MAG: Ministry deploys additional enhancements to its Justice Services Online (JSO platform) that will be deployed May 30, 2022.
May 9, 2022
The additional enhancements will include added security for the My Account page and for the Civil Submissions Online (CSO), Family Submissions Online and SCCSO portals, staff can now identify minor deficiencies in a document that is accepted for filing and/or issuance through a Notice of Deficiency and share this notice with presiding judicial officers
MAG: Notice Provided re Electronic Court Documents: Electronic Signatures and Submissions through Online Filing Portals
February 25, 2022
The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Services Division has released a Notice to the Public and Profession regarding Electronic Court Documents: Electronic Signatures and Submissions through Online Filing Portals. The Notice outlines electronic methods of submitting documents, acceptable formats of electronic documents, where an electronic signature cannot be used, judicial consideration of electronic signature and how to provide submissions through online filing portals
February 18, 2022
As Ontario cautiously and gradually eases public health measures, the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) has advised they may also be making some changes to the COVID-19 preventative measures currently in place in courthouses.
In consultation with advisors, MAG is reviewing the existing preventative measures in place within operating court locations to determine the appropriate measures moving forward. They will be finalizing their plan, in line with the provincial re-opening plan and current health and safety advice and will communicate further details in the coming weeks.
In addition to these changes, the ministry is preparing to reopen road-access satellite court locations, targeting for mid-April. (Note that fly-in satellite court locations will require further engagement before they can reopen.)
In advance of in-person proceedings resuming in these locations, the ministry will engage with Joint Health and Safety Committees and undertake various readiness activities including cleaning and outfitting the spaces with any necessary health and safety measures. Satellite courts will be outfitted with current—as at the time of re-opening—required health and safety measures before opening, consistent with any changes being made in operating court locations.
MAG: Ontario Government Announces $65M over 5 years for Courtroom Technology
February 10, 2022
The province announced an investment of $65M over 5 years to ensure more courtrooms across the province are equipped with technology to enable access to video and audio hearings. The investment is part of the governments’ Justice Accelerated Strategy, which aims to ensure technology is more widely available across the province to help speed up access to hearings and reduce the need for in-person visits. For more information, see the government press release.
MAG: Province to Enable Police Officers to File Charges Electronically in Western Region
February 9, 2022
The Ontario government is expanding the use of the eIntake digital platform in courthouses across the western region of the province. The eIntake system allows police officers to file charges electronically and allows Justices of the Peace to enter their decisions and sign documents digitally, as well as request additional information from the police online. The eIntake system will be available in all courthouses across the western region of the province, including London, Kitchener and Owen Sound by February 23, 2022. For more information, please visit the MAG website.
As of February 1, filing of French documents will be available in all Ontario courthouses. The amendment to the Courts of Justice Act, capturing the change, can be found in both French and English.
MAG: Justice Services Online Enhancements
Janary 31, 2022
The Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) has advised it will be releasing additional enhancements to its Justice Services Online (JSO) platform.
The following enhancements will be deployed on February 14, 2022:
- Time sensitive documents will be flagged in the Civil Submissions Online (CSO), Family Submissions Online (FSO) and the Small Claims Court Submissions Online (SCCSO) portals. Filers will be asked to identify time sensitive submissions which will be flagged for staff. This new feature will help staff prioritize time sensitive filings and ensure that such submissions are reviewed in advance of a closely approaching court date or deadline. Members of the legal community are encouraged to submit their documents well in advance of the deadline to ensure staff have sufficient time for review. The addition of the “Time Sensitive” column will provide an opportunity to eventually move more filings online and reduce the need for email filings.
- Filers will have the option to upload a separate document for proof of income where the submission includes a fee waiver request. Separately uploaded proof of income documents will be automatically purged after the submission is accepted or rejected.
- Accessibility upgrades will be made to allow documents to be submitted in Word (.docx) format. Previously, only PDF documents were accepted. Instructional text with additional information about compatible browsers will also be included.
- A list of all existing filed documents in a family case will be provided to filers who have submitted documents through FSO. The list will be sent to filers as an attachment to the auto-generated email notice of the accepted submission and will be identical in format to the case history report currently available in FRANK.
- French names of processed documents will be included in the auto generated notices of acceptance or rejection of a submission for filing and/or issuance in FSO, CSO and SCCSO.
