COVID-19

Closures Affecting Courts and Workplace Tribunals in Atlantic Canada – Updated May 13/20

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

NOVA SCOTIA

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

  • All sittings scheduled for March and April are adjourned, unless they must proceed due to exceptional circumstances
  • Chambers matters are proceeding by phone
  • All hearings scheduled for the May/June term are adjourned and all filing deadlines associated with those matters are suspended.
  • Time periods for commencing appeals under Civil Procedure Rules 90.13(3) and 90.14 will be suspended for the period from March 26, 2020 to June 26, 2020.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court

  • Jury trials are suspended until September 8, 2020
  • Pre-trial conferences and Chambers matters are being conducted by phone
  • All proceedings will be limited to those that are deemed urgent or essential until further notice
  • Urgent or essential matters may be dealt with by phone or videoconferencing
  • Hard copies of documents are no longer accepted and all parties must email or fax documents for filing and original copies of all court documents provided electronically must be filed within 14 business days of the Court resuming normal operations
  • Filing deadlines outlined in the Civil Procedure Rules for civil and family matters in the General Division are suspended until the further notice unless a judge indicates otherwise. The suspension period is retroactive to March 19, 2020.
  • Personal service may be effected by email in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules for civil and family matters so long as certain conditions are met
  • Non-urgent Motions by correspondence, non-urgent Applications where all parties and the judge agree that the matter can be dealt with solely in writing, uncontested divorces, and consent orders will now be accepted for filing
  • General Chambers matters in Halifax will proceed by telephone (effective May 4, 2020)
  • Virtual court hearings and settlement conferences for some non-urgent matters will proceed for matters in Halifax

Nova Scotia Provincial Court

  • Access will be restricted to only those persons necessary to the proceedings before the Court
  • Efforts are being made to schedule and adjourn matters until after May 31, 2020
  • 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
  • Effective June 1, 2020, some custody trials and preliminary inquiries will proceed in-person where public health directives can be followed
  • Fine payment deadlines have been extended 90 days beyond existing due dates and the Registry of Motor Vehicles will  suspend issuing certificates of default for a 60-day period
  • 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

Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia

  • All matters are adjourned to June

Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board

  • All in-person hearings for March and April are postponed with written and phone hearings being offered as alternative options
  • All in-person services have been suspended
  • All employer premium payments will be deferred for 3 months and late fees and interest will not be charged until further notice

Nova Scotia Labour Board

  • In-person hearings, mediations, case management conference and interviewed for April and May will not be held
  • Any application or appeal with a statutory timeframe may be filed electronically
  • New applications for certification, revocation or amendments will not be processed until May 1, 2020
  • All documents must be filed by email until further notice
NEW BRUNSWICK

New Brunswick Court of Appeal

  • Matters have been adjourned or will be heard by other means
  • Documents may be filed by email, fax, mail or courier
  • Certain filing deadlines have been extended

New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench

  • Jury trials will resume August 15, 2020
  • All trials are adjourned until May 29, 2020 with some exceptions
  • All matters currently on the docket for the period of June 1, 2020 forward, will proceed as currently scheduled
  • In-person case management will resume as of June 1, 2020
  • All non-essential or non-urgent matters are adjourned until further notice
  • Chambers matters will proceed
  • Settlement conferences will proceed by telephone
  • Documents may be filed by mail, courier, fax or electronic filing by email
  • Filing fees may be paid by credit card over the phone

New Brunswick Provincial Court

  • All trials and preliminary inquiries are adjourned except for urgent matters
  • Other matters may proceed by video or audio conferencing

Small Claims Court of New Brunswick

  • Hearings will resume September 1, 2020

WorkSafeNB

  • Closed to visitors
  • All premiums for businesses will be deferred for 3 months

New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board

  • Offices will reopen regular office hours on May 19, 2020
  • All filings should be done electronically

New Brunswick Human Rights Commission

  • All regular activities of the Commission are suspended until further notice
  • Complaints can be filed online
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Court of Appeal of Newfoundland & Labrador

  • Closed to the public except for counsel, parties and witnesses until March 19, 2020
  • Appeals scheduled for May and June 2020 will be heard by video conference
  • All scheduled applications will be heard by phone or video conference and new applications will only be scheduled if urgent and will be heard by phone or video conference
  • All documents must be filed electronically or by fax, payment of fees is postponed and will be collected on resumption of normal operations

Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador

  • Jury trials scheduled between March 17, 2020 and May 31, 2020 are suspended
  • 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 will be held via audio and/or video-link (effective May 19, 2020)
  • Filings for all matters will be accepted for processing (effective May 19, 2020)
  • Criminal jury selection or jury trials will not recommence until September 2020 at the earliest

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 (effective May 19, 2020)
  • Applications to hear more cases now listed on the dockets will be accepted (effective May 19, 2020)
  • All other cases scheduled for adjudication between March 16, 2020 and June 26, 2020 will be advanced by 15 weeks

As of March 30, 2020, the Provincial Court will not be operating from its Courthouses and public access is unavailable. Judges and most staff will be working from home. Court services may be accessed in limited circumstances.

WorkplaceNL

  • In-person services are suspended until further notice
  • Collection of employer assessment payments is deferred until June 30, 2020
  • Interest charges and penalties have been waived until June 30, 2020

Newfoundland & Labrador Human Rights Commission

  • Walk-in services are no longer available
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal

  • All in-person court appearances and matters that are not urgent are suspended
  • Previously scheduled in-person motions and conferences will be conducted by phone or other means
  • Non-essential matters, including previously scheduled case management conferences, pre-motion conferences, settlement conferences, pre-trial conferences and trials (including small claims trials) are adjourned
  • Filing of documents is limited and documents may be filed via email or fax

Prince Edward Island Supreme Court

  • All in-person court appearances and matters that are not urgent are suspended
  • Previously scheduled in-person motions and conferences will be conducted by phone or other means
  • Non-essential matters, including previously scheduled case management conferences, pre-motion conferences, settlement conferences, pre-trial conferences and trials (including small claims trials) are adjourned
  • Case management conference calls will resume the week of May 19, 2020
  • 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
  • All trials and preliminary hearings involving non-urgent matters are adjourned until after May 31, 2020
  • Late fees and licenses suspension actions will not be taken and enforcing collection of fine payments will be suspended until April 1, 2020

Prince Edward Island Workers’ Compensation Board

  • Closed until further notice
  • WCB premium payments deferred until June 30, 2020

Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission

  • Closed until further notice
  • 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.

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