Amendments to the Federal Courts Rules (the Amended Rules) were registered on December 13, 2021 and officially published in the Canada Gazette Part II on December 22, 2021. The Amended Rules come into force on January 13, 2022.

Key Changes and Additions

As we previously reported, in April 2021 the Rules Committee of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court proposed amendments to the Federal Courts Rules (the Rules) to address proportionality, abuse of process, and Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) motions. The Amended Rules include the following key changes and additions:

  • Proportionality: Introduction of the principle of proportionality into rule 3, to promote the resolution of disputes taking into account the proceeding’s complexity, the importance of the issues involved, and the amounts in dispute.
  • Examinations: The duration of any examination provided for by the Rules may be limited in accordance with the principle of proportionality.
  • Removal of documents improperly filed: A document may be ordered removed from the judicial record on the grounds that it is scandalous, frivolous, vexatious or clearly unfounded. Parties may make written, but not necessarily oral submissions, before removal from the court record is ordered.
  • Motions at the FCA: The combination of new rules 369.1 and 369.2 create a new regime for motions before the FCA. All motions before the FCA will presumptively be made in writing. The Court may order an oral hearing on its own initiative or at the request of a party to the motion.
  • Definitions of “holiday” and “Christmas recess”: The Amended Rules broaden the definition of “holiday” to allow the Courts’ registries to close on certain statutory holidays. The definition of “Christmas recess” has been replaced with the more inclusive “seasonal recess”.