As of a few months ago, all Ontario court proceedings are being recorded but the files are hidden from the public through court procedures.

Theoretically Ontario courts follow the "open court" principle (see e.g. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. v. Ontario). The public is supposed to be able to see justice be done.

The Ontario court system has digital recordings but in order to get them (if you're not a reporter for certain publications or a lawyer involved in the case) you'll need a court order. Once you have that court order you'll have to agree to never share the recording with anyone (undertaking form []).

If you'd like a recording, you'll have to give the government your name, address, email address and phone number. What if someone has an interest in a case but doesn't want their identity to be known? (re: criminal cases)

Requesting a recording costs $22 for a day and $10.50 for additional days. That's an incredibly steep price in the age of S3 (and even cheaper commodity hosting plans).

These rules don't apply to just the proceedings that many people think should be secret (no matter what, you can't get access to in camera hearings, settlement conferences, etc.). They apply to every hearing.

Why does the court system not want people to hear what goes on in court? Audio recordings aren't being denied to the public because they theoretically could jump through the hoops, they're just being made more difficult to access.

If the open court principle means anything it should mean that the public can access the workings of the court. Locking up data behind court orders, undertakings, personal information requirements and fees is not the way to accomplish this.