In Provincial Court there are three types of proceedings: in person, virtual (remote), or hybrid (a combination of the two).
At an in-person proceeding, everyone is present in the courtroom. At a virtual (remote) proceeding, everyone participates remotely either by MS Teams (audio or videoconference) or telephone. And at a hybrid proceeding, some people participate remotely by telephone or MS Teams while others attend in person without having to make a court application or give advance notice.
Protection order hearings will be set by the court registry in consultation with a Judicial Case Manager.
If you want to attend court in a different way from which you're directed, you have to make an application to a judge using an Application for Case Management Order Without Notice or Attendance (Form 11) or an Application for Case Management Order (Form 10). For child protection cases, you apply using an Application to Change Method of Attendance (Form 10.5) (see more below).
- contact Court Services Branch and ask if there are enough resources at the court location for a virtual hearing, and
- make sure that all parties have the technology needed to appear remotely.
Even if the appropriate technology is in place, the judge can refuse an application for remote attendance at trial.
Attending family court proceedings
The following Family Law Act court appearances will be in person, unless a judge orders otherwise:
- trials and trial continuations
- applications for an order about a priority parenting matter
- applications for an order prohibiting the relocation of a child
- applications about enforcement
- applications for a case management order (where notice is required)
If you have a Family Maintenance Enforcement Act (FMEA) or Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act (ISO) matter, the following court appearance will also be in person, unless a judge orders otherwise:
- trials and trial continuations
- appearances where notice is required to be given to another party and where evidence will be given in person
Your proceeding will be on the trial list on the date scheduled. Go to court in person (with your lawyer, if you have one) on the date scheduled at 9 am to tell the court if you’re ready to go ahead that day. The court will decide which trials will proceed. Witnesses and anyone who has a lawyer must be prepared to go to court in person.
All Family Law Act family hearings (short appearances), Family Management Conferences, and Family Settlement Conferences are held remotely by audio (telephone or Microsoft Teams) or video (Microsoft Teams), unless a judge orders otherwise. If you have a lawyer, they must attend by videoconference unless they make an application and the court allows them to attend by audioconference.
Attending remotely means you'll "attend" court by receiving a telephone call from the court, or by joining a conference call through Telus, or an audioconference or videoconference through Microsoft Teams. See the court's Guide for Appearing in the Provincial Court Using Microsoft Teams and Remote Attendance in Provincial Courtfor more information. See also Provincial Court remote proceedings for tips on how to prepare for a remote court appearance.
The following Family Law Act court appearances are hybrid, unless a judge orders otherwise:
- trial preparation conferences
- pre-trial conferences
- confirm trial date
- calling of the family assize list
Attending child protection (CFCSA) proceedings
All child protection court proceedings (except full protection hearings) are currently being held virtually, by MS Teams audio or video conference, or by telephone. See Court process for more information about child protection proceedings.
To file family law forms online or by email, you can use an electronic signature — except for affidavits and financial statements, which must be signed by hand (see the next section). An electronic signature can be a scan of a handwritten signature or a signature drawn with a stylus, trackpad, etc. It doesn't include a typewritten name or signature using a digital ID.
If you’re unsure of any time periods related to your family law matter, get legal advice. It's important to file documents on time and to appear in court when required.
Affidavits and financial statement
Under the Provincial Court (Family) Rules, you can file the following signed documents without first swearing or affirming them if it's medically unsafe or not possible to meet with a commissioner of oaths:
- Affidavit — General (Form 45)
- Financial Statement (Form 4)
- Guardianship Affidavit (Form 5)
- Application About a Protection Order (Form 12) that attaches Schedule 1 (Affidavit for Protection Order)
When you go to court, the judge will likely ask you to swear that the contents of your documents are true.
If you want to swear or affirm your affidavit(s) before filing but can't meet with a commissioner of oaths in person, you may be able to use video technology (see Provincial Court NP 20 — Affidavits for Use in Court Proceedings for more details).
To file sworn or unsworn affidavits and financial statements online or by email, sign the document by hand (electronic signatures aren't acceptable). Then scan the document — most smartphones have an app to do this. Fill out and attach an Electronic Filing Statement (Form 51). Keep the original document in case a judge orders you to file later on.