People Soft using course code: 017757

Accreditation by Law Society of Ontario: This activity is eligible for up to 3 hours of Substantive content (but ultimately it is the lawyer’s responsibility to determine whether the activity qualifies under the LSO’s CPD Requirement regarding the Substantive content)

**Please also note that the Department of Justice Canada is offering online courses related to Bill C-78. You can find the first one Introduction to Federal Family Law Amendments at: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/cfl-mdf/trai-form/index.html

  1. Legal Aid Ontario – bail coverage increase to address COVID challenges

Legal Aid Ontario is about to announce – probably Tuesday of next week – another COVID emergency measure to increase LAO’s coverage for bail hearings from two to four hours.  The details are set out below.  A  key point for your members is that while it will apply to bail hearings on certificates issued on or after January 1, and counsel are encouraged to conduct bail hearings with those additional hours in mind, counsel should not bill on those matters to obtain the additional hours until we have made the necessary changes to our portal billing system.  These  changes will be in place by February 28, 2021.  For further information, please contact LAO  policy counsel Simone Bern at berns@lao.on.ca

Key Details

  • LAO to double compensation for bail hearings for block fee and tariff matters in recognition of longer bail hearings
  • With the move to virtual hearings during COVID-19, Legal Aid Ontario recognizes bail hearings are taking significantly longer to prepare for and conduct. 
  • To account for this increase in time, LAO will double compensation for bail hearings for block fee and tariff matters on certificates issued on or after January 1, 2021. 
  • This temporary support is part of LAO’s COVID-19 response and not intended as a permanent increase.
  • The increase acknowledges counsel’s important work and dedication to effective representation of LAO clients at bail, and highlights our commitment to vulnerable, Indigenous and racialized clients who are overrepresented in custody and on remand.
  • LAO will make the necessary updates to their billing system to accommodate the change and they encourage counsel to take on bail matters at the new 4-hour rate. However, they ask that counsel not to bill the matters until February 28, 2021 to permit them the time to make the necessary changes to their billing system.
  1. LiRN survey

As you know, LiRN has been conducting a survey re: Law Library use and needs.  They have decided to keep the survey open until February 5th.  If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to complete the survey and encourage your members to do this too!  Here’s the link.

That’s all for now!  Please do share this information with your members,

Katie

Katie W. Robinette                                                                                                  

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Jan. 27, 2021 – 2:06 PM – FOLA’s Weekly Update

Please find attached, this week’s Sector Call Report, which can also be found online here.   Please forward to your members.

Also, during a recent Regional Call, the subject of Law Library Access (non-COVID related) was discussed.  Renfrew County has a formal policy on this and shared it following the meeting. If your Law Library is a small(er) Law Library, you may find this helpful. You can download it here.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.

Jan. 25, 2021 – 5:16 PM – Two Items: New Practice Direction and Form for Remote Hearings During COVID-19 Pandemic (CAO) & CaseLines Training Seminar info

This email contains two updates: 

  • Today, the Court of Appeal for Ontario posted a new COVID-related practice direction:

This practice direction is titled “Practice Direction Concerning Public and Media Remote Observation of Oral Hearings During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The English version of the practice direction can be found here https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/notices/covid-19/practice-direction-observer-access.pdf ; the French version can be found here  https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/fr/notices/covid-19/practice-direction-observer-access.pdf .

The practice direction explains that, unless there is a legal provision or a court order that requires a hearing to be held in camera, members of the public and the media may observe hearings remotely by connecting to the hearing by Zoom or by telephone. The practice direction also explains that those who wish to observe a hearing, so long as it is not in camera, may obtain the Zoom connection information from the parties or their counsel or from the Office of the Registrar.

Finally, the practice direction explains that the Court of Appeal has revised and renamed its counsel slip. It is now called “Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form”. The English version of the Counsel Slip and Hearing Information Form can be found here https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/en/notices/covid-19/ochome.htm ; the French version can be found here . https://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/fr/notices/covid-19/ochome.htm.  This new form asks questions about privacy and publication concerns. It will be required in single judge motions filed on or after Feb. 1, 2021. It will be required in panel motions and appeals heard on or after Feb. 8, 2021.

  • SCJ Rescheduling of today’s CaseLines training:

The SCJ apologizes for the Zoom related technical issues at today’s CaseLines information session and are re-scheduling for tomorrow January 26 at 1 pm

Link: Join zoom session: https://ca01web.zoom.us/j/69924007431?pwd=TU1qMjRQdzRnMzF6MnhnUzErNlR3Zz09

Passcode: 575318

Please forward to your members.

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Jan 22, 2021 – 1:25 PM -Small Claims e-filing through Justice Services Online – Our Reference #: A-2021-019

On January 25, 2021, the Justice Services Online (JSO) platform will be expanded to enable online filing of Small Claims Court (SmCC) documents that cannot currently be filed through Service Ontario’s Small Claims Online platform. Almost 70 additional SmCC documents will be eligible for filing through JSO to make it easier and more convenient for Ontarians to file SmCC documents during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.

By making it possible to submit most court documents online, the Ministry of the Attorney General is increasing efforts to protect the health and safety of Ontarians by reducing the need to attend a courthouse in person. We encourage you to use JSO to avoid unnecessary visits to Ontario courthouses. Users can pay court fees online securely by debit or credit card. Users can also use JSO to request a fee waiver certificate or submit documents with an existing fee waiver certificate.

Getting Access

To access Justice Services Online, users are required to sign in to ONe-key and create a JSO account. ONe-key is a unique electronic credential that allows you to communicate securely with online government services. Setting up your ONe-key ID is fast and simple. Click here to learn more.

The ministry will enhance the service based on user feedback. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback about the service, please contact Peter O’Keefe (Peter.OKeefe@ontario.ca), Director, Project Implementation Branch, Ministry of the Attorney General.

Please share this information with members of your associations

Katie W. Robinette

Executive Director

FOLA.ca

Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law?  CLICK HERE.