Chief Justice Rossiter of the Tax Court of Canada has now outlined multiple aspects of the Court’s process for reopening, following its lengthy closure due to COVID-19, by issuing a Practice Direction and Order and Notice to the Public and the Profession dated July 8, 2020.
On July 20, 2020, the Court will resume in-person hearings in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax. The Court will not resume in-person hearings in any other locations, however, and all hearings scheduled up to December 31, 2020 in locations not listed above will need to be rescheduled to a later date.
In addition, the Court will resume conference calls by July 20, 2020 and may conduct online or teleconference proceedings for case management conferences, status hearings, pre-trial conferences, motions without witnesses, and applications without witnesses.
For all deadlines established under the Tax Court of Canada Rules (General Procedure) or under Orders or Directions issued before the Court’s closure, Chief Justice Rossiter confirmed that the 173-day period between March 16, 2020 and September 4, 2020 will be excluded from the computation of time.
The Court will not be issuing new timetable Orders to adjust for the suspension period and, instead, instructed parties to compute their adjusted dates using the chart in Appendix I of the Notice to the Public and the Profession. This chart displays how dates will be adjusted and accounts for situations where the adjusted date falls on a Saturday, a holiday, or during the Court’s winter recess.
Extensions for Notices of Appeal
The Court will treat all Notices of Appeal filed during the suspension period as including an application for an extension of time to appeal brought on the exceptional grounds that the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the Court prevented the filing of the appeal within the normal statutory deadlines.
Guidance for attending in-person hearings
The Court has also released guidance for attending in-person hearings which outlines measures including the required use of appropriate PPE and the plan for introducing documents into evidence at hearings. The guidance can be found here.