In response to COVID-19, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General announced an important procedural change for serving documents in relation to civic proceedings to the Crown and Crown-related entities. The Ontario Attorney General announced that documents for civil (non-criminal) proceedings, administrative proceedings or intended proceedings must be served by e-mail starting on March 24, 2020.
This procedural change is ordered by an emergency order issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Who Should be Served by E-mail Under this Order?
All documents for civil (non-criminal) proceedings, administrative proceedings or intended proceedings to be served on the Crown, and Crown-related entities, must be served by e-mail starting on March 24, 2020.
The Crown-related entities which must be served by e-mail are:
- Ministers of the Crown, including the Attorney General of Ontario;
- the Children’s Lawyer;
- the Public Guardian and Trustee, and;
- the Director of the Family Responsibility Office.
What Should I Include in the E-Mail?
E-mails must include the sender’s name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
The Ontario Attorney General has advised that e-mails should less than 10MB. This limitation is most likely a restriction due to mailbox sizes. Counsel who have files larger than 10MB can use software to reduce the file size. If reducing the file size is not sufficient, counsel should ask for permission to send the documents in a series of e-mails.
Counsel should use “delivery receipts” and “read receipts” if your email system includes these features. These tools can be helpful in ensuring that the email was successfully delivered.
What E-Mail Address Should I Use?
The following chart provides a break-down of e-mail addresses for originating processes to be served on the Crown and various Crown-related entities:
|Crown/Crown-Related Entity||E-Mail Address|
|Originating processes (e.g., a notice of claim, a statement of claim, a notice of application or other document that initiates a proceeding) to be served on the Crown or any Minister of the Crown including the Attorney General of Ontarioemail@example.com|
|Notice of Constitutional Question to be served on the Attorney General of Ontariofirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Any legal document required to be served on the Director of the Family Responsibility Officeemail@example.com|
|For matters required to be served on the Children’s Lawyer including service on any other person where a document must be left with the Children’s Lawyer||OCL.LegalDocuments@ontario.ca
|For matters required to be served on the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee including service on any other person where a document must be left with the Public Guardian and Trustee||PGT-Legal-Documents@ontario.ca
|E-mail address of the counsel of record for the Crown, Minister, Family Responsibility Office, Children’s Lawyer or Public Guardian and Trustee in any ongoing proceedings (for any documents other than originating processes)||Counsel should refer to their records to find the e-mail addresses for the counsel of record for any ongoing proceedings.|
Other Important Details
The person serving the documents should still take care to take detailed notes regarding the name of the person served, the date, time, and any other related details. These notes will be useful when preparing an Affidavit of Service.
The Ontario government is also suspending Ontario limitation periods and procedural time periods retroactive to March 16, 2020.
The Ontario Attorney General has provided an updated Guide to Serving Documents which provides important details regarding these new changes.