Going to court: accessibility
Learn about accessibility resources in Ontario courts, including accessibility coordinators.
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As a person with a disability, you have the right to access justice services in courthouses in Ontario.
Disability can include a wide range and degree of conditions including:
- mental health
- other conditions (for example, cancer or multiple chemical sensitivity disorder)
We comply with all Ontario Public Service accessibility policies. See the full policy to learn more about topics such as:
- accessibility training for staff
- use of personal assistive devices
- service animals and support persons
- accessible formats
- communications and supports
- accessible websites and web content
Each courthouse in Ontario has an accessibility coordinator who can help identify what accommodations, such as equipment or services, are available when you visit the court in-person or online.
Accessibility coordinators and ministry staff cannot provide legal advice, including what forms you need or how to complete those forms.
Contact an accessibility coordinator
You can contact the local accessibility coordinator by
- Video Relay Service
When requesting disability accommodation, the following information is helpful:
- court address
- court file number
- your role (plaintiff, defendant, witness, member of the public)
- date and time of any court proceedings and type of proceeding (for example, motion hearing, trial)
- any deadlines for filing documents
- the type of disability accommodation you need to use our services or participate in the court proceeding and how it relates to your disability
If you don’t know what disability accommodation you need, you can tell the coordinator about the types of barriers you usually face.
In some situations, we may need to ask for additional information.
You should ask for any accommodation as soon as you know you will be using court services.
Approval for accommodations
Judges, deputy judges and justices of the peace have the exclusive authority to make decisions about what happens in a court room.
If you need disability-related accommodation for a court proceeding, the judicial official for your court matter may need to be informed of your request and may need to approve it. The judicial official may also provide instructions on how to make requests for accommodations in your specific case. Accessibility coordinators cannot make or approve changes to procedural steps and requirements, such as filing deadlines, without first receiving approval from the judicial official.
Please contact the accessibility coordinator as far in advance of your hearing date as possible to allow time for this process.
Types of accessible equipment and services
The types of accommodation or support that we can provide will depend on your disability-related needs, the service or courthouse you will be using and the availability of different types of equipment and services available at the time, such as:
- assistive listening devices
- a temporary wheelchair
- real-time captioning, known as Communication-Access Realtime Translation (CART)
- American Sign Language (ASL) or langue des signes québécoise (LSQ)
- rooms that can accommodate your wheelchair or where you can wait in quiet (if available)
- more frequent breaks
- some services may be available by phone or email in order to meet a disability-related need
- accessible or alternative document formats of ministry document, such as accessible electronic formats, large print, audio and braille
The court may also be able to provide communication intermediaries to support individuals with communication disabilities, such as those caused by
- Cerebral Palsy
- learning disability
- intellectual disability
- brain injury
An intermediary will conduct a preliminary evaluation before providing any support services.
These are examples only and may not be suitable in all cases. Other requests will also be considered. The accessibility coordinator will work with you to identify the most effective accommodation(s) the ministry can provide.
Personal assistive technology, service animals and support persons
Subject to any necessary approvals, while in the courthouse you may use:
- your own personal assistive devices or assistive technology
- your service animal in all parts of building that are open to the public
- your disability-related support person
Depending on the nature of the case, the support person may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and the judicial official and/or the other parties may need to agree to the role of the support person in advance of the meeting or court proceeding.
Approval for assistive technologies and support person
A judicial official may need to approve the use of some assistive devices and technologies and the use or role of a support person. The courthouse accessibility coordinator can provide information and assist with this process.
Accessible and alternative formats of documents
If you need documents or forms in a format that is accessible to you, please contact the courthouse where your matter is being heard.
You will not be charged an additional fee to obtain the document in an alternative format. If there is usually a fee for a document or to submit a document, then you will be charged the same fee as everyone else.
Sign language interpreters
If you are Deaf or have a hearing disability, American Sign Language (ASL) and langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) interpreters are available for ministry services and all types of court proceedings.
You can request an ASL or LSQ interpreter by calling the courthouse and speaking with the interpreter coordinator or the accessibility coordinator. A judicial official can also order an ASL or LSQ interpreter.
For other ministry services, you can ask any court staff member or the accessibility coordinator.
You can use TTY Bell Relay Services or Video Relay Services to contact a courthouse, accessibility coordinators, or other ministry offices.
Ask for an interpreter as soon as you know you may need one. Time is needed to book the interpreter.
If you have received a summons for jury duty, you must complete the online pre-screening within seven days.
You can get help completing the pre-screening and ask for other accommodations by contacting the court office printed in the upper left corner of your summons. Users who are Deaf or have hearing or speech disabilities may use Bell Relay or Video Relay Services.
The jury or accessibility coordinator can give you information on making a request
As noted above, the judge may need to approve your request for accommodation. Where necessary, you can ask the jury or accessibility coordinator to help facilitate your request. The judge will decide if your request will be granted.
Municipal courts are responsible for tickets and fines for speeding, noise complaints, trespassing and other offences.
The Ontario government does not operate these courthouses.
If you need information on accessibility in municipal court, contact the court office indicated on your ticket, summons or other court document and ask for the accessibility coordinator or a list of resources.
Submit your feedback about accessibility in Ontario courts:
- in person, by phone or mail where the service was received: List of Ontario Court Addresses
- by filling out the customer comment form at courthouses
- by phone, mail or online to the Ministry of the Attorney General
- Bell Relay
Include "accessibility feedback" in the subject line or letter.
If your feedback is about a specific incident, please provide:
- the date that the incident occurred
- what happened
- what made the experience good or bad
- suggestions for improvement
If your complaint is about a disability-related accommodation that you require to access and use ministry services, it will be addressed as soon as possible.
All comment, feedback or complaints received in writing by email, fax or mail will be answered or acknowledged within 15 business days and include an outline of what we plan to do.