The Changes to Small Claims Court in Ontario

Proceeding with an Action in Small Claims has changed as of July 1, 2014. It’s not a big change, but it is a change (honestly, we’re a little disappointed that the changes are not bigger).

Prior to July 1, 2014 a defendant who wanted to defend a lawsuit had to file their defence with the Court, pay the filing fee and the Clerk, by regular mail, would send a copy of the defence to the plaintiff.

As of July 1, 2014 a defendant must first serve their defence on the plaintiff then file their defence with the Court (and pay the fee), together with an Affidavit of Service confirming the plaintiff was served. This is the same procedure that matters over $ 25 000.00 follow in the Superior Court.

The changes to the Rule increase the risk of defendants not filing their defence and Affidavit of Service in a timely manner.

This will result in many plaintiffs spending time and money to get a judgment, only to have the Court set it aside on a motion to set aside default judgment.

July 1, 2014 – the dawn of CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation) which increases costs to businesses and the day of changes to the Small Claims Rules that will likely also increase the cost to businesses to litigation. For a day that is supposed to celebrate the birth of our country, it sure takes away the joy of doing business in it.

Murray S. Brown, Licensed Paralegal