MAG: Regulation filed to amend court rules and forms for civil proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice
January 21, 2022
On January 21, 2022, a regulation was filed to amend the court rules and forms for civil proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice: O. Reg. 18/22, amending the Rules of Civil Procedure.
This regulation makes amendments regarding the service of experts’ reports, the scheduling of pre-trial conferences, the test for leave to admit evidence at trial, and other related provisions.
It introduces one new rule, makes amendments to a further twelve rules, and creates one new form.
The rule amendments include:
- introducing a new subrule to rule 50.02 requiring the pre-trial conference in every action to be held no more than 120 and no fewer than 30 days before the date when trial is scheduled to begin or the first day of the sitting during which the trial is expected to be held.
- creating a new rule 50.03.1 to require every party to an action to certify whether they intend to rely on expert evidence at trial and, if so, whether they have served their experts’ reports within the time permitted under the rules;
- amending rule 50.08 to require the judge or associate judge presiding at the pre-trial conference to produce a pre-trial conference report in every case;
- adding a new subrule to rule 50.12 to permit the judge or associate judge presiding at the pre-trial conference to order costs payable immediately if they determine that the conference was unproductive for reasons related to a party’s conduct;
- revising the test in rule 53.08 for leave to admit evidence following a failure to respect the rules, to require the party seeking leave to satisfy the judge that there was a reasonable explanation for the failure and that granting leave would not cause prejudice to the opposing party that could not be compensated for through costs or an adjournment, nor cause undue delay in the conduct of the trial; and
- making various consequential amendments and housekeeping amendments.
A new Form 50A, Certificate of Readiness, is introduced. Every party to an action will be required to serve and file this form at least 30 days before the pre-trial conference to indicate the status of their experts’ reports (if any).
A summary of the regulation is available on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry at:
Amendment to Reg. 194 under the Courts of Justice Act (Rules of Civil Procedure) (ontariocanada.com)
The amendments and new form will come into force on March 31, 2022.
MAG: Guide and Summary Table re Estate Form and Rule Changes
December 3, 2021
MAG Court Services Division has provided a guide and summary table respecting court rules changes that govern applying for probate, which take effect January 1, 2022. The rule and form changes are summarized on the Ontario Regulatory Registry website.
A table comparing the current and new forms and rules and describing the changes can be found here.
The new estate forms will be required for probate applications as of January 1, 2022. The forms can already be accessed online.
After January 1st, the old estate court forms will not be accepted for filing with two exceptions: Affidavits of Execution of Will or Codicil (74.8) and Affidavits of Condition of Will or Codicil (74.10).
The Ministry’s online guide to probate has been updated to provide guidance on the form and rule changes.
MAG Update: Justice Services Online Enhancements
The Ministry of the Attorney General has released additional enhancements to its Justice Services Online (JSO) platform. One of the changes, based on OBA advocacy on behalf of our members, is the addition of a document code allowing for the use of memos to court staff. This will allow lawyers to explain proactively to staff any rules or reasoning for the filing or reference any prior conversations with counter staff that will help facilitate the filing and avoid any unnecessary rejections. Following these changes, if you have a filing rejected in error, please let us know at email@example.com as we are continuing to take concerns and solutions to MAG to ensure the system serves the needs of our members. More information on the document code and other JSO enhancements are noted below.
- A “Memo to Court Staff Regarding a Submission” document code will be included in the Family Submissions Online (FSO), the Civil Submissions Online (CSO) and the Small Claims Court Submissions Online (SCCSO) portals.
The purpose of the memo is to provide court staff with additional information when processing the document(s).
The memo to court staff is akin to covering letters received with documents that are mailed in for filing or with instructions that filers give staff at the counter. In addition, the memo may also be used when documents are being resubmitted after being rejected. This is expected to reduce the number of subsequent rejections.
- Several other housekeeping updates are also being made to all JSO portals, including:
- Civil Claims Online (CCO): allows a filer to discontinue an action on consent without having to upload an order and permits filings for cases with Simplified Rule (SR) and Estates (ES) case number extensions.
- SCCSO: provides a new document code “Form 11B: Default Judgment (re-submission, fee already paid)”.
