On January 1, 2020, significant changes to Ontario’s Simplified Procedure and Small Claims Court processes took effect. These amendments were implemented to make civil litigation more efficient, accessible, and affordable for families, individuals, and businesses in Ontario.
Small Claims Court
The monetary jurisdiction for actions brought in the Small Claims Court has increased from $25,000 to $35,000, not including interest and costs. This means that claims for an amount up to $35,000 can now be brought in this court, instead of previously having to proceed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice if you had a claim over $25,000.
This new monetary increase provides people with greater access to a court system that offers a less complex, more cost-effective, and more streamlined process than a typical proceeding brought in the Superior Court.
As a result of this change, people who previously started their claims in the Superior Court and now fall under the new monetary limit may wish to consider having their case transferred to the Small Claims Court.
Another noteworthy amendment is that only final orders of the Small Claims Court in cases meeting the threshold of $3,500, excluding costs, can now be appealed to the Divisional Court. The previous threshold amount was $2,500.
The monetary jurisdiction for actions brought under the Simplified Procedure has increased from $100,000 to $200,000, not including interest and costs. This means that claims at or under $200,000 that are brought in the Superior Court, one of the busiest trial courts in the world, can now use the Simplified Procedure process. This process is further outlined in Rule 76 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Simplified Procedure, like the Small Claims Court, offers a less complex and more streamlined process that is designed to foster a more cost-effective resolution of claims.
As similarly discussed above, as a result of this change, people who previously started their claims in the Superior Court under the Ordinary Procedure and now fall under the monetary limit for Simplified Procedure may wish to consider having their case transferred to the Simplified Procedure.
Some other noteworthy changes to the Simplified Procedure include:
- A party’s recovery for costs is capped at $50,000, not including HST.
- A party’s recovery for disbursements is capped at $25,000, not including HST.
- Trials must be completed within five days.
- Jury trials are no longer permitted in most cases.
- The time permitted for parties to conduct oral examinations for discovery has increased to three hours, up from the previous two-hour limit.
What the Changes Mean for You
These implemented changes will hopefully allow families, individuals, and businesses in Ontario to have their legal issues resolved more quickly and easily while spending less money in the process.
By expanding access to the Small Claims Court and the Simplified Procedure process, and expediting court proceedings, individuals who might have previously been hesitant about pursuing litigation may now find these changes attractive and decide to take the step of having their matter determined by a court on its merits.
The Civil Litigation Practice Group at SV Law has a team of skilled and experienced lawyers who are happy to assist you with a wide range of matters. Please contact us here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.