By Lavinia Inbar
As you may have heard, some courthouses in Ontario have started re-opening on July 6th. They will not be operating at full capacity and will not operate in the same way that they did before the pandemic. For one thing, people planning to attend court will be asked to self-screen for COVID-19 using an online test and asked not to attend if they do not pass the screening test.
Here is a link to that online screening test: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening/
The test consists of a few simple questions. The wrong answer to just one question will result in a message telling you not to attend the courthouse and giving you information about whom to contact. If you “pass” the test, you will get a screen telling you that you can enter the courthouse, but only until the end of that day. If you wish to enter another day, you will have to re-test for that day.
Here is what the test looks like:
COVID-19 courthouse screening
Answer the following questions before you enter an Ontario courthouse.
Your result will tell you if you can or cannot enter. If you are told you cannot enter, you will get information about what to do next.
This screening is only meant for entering Ontario courthouses and cannot diagnose you. If you have medical questions, consult a health care provider or your local public health unit.
1. Select the courthouse you wish to enter. Here you select a courthouse from a drop-down list.
2. Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days? This does not include essential workers who cross the Canada-US border regularly.
3. Have you been asked to self-isolate (stay at home) by a doctor, health care provider or public health unit in the past 14 days?
4. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
5. In the past 14 days, have you been in close physical contact with a person who:
- is currently sick with a new cough, fever, or difficulty breathing? or
- tested positive for COVID-19? or
- returned from outside Canada in the last 2 weeks?
Close physical contact means:
- being less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or area
- living in the same home
6. Are you currently experiencing any of these symptoms? Choose any/all that apply.
- Fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
- Cough that’s new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
- Barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
- Shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Runny nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
- Stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
- Lost sense of taste or smell
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Headache that’s unusual or long lasting
- Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain (not related to other known causes or conditions)
- Muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting
- Extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
- Falling down often
- For young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite
- None of the above
If you answer “no” to all of the first four questions and don’t tick off any of the boxes or only tick off “None of the above,” for the last question, you will get a message that looks like this:
You can enter
July 8, 2020
valid from 3:27 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
You can enter
15 Bridge St W
(This is the Belleville courthouse. The name of the courthouse that you selected will go here.)
Show this result to courthouse security either on your phone or download a PDF to print out.
Retake this screening at the start of every day before you enter a courthouse.
If you answer “yes” to one of the first four questions or tick off any box, except for the one that says “None of the above” for the last question, you will get a message that looks like this:
You cannot enter
You cannot enter Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe, DSO, MP. Courthouse
(This is the Oshawa courthouse. The name of the courthouse that you selected will go here.)
on July 8, 2020
Who to contact
Employees of this courthouse:
- Contact your manager.
Plaintiffs or defendants (applicants or respondents)
- your lawyer
- the courthouse at 905-743-2640 (This is a number for the Oshawa courthouse. You will be given a number appropriate for the courthouse you had selected.)
- your lawyer
- Duty Counsel at 905-728-3801 (This is a number for the Oshawa courthouse. You will be given a number appropriate for the courthouse you had selected.)
- the Officer-in-Charge
- Crown’s office at 905-743-2700 (This is a number for the Oshawa courthouse. You will be given a number appropriate for the courthouse you had selected.)
Contact the courthouse at 905-743-2640. (This is a number for the Oshawa courthouse. You will be given a number appropriate for the courthouse you had selected.)
If you have a lawyer, you may not have to attend court for most of your matter’s dates as in many cases; your lawyer can attend for you. Your lawyer may also be able to schedule remote appearances so that nobody has to appear in person.
If you have a criminal matter being heard in an Ontario courthouse, consider contacting the criminal law firm of Aitken Robertson. Aitken Robertson offers representation in criminal courts throughout Ontario. As well, the lawyers of Aitken Robertson offer you a free half-hour consultation either online or by telephone (and in person once the pandemic restrictions are lifted). You can reach an Aitken Robertson lawyer here on our website or by calling the toll-free number: 1-800-668-1657.