UPDATE: MAG Guidebook COVID-19 - Recommended Precautionary Measures for Resuming Court Operations
The Ministry of the Attorney General has released an updated version of the Guidebook: COVID-19 Recommended Precautionary Measures for Resuming Court Operations, available in English and French.
KEY CHANGES INCLUDE:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Limited changes for court staff.
- Masks can now be temporarily removed when in a cubicle-style workspace where the partition wall is of a sufficient height to act as a barrier between employees when they are both seated and standing, or in an open concept environment where no other person is present.
Monitoring & Reporting of HVAC Data
- Updated to reflect Infrastructure Ontario's (IO) new HVAC web-based portal.
- Temperature, relative humidity and CO2 readings are uploaded to a cloud-based website where ministry staff, judiciary, and justice sector partners can access up-to-date daily readings independently, ask questions directly to IO, download relevant reports, and share the information with their staff, members, or colleagues.
- This new section speaks to the vaccination requirements that are now in place for:
- Justice sector partners and members of the public (no requirement);
- Jurors (in line with Order from the Superior Court of Justice that all jurors must be vaccinated); and
- Ontario Public Service Employees (in line with the OPS COVID-19 Safe Workplace Directive).
MAG Guidebook COVID-19: Recommended Precautionary Measures for Resuming Court Operations – Version 5
MAG has provided an updated Guidebook for Recommended Precautionary Measures for Resuming Court Operations. The Guidebook is available on Ontario.ca, in both English and French, and can be accessed here: English and French.
The key changes in Version 5 of the Guidebook include:
Face Coverings (page 16)
- To align ministry face covering and PPE policy with updated Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) guidance.
Collection of Contact Information (page 27)
- Entrance personnel will ask individuals attending a courthouse to volunteer their name and contact information upon entry.
Jury Events (page 35)
- Additional information about jury recovery has been provided including an overview of the Jury Management Manual.
Accessibility Review (throughout)
- The ministry’s Diversity Inclusion and Accessibility Office (DIAO) has reviewed the document to ensure information is provided regarding how the ministry has maintained its commitment to accessibility throughout recovery.
MAG Notice Regarding Changes to Family Law Rules
The Ministry of the Attorney General has issued a Notice to the Profession regarding changes to the Family Law Rules with respect to court forms. The following changes will take effect on September 1, 2020:
- Form 15: Motions to Change has been amended.
- Form 15B: Response to Motion to Change has been amended.
- Form 15A: Change Information Form has been revoked.
The Court will continue to accept old versions of Forms 15 and 15B during a brief grace period until December 1, 2020.
MAG's SCJ Case Search Tool
The Ministry of the Attorney General’s online tool for searching information about criminal and civil matters in the Superior Court of Justice is now available here.
MAG provided guidance on filing material, including the hours of operation at court counters starting Monday. Electronic filing, as outlined in the notice, continues to be strongly encouraged.
Courthouse Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
MAG HVAC Update (July 14) | MAG Reoccupancy Letter (July 3) | MAG Response to scientific and technical request (June 30)
This additional resource has been created with our staff in mind to provide information and guidance in preparation for the resumption of in-person court operations.
Court Entrance Screening Tool
As many of you will know, we have identified a COVID-19 screening tool which all persons who enter a courthouse, including staff and judiciary, will need to complete. This protocol was implemented following a recommendation made in the site assessments and is in alignment with guidance provided by Public Health Ontario. The screening tool will be available for completion online, in paper-based format, and verbally where required.
Individuals who need to attend court can complete the screening assessment:
- In advance of arriving at court by following this URL link (which will be live on July 6, 2020), and by completing the questionnaire (recommended method). The appropriate links are provided below:
- Upon arriving at the courthouse, by using their mobile device to scan a Quick Response Code (QR-Code) which will lead people to complete the questionnaire.
- At the courthouse, completing a paper-based or verbal screening, if required.
All courthouse visitors will be required to complete this screening process and confirm their results with designated screening personnel as they enter the courthouse. Individuals who are deemed inadmissible through the screening will be redirected to alternative processes. Individuals should keep their result handy for the day, to facilitate exit and re-entry to the courthouse without having to complete the questionnaire multiple times. While an individual’s answers to the screening questions will inform the result, the screening tool does not retain any personal information.