CASE EVALUATION

Case Evaluation

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Filing Civil Court Documents Online in Ontario

Over the last year, Ontario has moved to online filing (and payment of fees), generally through the Ontario Civil Submissions Online portal. However, for hearing, documents must also be uploaded to a different system called CaseLines, as parties (and Judges) lack access to documents filed through the filing portal. No one has ever accused the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General as being well run……

A naming protocol has emerged for Toronto, as laid out in one of the court’s many practice directions, though to ensure maximum dysfunction, each courthouse in Ontario is apparently permitted to “choose its own adventure.” Toronto’s naming protocol is as follows:

  • Expert Report – Defendant – Loblaws Inc. – 13-MAR-2021
  • Financial Statement Form 13.1 – Respondent – A. Wong – 21-NOV-2021
  • 11b Application – Defence – Nathanson – 12-JAN-2021

The above may supplant the below, which is left up only for reference purposes.

Over the last several weeks, our courts have rapidly transitioned to online filing. As would be expected, different courthouses have gone about this process differently. However, some general principles seem to have emerged, which I will outline below:

  1. Motion Records continue to be prepared as before, and appear to be accepted without incident when submitted via email in pdf format. Affidavits may not need to be sworn and/or commissioned if impractical[1], but the Affiant should then be available to attend the virtual hearing.
  2. The courts appear to be able to manage attachments/exhibits when same are submitted separately in pdf format. No word yet on whether the courts can deal with jpg, jpeg (pictures), eml (email) or xls (Excel) files. Depending upon the size of the attachments/exhibits, they can likely be joined to the motion record into one larger pdf file (using a free site like https://pdfjoiner.com/) or submitted as separate files attached to the same email. When joined into one pdf document, bookmarks at the start of each exhibit are helpful. Conversely, if exhibits are submitted as distinct pdf files, I generally label them as follows (with the number/letter corresponding with the exhibit, and then the first word listing the party it was filed on behalf of):
    • 1 – Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim
    • 2 – Plaintiff’s Statement of Defence
  3. Materials are submitted by email to the designated court official, generally in one email, the size of which is not to exceed 10 mbs (with permission typically required to exceed that size), and copied to opposing counsel. Contact info for various court staff is included below.
  4. The subject line of the email to the court should contain:
    1. Level of Court (SCJ)
    2. Type of Matter (Civil, Commercial List, Estates etc).
    3. File Number
    4. Document Type (i.e. Motion, Conference Brief etc.)

    (i.e. SCJ – Civil – CV-1234-5678 – Urgent Motion for Directions)

  5. The body of the email to the court should contain:
    1. Short title of proceedings (Caption)
    2. List of Documents Attached
    3. Type of Request, i.e. Motion for Summary Judgment
    4. The contact info of the party submitting the request

Toronto – Update
For cases in Toronto, guidelines appear to be emerging, as set forth in paragraph 5 of Association of Professional Engineers v. Rew, 2020 ONSC 2589 (CanLII).

The above are intended as general guidelines and are not specific legal advice. For Official Guidelines, see:

  1. Ministry of that Attorney General – Notices and Orders – Covid-19
  2. Ministry of that Attorney General – Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Civil and Family Proceedings – Suspension of Superior Court of Justice Regular Operations
  3. Ministry of that Attorney General – Notice to the Profession, the Public and the Media Regarding Civil and Family Proceedings – Update

Court Staff Contact Information:

* Note that the correct email for Kenora is actually kenora.scj@ontario.ca.

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