Here is my Newmarket Update April 8, 2020.
Multiple preliminary cleaning reports have been delivered to the appropriate staff and final verification is expected shortly. Once fully approved, access to the courthouse by staff will be required a day before operations can restart at the courthouse. A re-opening is now anticipated for some time next week.
In Custody Matters
Daily remands without a substantive purpose are clogging court lists and taking away valuable time from appropriately scheduled matters. Time slots from Central East Corrections are extremely valuable and limited and set Region wide. The 5 minutes used by such remands are preventing matters from completing or being appropriately dealt with and scheduled as quickly as possible. This is an extremely challenging time. It is not business as usual.
Daily remands without planning or purpose are therefore no longer permitted. Counsel and DC are to schedule matters in advance through the office of the trial coordinator at the following email address:
Matters not ready will be adjourned more than 1 day and can be brought back earlier once ready to proceed and properly scheduled. An updated or revised remand protocol is anticipated shortly.
Counsel are also asked to ensure sureties and counsel are available and on time so that matters can proceed time at the scheduled time. To maintain the hearing of matters within a time slot, counsel, duty counsel and crowns are asked to be as efficient as possible, relying on filed documentation over testimony where appropriate.
Norman Panzica, York Director, Criminal Lawyers Association
Here is my update for Newmarket April 7, 2020.
Where contested matters are not completed on the court day and within a time slot, an adjournment is then required to continue and complete the matter. In those circumstances, much like prior to the current crisis, a date is set as quickly as possible accommodating all participants. In the current environment an additional day prior to setting the continuation is normally required to properly schedule the continuation on the basis that all time slots with Central East Corrections are set region wide. If it becomes apparent early on in the proceeding that additional time is or likely will be required, it is suggested that the hearing be paused and contact made with the trial coordinator who will attempt to schedule the continuation next calendar court date.
Court Closure /Wash Court
Cleaning on the entire building is under way including all floors and the exterior pod. Updates are anticipated late Wednesday or Thursday. Out of an abundance of caution this weekend's wash court will take place in Barrie commencing Friday given the Easter weekend.
These orders continue to be made by jurists and are normally done at the courthouse. However time is being given to individuals post conviction and sentence to comply with these orders given the current environment.
Police are developing and implementing digital signatures technology allowing police officers to digitally sign informations. This capability is not yet universal for all police officers and services but is anticipated shortly.
The CC requires these be done in person with a usual turnaround time of approximately 30 days. Police have been attending courthouses in Oshawa and Barrie which are available when required.
Sincerely, Norman Panzica, York Director, Criminal Lawyers Association
April 6, 2020
In an effort to keep real estate lawyers updated with the ever-changing situation, we have further information to be shared with the real estate lawyers in your association.
The situation is constantly evolving, and we are working to get you timely and accurate information as best we can.
We are pleased to report there have been no new developments or changes.
It is important to be mindful that you MUST continue to verify your client’s identity in accordance with ever changing rules. You must not only follow the LSO guidelines here but you must also be sure to examine the instructions provided by your lender some of whom seem to be maintaining a position that ID verification must be “in person”.
The Law Society has confirmed that a driver’s licence that expired on or after March 1, 2020 can be used as valid ID. Further details are available on the Law Society’s website here.
Wire transfers are becoming more and more common as a way of exchanging funds on closing; however, we continue to hear reliable accounts of wire transfers being unable to be completed on the same day due to a variety of factors. FOLA and others are working on encouraging the banks and credit unions to find a way to ensure timely completion of wire transfers. If you are intending to use a wire transfer you should have a discussion with the lawyer acting on the other side as to how a delay within the system will be handled.
Some banks are charging a fee to send or receive a wire, and we have received questions from many lawyers about who is responsible for the payment of these fees. The simplest solution is for each lawyer to be responsible for the fees charged by their financial institution for sending or reeving a wire. There is no prescribed rule about this. Some lawyers have accounts where no such fees are payable. The fees themselves can vary from bank to bank. Wiring fees are disbursements incurred in connection with the transaction. We recommend that you confirm the expectation with the lawyer on the other side of the transaction prior to requesting or initiating a wire transfer to avoid holding up closing once the funds have been received.
This is not yet a possibility, but we are hearing of positive developments that MAY lead to such a service becoming available.
Lawyer Done Deal has now launched a Remote Signing Portal which is available to all lawyers free of charge. It allows lawyers to post documents to clients, host virtual closing meetings and view client signing activity. You may wish to consider it as an option if you are engaging in remote signing.
