Appellate courts’ response to COVID-19 (updated)

Appellate courts across Canada have modified their operations to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 global health emergency. Each court has adopted its own approach to balancing its constitutional and statutory duties with the exigencies of the current situation, including the need for social distancing. During the early stages of the pandemic, most previously scheduled appeals were adjourned, and most appellate courts determined to hear urgent matters remotely by technological means. Some courts additionally suspended filing deadlines and/or expanded the ability of parties to file documents electronically. As circumstances have changed, certain appellate courts have expanded operations, including in-person hearings and lifting the suspension of deadlines. 

Litigants and counsel should carefully review the applicable practice directions from the Court, as should litigants and counsel with upcoming filing deadlines. The chart below provides links to the current guidance from the appellate courts, along with high-level summaries. As matters are continuing to develop, we have also included links to the websites of the appellate courts. We will be updating and republishing this chart periodically but encourage litigants and counsel to check for updates directly from the appellate courts’ websites.


Appeal Hearings

Filing Deadlines

Electronic Filing

Current Guidance

Supreme Court of Canada


Since the fall session in 2020, the court has proceeded with appeal hearings through a combination of in person and video conference hearings.

Those appeals scheduled in March, April and May 2020 were adjourned and rescheduled.

The normal deadlines under the Rules and Act currently apply.

Deadlines imposed by order or the Rules were suspended until the end of the day on September 13, 2020.

Deadlines imposed by statute (including the Supreme Court Act) remained in force until Parliament enacted Bill C-20 in July 2020, which suspended time limits for civil proceedings  until September 13, 2020.

Paper copies are required for parties' factums, Part 1 of the record, and condensed books.

All other appeal and leave documents are to be filed by email. The original paper copies must be filed subsequently within a reasonable time.


Answers to Questions

Federal Court of Appeal


Three types of hearings are being held beginning with the fall session in 2020: (1) all counsel in person; (2) all counsel appearing remotely; and (3) some counsel in person and others appearing remotely.

Deadlines imposed by order or the Rules were suspended beginning March 16, 2020. The Court is gradually phasing out the suspension period. By default, the suspension period continues indefinitely. But every Monday beginning June 22, 2020, the Court will release lists of selected files where the suspension period will be lifted.

Deadlines imposed by statute (including the Federal Courts Act) are subject to Bill C-20, above.

The Court of Appeal has interpreted in a Reference that Bill C-20 did not affect time limits under the Rules and did not retroactively oust orders or Practice Directions of the Court, such as the phase out of the suspension periods under the Rules.

Filing by email is strongly encouraged.

Reference re: Bill C-20

Resumption of In-Person Hearings

Recommended Measures for In-Person Operations

Requirements and Recommendations for Electronic Filing

Notice (March 19, 2020) [PDF]

Notice (March 16, 2020) [PDF]

Notice (April 2, 2020) [PDF]

Notice (April 15, 2020) [PDF]

Notice (May 12, 2020) [PDF]

Notice (May 28, 2020) [PDF]

Notice (June 11, 2020) [PDF]

B.C. Court of Appeal


On November 9, 2020, the Chief Justice directed that all appeals would proceed by video conference unless otherwise directed.

Most matters scheduled between March 18, 2020 and May 1, 2020 were adjourned. Many of these appeals were rescheduled for June/July, 2020.


Time periods for existing matters were suspended until September 14, 2020 (except where mandated by order/direction). This extension will not be further extended.

Time periods to commence civil or family appeals were suspended until March 25, 2021.

Beginning July 14, 2020, all documents in civil appeals must be filed electronically by e-Filing. Paper, fax, or email filings are allowed in certain cases (including self-represented litigants).

Criminal filings must be received in paper, by fax, or by email.

