Criminal Court Process in Ontario During COVID-19 Pandemic – What You Need To Know

Criminal Court Process in Ontario During COVID-19 Pandemic – What You Need To Know

Criminal courts have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario and Canada-wide.    From criminal lawyers and Crown Attorneys to accused individuals and witnesses, everyone has had to adapt to the world as we know it, were in person interaction has to be limited to curb the spread of the virus.

Criminal defence lawyers in Toronto and in every city in which the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice operates are consistently learning as we go, with changes being made on the fly sometimes.  Unrepresented parties face bigger challenges trying to navigate the process.  Some important pieces of information for navigating the criminal court process include the following:

[1] Zoom Court Links

Almost every city in Ontario requires individuals to appear for the case management type court dates (like a first appearance) by way of Zoom, rather than in person.  Sometimes, police forces fail to provide the Zoom details as to how to connect.  To access these links, click this link, which will take you to the Ontario Court of Justice webpage.  Scroll down until you see the list of cities in Ontario – each of which has a PDF file to download.  Downloading these files will get you the required Zoom information.

[2] Court Contact Information

Reaching out to individual courthouses is more difficult now, as people are working remotely in many offices.  At times, therefore, you may be unable to reach admin staff by phone.  For a list of the e-mail addresses associated with each Ontario Court of Justice, click this link.   For a more detailed list of contact info, including Crown Attorney offices, click this link.

[3] Corresponding with the Crown

Unrepresented individuals need to obtain disclosure in order to move their matter forward and to prepare a defence.  Click this link to locate the Crown Attorney e-mail addresses for each courthouse.  Usually, a disclosure request can be submitted by e-mail to the virtual Crown inboxes.

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