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Nova Scotia Supreme Court extending essential services model

Monday, January 10, 2022 @ 3:24 PM | By Terry Davidson


Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court is once again extending its use of a “modified essential services model” in response to the continued spread of COVID-19 in that province.

The essential services model, which applies to all Supreme Court locations, will now run until Jan. 21, according to a notice from the court, which pointed to the “emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant” as a driver behind the decision.

This is the second time the model has been extended.

The court adopted the model on Dec. 17 following outbreaks in the province. It was initially to run until Jan. 4, but as numbers continued to rise, it was extended to Jan. 14.

“Under a modified essential services model, in-person proceedings in the Supreme Court are limited to those deemed urgent or essential by a judge,” states the latest notice, released on Jan. 10. “Counsel and other court participants are reminded that mandatory masking and physical distancing measures are in effect for any urgent court matter that proceeds in-person.”

Any non-urgent matters able to be held by videoconference or telephone — probate and bankruptcy proceedings, for example — will be allowed to proceed provided there is adequate staff and equipment.

The notice calls these “temporary measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia” and that they will be “regularly evaluated” as the situation evolves.

On Jan. 9, Nova Scotia’s government reported 837 new cases of the virus, which seems to have touched most parts of the province: its Central Zone accounted for the lion’s share, at 541, while 133 cases were found in the Eastern Zone, 90 in the Northern Zone and 73 in the Western Zone.  

“Because of a spike in testing and positive cases, public health is experiencing delays in follow-up,” stated a news release from that day. “All people who test positive should contact their close contacts. Public health is prioritizing contact tracing in long-term care, health-care facilities, correctional facilities, shelters and other group settings.”

On Jan. 8, the province reported 1,145 new cases. On Jan. 7, there were 678 new cases and a report on the death of a woman in her 80s. At the time, it could not be confirmed if she had the omicron variant, but it was noted she had been hospitalized “during the Omicron wave.”

Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court joins various courts across Canada in shifting operations to deal with the spread of COVID-19 and the omicron variant.  

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily, please contact Terry Davidson at t.davidson@lexisnexis.ca or call 905-415-5899.