COVID-19

Closures Affecting Courts and Workplace Tribunals in Atlantic Canada – Updated October 16/20

Courts and workplace tribunals in Atlantic Canada have taken preventative measures in response to COVID-19.

NOVA SCOTIA

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

  • All hearings scheduled for the May/June term have been adjourned and all filing deadlines associated with those matters have been suspended
  • Non-urgent motions in Chambers are now being accepted and will be heard by phone and video
  • Time periods for commencing appeals under Civil Procedure Rules 90.13(3) and 90.14 have been suspended for the period from March 26, 2020 to June 26, 2020
  • Fall Term matters will proceed in one of four formats: 1) written materials only; 2) teleconference or video conference; 3) in-person attendance; or 4) combination of in-person and remote participation. The panel of justices will review the matter and materials filed and decide which format will apply and parties will be contacted

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

  • Jury trials have been suspended until September 8, 2020
  • Normal filing processes for filing court documents have resumed  
  • Non-urgent in-person hearings are permitted  
  • Virtual court hearings meeting certain criteria continue and are now available across the province

Nova Scotia Provincial Court

  • Access will be restricted to only those persons necessary to the proceedings before the Court
  • Individuals are advised not to attend court in person unless the matter related to an in-custody or urgent criminal or family law or child/adult protection matter
  • In-person hearings have been expanded to include a limited number of trials and preliminary inquiries for accused individuals not in custody
  • Registry of Motor Vehicles has suspended issuing certificates of default for a 90-day period effective May 16, 2020
  • Service Nova Scotia has suspended issuing certificates of default for non-payment of fines related to criminal conviction for a 90-day period effective May 20, 2020
  • New procedure implemented for consent variation of release conditions for accused individuals
  • New process implemented for the resolution of non-urgent matters
  • All pre-trial and resolution conferences will be held by phone
  • Fines can be paid online and payment deadlines have been extended a further 90 days from the original date on the ticket
  • Some Night Court matters in Halifax will be proceeding to trial in person effective September 1, 2020

Nova Scotia Small Claims Court

  • Non-urgent filings will be accepted by mail or in-person via drop boxes
  • Adjudicators will hear all matters by telephone or will be adjourned until they can be heard in-person
  • Any new claims issued that were not served prior to March 19, 2020 must be reissued by the Court

Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board

  • All in-person services have been suspended but in-person PMI assessments are permitted by appointment only

Nova Scotia Labour Board

  • Any application or appeal with a statutory timeframe may be filed electronically
  • All documents must be filed by email until further notice

Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

  • Closed to in-person visits. All inquiries can be made via email or by phone
NEW BRUNSWICK

New Brunswick Court of Appeal

  • Full docket
  • Counter service by appointment only
  • E-filing and fax filing permitted
  • Motions and hearings heard by phone unless determined otherwise

New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench

  • Jury trials have resumed
  • Filing in accordance with the New Brunswick Rules of Court have  resumed
  • Counter service by appointment only

New Brunswick Provincial Court

  • Full docket
  • Counter service by appointment only

Small Claims Court of New Brunswick

  • Hearings have resumed
  • Filing in accordance with the Small Claims Act Regulation has resumed

WorkSafeNB

  • Closed to visitors

New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board

  • Offices have reopened for regular office hours

New Brunswick Human Rights Commission

  • Complaints can be filed online
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Court of Appeal of Newfoundland & Labrador

  • Matters are being heard in-person so long as physical distancing can be maintained as well as by videoconference
  • The Court of Appeal Registry is open from 9:00am-12:30pm and 2:00pm -4:00pm;
  • All documents must be filed electronically or by fax, as well as physical copies, payment of fees is postponed and will be collected on resumption of normal operations
  • Court is open for parties to attend on a scheduled basis
  • Members of the public wishing to attend the hearing of a matter must make a request to attend at least 48 hours prior to the hearing
  • Anyone attending Court must wear a mask, sanitize hands and follow directions of a Sheriff’s Officer

Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador

  • Payment of fees is postponed and will be collected on resumption of normal operations
  • Any urgent appearance or hearings will be conducted in writing, by phone or videoconference unless in-person  hearing/appearance is necessary
  • All periods contained in the Rules of the Supreme Court have been extended until the date when Court resumes normal operations. This does not apply to filing deadlines or periods set by other legislation
  • Some criminal and civil proceedings are being held via audio and/or video-link
  • Normal filing processes have resumed
  • Some in-person hearings have resumed. Only participants to a proceeding, counsel for the parties, one support person per party and members of the media are permitted to attend in-person and must complete an In-Person Appearance and COVID-19 Questionnaire at least 5 business days in advance of the appearance
  • Registry has reopened to the public by appointment only
  • Court attendees are expected to bring their own masks
  • Jury trials have resumed

Provincial Court of Newfoundland & Labrador

  • All trials and appearances, with some exceptions, are suspended
  • All matters that can be efficiently and effectively presented to the Court without the need for the physical presence of any person will be accepted upon receipt of permission from the Court
  • Applications to hear more cases now listed on the dockets are being accepted
  • All other cases scheduled for adjudication between March 16, 2020 and June 26, 2020 will be advanced by 15 weeks
  • Traffic Court matters scheduled for September will not be proceeding at this time
  • Traffic Court matters scheduled for October and November 2020 will

WorkplaceNL

  • In-person services have been  suspended until further notice

Newfoundland & Labrador Human Rights Commission

  • Walk-in services are no longer available and visitor access is by appointment only
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal

  • Matters are proceeding by telephone or video conference with some in-person hearings subject to physical distancing and COVID-19 protocols
  • Filing of documents is limited and documents may be filed via email or fax

Prince Edward Island Supreme Court

  • Non-urgent matters are proceeding
  • Filing of documents is limited and documents may be filed via email or fax

Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island

  • Access will be limited to only those individuals who are required to be present for urgent matters

Prince Edward Island Workers’ Compensation Board

  • Closed until further notice with essential visits by appointment only

Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission

  • In-person meetings by appointment only
  • Documents may be filed by email or fax until further notice

Prince Edward Island Labour and Industrial Relations Board

  • Closed until further notice

Please contact the applicable court or workplace tribunal for more information. 

We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

Print article

More insights

COVID-19 Employer Update Webinars

Our complimentary webinars address the practical and legal issues for Canadian employers arising from the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

View our Webinars