Emergency Orders in Ontario During COVID-19

Effective March 17, 2020 – Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz advised that the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) was suspending all regular operations until further notice in an effort to protect the health and safety of all court users in addition to preventing the further spread of the COVID-19. However, it is important to note here that the Court will continue to hear urgent matters during this time in an effort to ensure the continuity of access to justice for urgent matters on a series of defined matters.

Here is a brief overview of matters that will be heard during this temporary suspension. Please note this list may change as the situation evolves. We encourage you to visit the Superior Court of Justice’s website for more information in the future.

  1. Public Health and Safety Matters in Ontario During COVID-19:
    1. Any applications brought forth by the Chief Medical Officer for any emergency orders as they pertain to COVID-19 in light of protecting the public’s best interests;
    2. Applications made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) with respect to the restrain of contravention or continued contravention of an order. This also includes orders that deal with seizing premises, medications or supplies under the HPPA);
    3. Appeals under subsection 35(16) under the HPPA;
    4. Urgent requests for COVID-19 related injunctions;
    5. COVID-19 related urgent divisional court appeals and requests for judicial review.


  1. Family and Child Protection Matters in Ontario During COVID-19:
    1. Urgent matters requesting relief relating to the safety of a child or parent or legal guardian (i.e. restraining orders, restrictive orders on contact between the parties or a party and child, exclusive possession of a home, etc.)
    2. Urgent issues pertaining to the well-being of a child which also include medical decisions or issues relating to the wrongful removal or retention of a child;
    3. Urgent issues regarding the financial situation of parties;
    4. Urgent issues regarding child protection matters;


  1. Civil and Commercial List (Toronto) Matters During COVID-19:
    1. Urgent issues, motions and applications in civil and commercial list matters especially where financial repercussions may arise in the absence of judicial hearings;
    2. Outstanding warrants regarding Small Claims Court or Superior Court civil proceedings;


  1. Other Matters the Court Deems Necessary and Appropriate to Hear During COVID-19:
    1. Finally, the Court has advised that it can decline to schedule for immediate hearings on any matter described above where they believe necessary. Hearings may be conducted via teleconference or videoconference. There may be certain situations where the Court believes that in-person hearings are necessary, and they have the powers to determine that during this time and co-ordination of same will be done through the Ministry of Attorney General.

While this temporary suspension may cause great inconveniences for both individuals and some businesses in Ontario – rest assured that the court has placed the health and safety of the public as a priority during this most precarious time.


If you believe you have an urgent matter that needs to be heard by the Court during this time as prescribed by the above-mentioned list – please contact Blackburn Lawyers to discuss further. We may be able to assist. Call 905-884-9242 or live chat with our legal intake team today.