Civil litigators in Ontario should be aware of amendments to both Rule 76 Simplified Procedure claims and claims brought in Small Claims Court which came into effect on January 1, 2020.
1. Simplified Procedure Changes
The limit for claims brought under the Simplified Procedure rule has now been increased to $200,000 from the previous $100,000 limit which had been in place since 2010.
According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, “[t]his change will require more people to file claims under the Simplified Procedure rule, reducing the cost of resolving disputes to families, businesses and taxpayers.”
Other amendments include:
The Ministry of the Attorney General has also provided a helpful Fact Sheet regarding the amendments and has developed simple flowcharts illustrating the processes under the Rules of Civil Procedure.
2. Small Claims Court
The Small Claims Court limit has been raised to $35,000 from the previous $25,000. Also, the minimum amount of a claim that may be appealed to Divisional Court was increased from $2,500 to $3,500.
Have you already started a claim in Superior Court that now fits under the new Small Claims Court threshold? Don’t worry litigants can seek to transfer their case to Small Claims Court.
According to the Ministry of the Attorney General the increase in the limit is to make it “faster, easier and more affordable for people and businesses to resolve their disputes in front of a judge”.
As there will likely be an increase in claims at the Small Claims Court, hopefully there will be a corresponding increase in the number of deputy judges available to decide these disputes. Perhaps now is a good time to apply to become a deputy judge if you are interested. According to the Ontario Courts website to become a deputy judge:
Interested lawyers with a minimum of 10 years’ experience may write to the Regional Senior Judge of the region in which they wish to preside. To prevent court scheduling conflicts, applicants may apply to one region only. Please provide a letter of interest, curriculum vitae and references. Applicants must be members in good standing of the Law Society of Ontario, have no outstanding liability claims relating to the practice of law and no criminal record.