Updated Notice to the Public (December 21, 2020) [PDF]

Updated Notice re Public Access [PDF]

Webinar (Modified Operations)

Webinar (Electronic Filing)

Notice re Modified Filing Directions [PDF]

Updated Notice re Video Conferences [PDF]

Flowchart [PDF]

Notice regarding Affidavits [PDF]

Message (April 7, 2020) [PDF]

Court of Appeal of Alberta


The Court of Appeal is operating at full hearing capacity. Electronic hearings will be held until further notice.

Appeals and applications before three-judge panels will be heard by video conference or telephone, unless all parties consent to an adjournment or a written hearing.

Certain deadlines falling on or before May 4, 2020 were extended by two months for appeals then not yet set for a hearing. Deadlines remained in effect for other appeals. 

The Court launched an e-filing system on August 31, 2020. As of March 1, 2021, e-filing became mandatory for all documents, including correspondence.


Electronic Hearing Update

Practice Direction on E-Filing [PDF]

Notice re Mandatory E-Filing

Notice re Condensed Books

Notice re Restricted Access

Updated Notice re Electronic Hearings

Notice re Confidentiality or Privacy Concerns

Letter dated May 6, 2020 [PDF]

Notice dated March 26, 2020

Notice dated March 23, 2020

Notice re Affidavits

Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan


Hearings before three-judge panels will be heard by teleconference or video conference, unless the parties consent to an adjournment or written hearing. Requests for in-person oral hearings will be entertained.

Deadlines for notices of appeal and applications for leave to appeal remain in force.

For deadlines not prescribed by statute, parties may write to the Registrar in advance of the deadline to request an extension.

Documents may be delivered via eCourt filing, email, regular mail, or fax.

COVID-19 Update

Manitoba Court of Appeal


Until further notice, all appeals will be heard remotely by videoconferencing, and all motions or applications will be heard remotely by teleconferencing.

Filing deadlines remain in place. Judges will be mindful of the circumstances when assessing extension requests.


The Registry remains open for filing in the normal course, but social distancing measures will be in place.

Notice re Hearings [PDF]

Notice dated September 28, 2020 [PDF]

Notice re Masks (No. 2) [PDF]

Notice re Masks [PDF]

Notice to the Profession [PDF]

Notice re Hearings (Updated) [PDF]

Notice re Filing Deadlines [PDF]

Notice re Affidavits [PDF]

Notice re Release of Judgments [PDF]


Court of Appeal for Ontario


The Court of Appeal is not conducting in-person appeals or motions until further notice. Hearings will occur by electronic means or in writing. 

As of October 26, 2020, hearings could also occur in person. However, this was overtaken as of November 16, 2020.

In July and August 2021, the Court will only be hearing appeals on grounds of urgency. 

Deadlines for civil and provincial offence appeals were reinstated effective July 16, 2020. With certain exceptions, the period from March 16, 2020 to July 15, 2020 will not be included in the calculation of time.

Beginning July 16, 2020, unless otherwise directed or approved by the Court, the regular prescribed times  apply to all criminal appeals. Unless otherwise directed or approved, the period from March 16, 2020 to July 15, 2020 will not be considered in the calculation of time.

All documents that are required for hearings are only required to be filed in electronic format. Documents are to be filed by email or USB.

Factums must be signed electronically and must contain hyperlinks to cases.

Parties should also file electronic books of authorities with electronic bookmarks.

Appeal Books and Exhibit Books must also be bookmarked.

Further, parties are  encouraged to file an Oral Hearing Compendium, including an outline (500 words or less) of the party's anticipated oral argument, together with extracts from documents/cases.

The Oral Hearing Compendium may be either a written document or slides.


Important Update: Effective March 29, 2021, all previous practice directions and notices related to COVID-19 are replaced by this Consolidated Practice Direction.

See also the Guideline for Filing Electronic Documents.

Divisional Court (Ontario)


All hearings are being conducted electronically, either by teleconference or by videoconference

The Court’s schedule of cases was entirely suspended until September 4, 2020. For cases  scheduled for after September 4, 2020, hearings will  proceed on the scheduled dates.

