How does the small claims court work in Ontario?

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In Ontario, the Small Claims Court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice. It deals with civil disputes of a monetary value of up to $35,000 (CAD) (as of January 1st, 2020). Please note that the above video was created prior to the increase in the limit.

The Small Claims Court can handle any action for the payment of money or the recovery of possession of personal property where the amount claimed does not exceed $35,000, excluding interest and costs such as court fees. This includes the value of all goods that the Plaintiff is asking for in total, no matter how many Defendants there are.

If the amount of your claim is more than $35,000, you can still choose to use Small Claims Court. However, you will have to give up the amount of money over $35,000, as well as any future right to get this money in any other court.

You cannot divide the amount of money you are claiming into separate cases. You cannot, for example, divide $45,000 into a $35,000 claim and a $10,000 claim in order to have the total amount dealt with in two cases.

Examples of claims that can be filed in the Small Claims Court include claims for money owed under an agreement:

  • unpaid accounts for goods or services sold and delivered
  • unpaid loans
  • unpaid rent
  • NSF cheques;

…and claims for damages:

  • property damage
  • example: contractor, clothes damaged by a dry cleaner, etc.
  • personal injuries
  • breach of contract