As of July 1, 2014, the Small Claims Court Rules were amended. One of the biggest developments is that a new pilot project was launched by the Ministry of the Attorney General in which plaintiffs in Brampton, Oshawa, Ottawa and Richmond Hill can now file their Claims for certain matters online without stepping foot into a courthouse. Plaintiffs in these cities can also obtain default judgment online if a defendant misses the 20 day window for filing the Defence. Unfortunately, defendants cannot use the online system to respond to a Claim at this time, as the pilot is focussing on increasing access for individuals initiating a Claim.
In order to be eligible for e-filing, claimants must have a Claim for a fixed amount (i.e. a debt owing under a contract) where the amount owed is not in dispute. In addition, the problem must have occurred in one of the four pilot cities or the persons involved must either live or carry on business in one of those areas.
However, plaintiffs still have to follow other typical procedures when starting a claim including serving the defendant with the court-issued claim and filing proof of service which can be done online.
This pilot project is important because the Ministry intends to expand this service across Ontario in the future. Defendants who have been served with Claims for fixed amounts in these pilot project cities should be vigilant and ensure they do not miss the 20 day deadline for filing a Defence with the Court because Plaintiffs can now obtain default judgments without any delay or warning.
We will keep you updated as changes and/or expansions to the pilot project are announced.
This blog is provided as information and a summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.