More detail can be found here.
If and when we receive further information of interest to the real estate bar, we will pass it along.
Stay up to date with FOLA’s real estate information at https://fola.ca/real-estate-law.
Merredith MacLennan and Eldon Horner
FOLA Real Estate Co-Chairs
Please note: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and is not intended to provide legal advice.
Here is my update for Newmarket as of April 6, 2020.
COVID 19 Incident Reporting Protocol
The Ministry has employed an updated communicable disease reporting protocol during this health crisis. The reporting forms are to be completed where incidents are made known and delivered accordingly for notification and tracking purposes.
Same Day Traversals
There is an effort to accommodate same day traversals requests where same is possible. All such requests must go through the trial coordinator who will then contact Central East Corrections to attempt to facilitate the traversal. The preference remains that the matter be adjourned 1 day where possible.
Bail Hearings and Scheduling
All bail hearings whether consent releases or contested matters must be scheduled through the trial coordinator in advance. Counsel are being asked to provide accurate time estimates similar to setting trial dates.
Counsel are also asked to provide Duty Counsel with clear and detailed instructions when adjourning matters. They are to provide accurate time estimates, including the number of witnesses anticipated and whether an interpreter is required, when adjourning in custody matters to the next date. The time slots from Central East Corrections are set Region wide and are valuable. Wasted or lost time resulting from insufficient information and preparation has a direct negative impact on those persons in custody.
A position on surety approval has come from the office of the Chief Justice of Ontario Court of Justice. It is their view that surety signatures are not required on bail and release documents. However a requirement for surety signatures will be left up to individual jurists, who shall then notify the court clerk if they are insisting on signatures.
Sureties continue to attend personally at the courthouse where they remain outside or in the foyer as directed by York Regional Police. The sureties complete and sign the required forms and release documents from that location in addition to calling into the courtroom.
Temporary Court Locations
Criminal court matters are being conducted at the Richmond Hill Small Claims Court, 855 Major Mackenzie, Richmond Hill. All civil and family matters at the Markham filing office, 8500 Leslie Street in Markham.
Access to Court Informations
As advised there is no access to informations currently housed at the 50 Eagle Street Courthouse. As a result judicial officers are working from dockets and getting assistance from scope notes and documents. Paperwork is entailed to jurists for digital signature and then returned. Existing court informations will be updated when building access is permitted.
The Law Society of Ontario continues to release on-demand CPD programs to assist lawyers during this time. "LSO Assists" are free, on-demand webcasts. Topics include Conducting a Paperless Hearing in Family Law, How to Run a Home-Based Practice, Understanding the World of Electronic Documents, and Working Virtually: Leveling the Playing Field with Big Firms. All of the programs can be accessed through the link on the Members Only Page. Resetting your password is simple if you have forgotten it or never had one.
Here is my update as of April 4, 2020 from our weekend conference call.
The Facilities Management Branch advises that they are conducting an enhanced cleaning of the courthouse commencing today and is expected to be completed on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. An additional two days is then anticipated to verify air quality. A re-opening of the courthouse is therefore expected Thursday April's 9, 2020. This cleaning protocol is consistent with that followed by other courthouses.
Difficulties may arise with conduct of court proceedings over the next few days. Court informations cannot be retrieved since no one can physically enter the building until cleaned and verified. The protocol will be for this time, to work off courtroom dockets and scope access, with an update to the paperwork once the building is cleared to be accessed by staff. Jurists will be provided with additional endorsement pages along with the dockets which will be attached to the paper informations once access to the courthouse is permitted.
Courts will run this week entirely by teleconference at the locations indicated in my update Friday, April 3, 2020. Updates to ICON will be inputted remotely by staff with the exception of new Informations which do not have assigned ICON numbers.
Newmarket Courtroom Call In Numbers were emailed to you. They are also posted on the Members Only Page.
I anticipate a further update on Monday morning.
Here is my Newmarket OCJ update for April 3, 2020.
The Newmarket Courthouse is closed today. I have included the call in numbers and court closure notice below.
The Newmarket Courthouse has been closed today to address cleaning and air quality concerns. The courthouse will remain closed until an enhanced cleaning can be completed.
On April 2nd, 2020, the ministry was advised that an individual, who works in the courthouse and last worked on March 31, 2020, began to feel ill at work. The individual has not returned since and was advised by Public Health to self-isolate.
