COVID-19: Going to court
Learn how Ontario is keeping you safe when you must visit a court.
You will need to answer screening questions for COVID-19 before you enter an Ontario courthouse or other court location. Your result will tell you if you can or cannot enter, and what to do next.
Take COVID-19 courthouse screening
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Going to court
Ontario and its justice partners are taking the necessary health and safety precautions to protect people entering the courthouse, including:
- judicial officers
- members of the public
We continue to provide innovative ways of delivering justice remotely and online to ensure access to justice as we work to reopen courthouses in phases for in-person appearances.
Where possible, consider online filing of your:
Protecting your health
Your health and safety inside a provincial courthouse is our top priority. Measures are in place to protect everyone who attends a courthouse, including:
- enhanced cleaning
- hand sanitizer stations
- physical distancing by staying two metres apart
You will be required to wear a face covering provided by the court.
Please bring your own water as courthouse drinking fountains are not available.
We will continue regular cleaning. High-touch areas will be cleaned with Health Canada-approved disinfectant cleaners many times every day. These areas include:
- light switches and power outlets
- entrance areas
- paper towel and toilet paper dispensers
- door knobs, handles and plates
- sinks and faucets
- public service counters
- counsel tables
- witness and prisoner boxes
Hand sanitizer stations
You can find hand sanitizer dispensers located in many places throughout the building. We encourage you to use them if you cannot wash your hands, or as a second way to disinfect.
Plexiglass barriers are installed in various areas of the courthouse and courtrooms to protect employees and the public.
While in the courthouse, we use the following measures to encourage physical distancing:
- signs to remind you to physical distance by staying two metres apart
- stickers on the floors to tell you where to stand when waiting in line to enter the courthouse, waiting areas and washrooms
- arrows to show you which direction to walk
- signs to show you where to sit
If you have an illness or disability that prevents you from wearing a face covering, inform the staff member at the entrance of the courthouse. If you are unable to go to a courthouse in person, contact the courthouse accessibility coordinator.
You will need to answer screening questions before you enter an Ontario courthouse. Your result will tell you if you can or cannot enter, and what to do next.
You can complete the online screening before going to court. You must show the result as you enter.
Other screening options are available at the courthouse.
When you arrive at the court, we will:
- ask why you’re there
- inform you of other ways you might be able to handle your matter, such as online filing of your civil claims, small claims, or family law matters or filing by email at the Superior Court of Justice or the Ontario Court of Justice
- provide you with a face covering you must wear
We will tell you about the safety measures in place and ask you to follow them while inside the court. We will ask you if a public health official or doctor has told you to self-isolate or if you have the following symptoms:
- runny or stuffy nose
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
You may be asked to show court staff your belongings, deposit them in a bin for screening or place them on an examination table.
You will be required to wear the face covering the court gives you.
There may be delays entering the courthouse so please give yourself enough time.
Going to the counter
Public counter hours have been limited to:
- 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
- 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
For payments at the counter:
- try to avoid hand-to-hand exchange of money, bank or credit cards
- use hand sanitizer after
Being in a courtroom
We changed courtroom layouts and installed barriers to ensure physical distancing where possible.
Sharing documents or exhibits
Court staff will use a bin or trolley to share documents or exhibits.
You should wash or sanitize your hands before and after sharing.
Where possible, consider other ways to share documents or signatures, including scanning or endorsing.
Elevators, escalators and washrooms
Whenever possible, you should be the only person in the elevator.
When there are two or more people in the elevator, try to:
- stay two metres apart
- face the other way
- use a pen, key or something else to press buttons
When you use an escalator, try to:
- stay two metres from other people
- avoid touching handrails, unless you need to for safety
Public washrooms will be cleaned more often.
To support physical distancing:
- the number of people allowed inside at one time is limited. Signs will list how many people can enter
- every other urinal will be closed
- signs are posted to remind you to practise physical distancing and wash your hands
Public and media access
Health and safety concerns may restrict public access to courtrooms. We will provide remote viewing or listening options when available.
Media should contact the courthouse as soon as possible to determine access.