The Case for Reforming Scheduling in the Ontario Courts

Getting a motion date can be a herculean effort in Ontario. Currently the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has a patchwork of processes for scheduling. Different courthouses have different ways of scheduling court dates. Even finding out which dates are available can be frustrating.

It is problematic and an access to justice issue. Getting a date for a motion should be easy. Knowing how to obtain a date should be even easier. There is some guidance online, for example:

  • Toronto’s process – https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/toronto/civil-t/
  • Central East process – https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/central-east/civil-ce/ / https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/ce-civil-proceedings/

The Central East Region has a Calendly process: https://calendly.com/ce-civil. This Calendly process is a great use of an existing technology. But it’s not referenced in the Civil Motions Information Page. It can be found on a new page for an updated Practice Direction (as provided above).

There should be one process for scheduling a civil motion in Ontario. It should be simple. But, the reason it is not is likely due to lack of resources. Scheduling problems are a symptom of much larger failure in the court system. We need more judges, more court staff, more money for our courts, more adoption of existing technological solutions, and more creativity in imagining ways to resolve problems.

My hope for 2023 is that our courts adopt ONE streamlined approach to scheduling. An approach that does not require multiple phone calls and emails just to know what dates may be available.

If you have any recommendations / solutions, please provide them in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Gwendolyn L. Adrian

    Every mediator in the province has a calendar system showing availability. The courts should immediately adopt this system cutting out the entirely superfluous step of having to find out what dates are available before consulting with opposing parties. The agreed upon dates could then be requisitioned. Additionally, the court must commit to a 48 hour response time, which was in place before the pandemic. Currently, if you get a response within a week, its a miracle. It is ridiculous that in a world of electronic communication, you have to wait seven days to find out what dates are available and another seven to discover if those dates remained available while you tried to book them.

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