A provincial executive Order suspended all limitations periods and time periods within which steps must be taken for the duration of the emergency (subject to the discretion of the court). Limitations periods resumed on September 14, 2020.

Documents required for remote hearings must be available to the court electronically (e.g., through CaseLines) and filed by email.

Take note of the deadlines in the Notice to the Profession, as they take precedence over the Rules.


Notice to the Profession (Div. Ct.)

Consolidated SCJ Notice (Updated) (with links to regional notices)

Notice re Court Proceedings

Caselines Project

Notice re Landlord and Tenant Board Appeals

Notice re: Requests for Virtual Hearings

SCJ Notice (June 25, 2020)

Order re: Time periods

Notice re: Emailed material

Memo dated March 27, 2020

Best Practices for Remote Hearings

Quebec Court of Appeal


Appeal hearings are being held by video conference.

Hearings up to the week of May 11, 2020 were postponed. As of May 25, 2020, the Court resumed hearings.

Parties may jointly request that the Court decide the appeal without a hearing.

The suspension of time limits in civil matters and penal matters was lifted as of September 1, 2020.

Time limits in criminal matters were not suspended.


Pleadings in civil matters may be served or notified by technological means, subject to certain exceptions.

New Arrangement for Hearings

Resumption of Court Activities

Order dated August 31, 2020 [PDF]


Suspension Lifted

Pleadings in Civil Matters

Postponement of Hearings

Virtual Courtrooms

New Brunswick Court of Appeal


The manner of hearing for appeals  depends on whether provincial Zone 3 (Fredericton) is in yellow, orange, red, or lockdown level. Consult the Updated Directive for details.

Motions are being heard by teleconference unless the court determines otherwise.

Limitation periods for commencing a proceeding and time periods in a proceeding resumed running on September 19, 2020.

Documents should be filed by email or fax (with other options where this is not possible).

Updated Directive [PDF]

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal


There are four formats for appeals: in writing; by teleconference or video conference; in-person; or through a combination of in-person and remote.

All hearings scheduled for the March/April 2020 term (except two appeals) and the May/June term were adjourned. Those matters were rescheduled.

Time periods under the Rules for commencing civil appeals and criminal appeals were suspended until June 26, 2020.

Counsel and parties are permitted and encouraged to file electronically. However, the Court of Appeal continues to accept paper filing.

Practice Directive for Appeal Proceedings


Notice dated June 5, 2020 [PDF]

Notice dated March 27, 2020 [PDF]

Notice dated March 16, 2020 [PDF]

P.E.I. Court of Appeal


The Court is hearing appeals by appropriate means (in person or by video or audio).

Regular operations were suspended between March and mid-May, 2020.

Limitations periods are still in force.

Court administration encourages the use of drop box for filing.

Notice (February 19, 2021)

Notice (December 7. 2020)

Notice re Masks

Message from Chief Justice [PDF]

Practice Direction [PDF]

Electronic Hearings [PDF]

Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal


In-person hearings could re-resume on March 16, 2021 with the addition of plexiglas barriers in the courtroom. Hearings by teleconference and video conference remain available.

Not currently affected.

Parties were to submit documents electronically by email or fax.

Notice re Court Operations

Replacement Notice dated September 16, 2020 [PDF]

NWT Court of Appeal


The pending list will  be called on April 30, 2021. Telephone attendance is encouraged, but in-persons attendance is available.

The next sitting of the Court of Appeal is scheduled for April 20, 2021, and will proceed by videoconference.

Not currently affected.

Not currently affected.

Notice (Updated) [PDF]

Yukon Court of Appeal


The Court of Appeal will hear all hearings by video conference.

The next sittings in the Yukon are scheduled for May 17 to 21, 2021.

Not currently affected.

Not currently affected.

Calendar [PDF]

Notice (July 15, 2020) [PDF]

Nunavut Court of Appeal


The sitting scheduled for May 12, 2020 was cancelled. Matters were spoken to on July 22, 2020.

Not currently affected.

Not currently affected.

Calendar (2021)




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