Although the Newmarket courthouse receives enhanced cleaning on a regular basis, the courthouse is closed to permit a thorough cleaning to be completed. The courthouse will remain closed until confirmation of both appropriate cleaning and air quality is provided. The Ministry is being asked to assist in this verification.
Signs are posted on the building with alternative court locations and contact email information. Court services available by email.
As usual, and particularly today, patience from all is requested. There were incredible and significant efforts employed overnight to shift facilities and resources to permit a functioning and available court process for today.
The bail vettor continues to be Jeffrey Costain. He can be reached by emial at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The resolution crown this morning and likely to continue next week is LeeAnne McCallum. She can be reached at: LeeAnne.email@example.com.
Newmarket Call In Numbers/Codes were emailed to all criminal lawyers. They can also be viewed on the Members Only page of this website.
Justice partners, members of the bar and media,
To protect all court users during the COVID-19 crisis, all but urgent hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) were suspended, effective March 17, 2020. Today, Chief Justice Morawetz and all eight Regional Senior Justices issued new Notices to the Profession. They expand the SCJ’s virtual court operations in each region, effective April 6, 2020.
Attached are two Provincial Notices to the Profession from Chief Justice Morawetz (Criminal and Civil/Family). They address a variety of issues including emailing material to the court, service by email, media access to court proceedings, and gowning. They include links to the eight Regional Notices to the Profession. The eight Regional Notices identify which matters may be heard in each region, and the process to have a matter heard.
Also attached is a memo from the Office of the Chief Justice that provides a summary of the Notices to the Profession issued today, for information purposes only.
All SCJ Notices to the Profession relating to COVID-19 may be accessed at: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/ or on FOLA’s website.
Katie W. Robinette, Executive Director, FOLA.ca, 647-280-9340
Need answers to COVID-19 issues regarding the practice of law? CLICK HERE.
Here is my Newmarket Update for April 2, 2020.
There is a desire to improve the efficiency of bail hearings and reduce court time required for those hearings. To assist with efficiency and speed, the assigned bail vettor is Jeff Costain: Jeffrey.Costain@ontario.ca for the remainder of this week and for next week.
Counsel are also asked to be efficient as possible and strive to stay within the allotted time slot. Resources as precious as are time slots. All participants need to be as efficient and prepared as possible and accurate when making time estimates. Counsel should determine circumstances where sureties require interpreters and include additional time in the time slot. The goal is to complete hearings within the allotted time slot, including time for jurist to consider and rule on contested matters.
With respect to bail positions the Crown has been making all concessions possible, but must follow their directive namely, that public safety remains paramount. Crown will keep an eye on contested matters so that they can be addressed as efficiently as possible. Efforts are ongoing by all to determine as early as possible which matters require more time and adjust the scheduling accordingly.
Access To Law Library
There is no issue taken at this time with access to law libraries provided appropriate social distancing is applied by users.
In Custody Time Slots - New Arrests
York Regional Police have been attempting to use the 11am to 1 pm time slot to address new arrests as this is the time when Central East is available. Difficulties are occurring based on the time often required by Duty counsel to make appropriate inquires, such as bail program and sureties, prior to properly address new arrests. New arrests have on occasion been addressed later in day when possible and necessary, in order that those inquires can be made and the matter can be properly addressed. Attempts are being made in concert with police to open more afternoon slots for new matters than are new and require additional time to make necessary inquiries prior to being addressed appropriately.
There is a daily resolution crown available by email. Today is LeeAnne McCallum LeeAnne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone with an existing fingerprint date at the courthouse is still not required to attend. With respect to new matters fingerprints are being taken at 2 District and not at the courthouse.
York Director, Criminal Lawyers Association
Attached is our third weekly update re: COVID-19 & the legal profession. As a reminder, for the past two weeks, our calls with the Courts, MAG, the LSO, and other provincial law associations were daily. As of this week, these calls are weekly occurrences and take place on Wednesday mornings. As such, you will be getting ONLY the weekly updates which are also posted on our website here.
Also, a document with some responses from the LSO to questions from members that related to the Law Society was emailed to you today. This is not on our website.
All the best, Katie W. Robinette, Executive Director, FOLA.ca, 647-280-9340
York Region Law Association 50 Eagle St W, 3rd Floor Newmarket ON L3Y 6B1 905-895-2018 / 1-866-221-8864