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Important Changes to Ontario’s Probate Application Forms

The Ministry of the Attorney general has recently enacted important changes to the probate application process in Ontario that are intended to reduce errors, increase guidance, and simply the process for both parties and court staff alike.

In force as of July 6, 2023, Regulation. 194 under the Courts of Justice Act (Rules of Civil Procedure) amends 3 probate application forms, Forms 74A, 74.1A and 74J to, amongst other things, provide additional guidance in respect of instructions and required disclosures; increase the compatibility of separate sections; allow for certain direct answers to be provided without the need for an attached schedule; streamline the process for submitting certain documents such as consents, renunciations, and orders appointing estate trustees without the necessity for posting a bond; and provide additional information to beneficiaries.

The Regulation also introduces a further temporary transition subrule, 1.06(3) to permit service and filing of the previous Forms 74A and 74J until August 8, 2023, while the previous Form 74.1A may be served until October 2, 2023 and filed until November 3, 2023.

For a more detailed view of the specific amendments set out under Regulation 194., a detailed chart prepared by the Ontario Courts can be found here:


Manitoba Court Practice Direction on the Use of AI

In a relatively novel approach for Canadian courts, Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench enacted a practice direction on June 23, 2023 to address the use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) in court proceedings.

Recognizing the developing landscape and immense uncertainty created by the rapidly emerging technology, the June 23, 2023 requires parties to inform the court about whether AI technology was used in the preparation of court submissions, and if so to provide an explanation of how it was used, rather than endorsing or restricting AI in any specific capacity. One notified, the court will then take an individualized approach to assess whether the AI generated information is permissible, verifiable, and reliable for its intended court process.

As described by King’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal, the goal of the June 23, 2023 practice direction as is to allow courts to better inform themselves on how AI technology is being used, to assess the merits and pitfalls, and to develop consensus regarding permissible use.[1]

While Manitoba has certainly been proactive in implementing policy that addresses the uncertainty created by unprecedented developments in AI, this trend appears consistent across the country with The Canadian Judicial Council, chaired by Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Richard Wagner, currently developing guidelines on the use of AI technology and considering the implementation of a practice direction regarding same.

[1] https://www.law360.ca/articles/48095/manitoba-court-of-king-s-bench-issues-ai-directive


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