Supreme Court of Canada: Answers to your questions in regards to the ending of the suspension period caused by COVID-19
Effective September 14, 2020, deadlines that are imposed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Supreme Court Act which had been suspended due to COVID-19 will NO LONGER be suspended.
Effective September 14, 2020, deadlines that are imposed by an order of the Court, a judge or the Registrar which had been suspended due to COVID-19 will NO LONGER be suspended.
The following questions and answer are provided for further information:
1. When does the suspension period end?
The suspension period will expire at the end of the day on September 13, 2020. All deadlines imposed under the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Supreme Court Act will apply as of September 14, 2020.
2. What does it mean once the suspension ends?
As of September 14, 2020, all deadlines – whether imposed by the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada or by statute, including s. 40 of the Supreme Court Act – will be in force. If a party misses a deadline, the usual process for applying for an extension of time will apply.
Parties will also be required to comply with the Guidelines for Preparing Documents to be Filed with the Supreme Court of Canada with modifications as set out in the questions and answers below.
3. How does the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) affect the suspension period?
On July 27, 2020, the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) came into force. The Act suspends any time limits with respect to civil legal proceedings found in federal legislation, including the Supreme Court Act, between March 13 and September 13, 2020.
All time periods set out in the Supreme Court Act with respect to civil proceedings are suspended from March 13 to September 13, 2020, including the time within which to serve and file an application for leave to appeal.
What if I want to appeal a conviction of an offence?
The deadline for serving and filing an application for leave to appeal or a notice of appeal in respect of a proceeding respecting an offence is not affected by the suspension of the deadlines. Parties are required to have served and filed the notice of application for leave to appeal or the notice of appeal within the mandatory deadlines. Parties may seek an extension of time by way of a motion, and, if applicable, may cite in support that circumstances related to COVID-19 prevented timely service and filing.
4. How do I calculate times for serving and filing my documents?
The period beginning on March 13, 2020 and ending on September 13, 2020 will be excluded in the computation of time for the purpose of calculating deadlines set out in the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada for all cases and the Supreme Court Act for civil cases only. For time periods that began to run before March 13, 2020, the number of days remaining as of March 13, 2020 will begin to run once again on September 14, 2020.
For example, if an application for leave to appeal was assigned a SCC file number on March 4, 2020, 8 days passed before the suspension period took effect on March 13, 2020. Since you have 30 days to file a response, your response would be due on October 5, 2020 (22 days after the end of the suspension period).
Time periods that would have begun to run during the suspension period of March 13 to September 13, 2020 will instead begin to run on September 14, 2020.
For example, if an application for leave to appeal was assigned a SCC file number on August 4, 2020, your response would be due October 13, 2020 (30 days after the end of the suspension period).
Please note, however, that any deadlines that were imposed by an order of the Court, a judge or the Registrar during the suspension period will continue to apply. If a deadline was imposed by direction, instead of by order, please contact the Registry for clarification.
5. I electronically filed documents during the suspension period. Do I need to file print copies now?
You will be contacted by the Registry if the Court requires print versions of any documents filed electronically. If you have an original paper copy of a document, you are welcome to file it.
6. For any filings as of September 14, 2020, do I need to file paper copies?
Parties must file paper copies of the following appeal documents: the original and 23 copies of the printed version of the factum and 20 copies of the printed version of any volume of the record containing Part I.
All other appeal and leave documents, whether originating or not, are to be filed by email only for the time being. The original paper copies must be filed subsequently within a reasonable time, but any additional paper copies need not be filed, unless requested.
7. Can I continue to file electronically only?
Once the suspension period ends, parties will be required to file paper copies of their appeal factum and any volume of the appeal record containing Part I. All other appeal and leave documents, whether originating or not, are to be filed by email until otherwise directed by the Registrar.
8. I am a self-represented litigant, how should I file documents?
Self-represented litigants are asked to serve and file all documents by email if possible. If not, you may file paper copies.
9. How do I file paper copies?
Deliveries to the Court should be made through the West garage entrance. Please park outside that entrance and walk down to the mailroom with the items being delivered. Carts are available at the West entrance.
10. What about documents for use at hearings?
On the days of Court hearings, counsel and parties with documents for use at the hearings can access the Supreme Court of Canada building through the regular security screening process at the East entrance, even if they have more than three (3) boxes.
11. Will an electronically commissioned affidavit be accepted for filing?
An electronically commissioned affidavit will be accepted for filing if valid in the jurisdiction in which it was sworn or attested.
12. Do I need to file a motion for an extension of time?
Once the suspension period ends, if any circumstances, including circumstances related to COVID-19, prevent timely service and filing of court documents, parties must request an extension of time by way of a motion to be served and filed together with those documents.
13. How do I provide proof of service?
Proof of service may be filed by email.
14. How do I pay the filing fees?
The Registry will communicate with parties with respect to the filing fees at a later date.
15. Is the Court continuing to issue judgments on leave and on appeal?
Yes. The Court will continue to issue judgments on applications for leave and on appeal, as it did throughout the suspension period.
16. Is the Court proceeding with the hearing of appeals?
The Court will be proceeding with the hearing of appeals during the fall session, beginning on September 22, 2020. The hearings will be conducted both in person and by video conference. For further information about the conduct of those hearings, please send an email to [email protected] The hearing schedule can be found on the Court’s website.
17. Can I come and view a court file?
Viewing of court files at the Supreme Court building continues to be suspended until further notice. However, members of the media and the general public may request court documents by contacting the Court Records Centre at [email protected]
18. Is the Supreme Court of Canada building open to the public?
The Supreme Court of Canada building remains closed to visitors out of concern for their health and safety. The Court is open for case-related matters.
19. Further questions?
Should you have any questions in regard to case-related matters, please send an email to [email protected] Telephone calls made to the Registry’s toll-free line (1-844-365-9662) will be answered from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we gradually reopen the Supreme Court building and begin the fall session.