Focus On

Ontario delays reopening of some courthouses

Monday, September 14, 2020 @ 1:20 PM | By John Schofield


Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General is delaying the resumption of in-person criminal trials and preliminary inquiries at courthouses in Stratford, Woodstock, Orillia and Gore Bay until proper COVID-19 protections are in place. In-person family law matters will also be delayed in Stratford, Woodstock and Gore Bay.

The in-person proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice were due to resume at those locations on Sept. 14 as part of a phased in reopening plan, but “the Ministry has advised that it is not satisfied that all of the necessary health and safety measures are in place …” according to a notice to the profession and the public from the Ontario Court of Justice.

Instead, all cases scheduled for an in-person trial or preliminary hearing the week of Sept. 14 at those locations will be addressed at each location’s COVID-19 Trial Readiness Court, with counsel and accused appearing by videoconference or audioconference.

In-person family matters that were scheduled for Stratford, Woodstock or Gore Bay may proceed using remote technology, and the court will contact participants to make arrangements, according to a separate notice to the profession and public.

Other courthouse locations that were scheduled to reopen Sept. 14, including Coburg, Simcoe, Welland, Cochrane, Fort Frances and Walkerton, are not affected.