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I have a case at Small Claims Court. What should I do?

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I have a case at Small Claims Court. What should I do?
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I have a case at Small Claims Court. What should I do?
Reviewed: 
October 30, 2020
Answer

Since March 16, 2020, most cases in Small Claims Court have been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Counter services have re-opened from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. You're encouraged to use the Small Claims Court online filing service if you want to start a case. And if you already have a case, you're encouraged to file documents by email. For more information on how to do this, check the court's website.

The court has gradually started to hear more matters remotely. All hearings are by video conference over Zoom. If you're not able to use Zoom, let the court know so that they can schedule a hearing by phone. Read below to find out what matters the court is dealing with.

Urgent matters

The court is hearing some urgent motions and urgent garnishment hearings. This includes situations:

  • Where there is an outstanding arrest warrant against a person who owes money, called a judgment debtor.
  • That are time sensitive and would result in immediate and serious financial consequences if there was no hearing.

You must fill out this request form and email it to urgentsmallclaims@ontario.ca. A judge will review your request. If it's approved, you will receive an email with the date of your hearing, how to attend, and where to email your documents.

Settlement conferences

The court is hearing settlement conferences in non-urgent matters where:

  • All parties agree to a remote settlement conference
  • The defendant filed a defence or was noted in default before March 16, 2020
  • All parties agree to rely on the documents already filed and served

The court is also hearing some settlement conferences at the request of only one party if:

  1. The requesting party provides a valid and current email address for the other party,
  2. Each party can send and receive emails using the email addresses provided,
  3. The defendant filed a defence or was noted in default before March 16, 2020,
  4. All parties agree to rely on the documents already filed and served,
  5. A settlement conference was previously scheduled and then suspended because of COVID-19.

You must fill out this request form and email it to smallclaims.settlementconferences@ontario.ca. If it's approved, you will receive an email with the date of your conference, how to attend, and where to email your documents.

Motions to set aside noting in default or default judgment

The court is hearing requests to set aside a noting in default and default judgments.

You must fill out this request form and email it to smallclaims.motions@ontario.ca. If it's approved, you will get a date for your motion. You must serve the notice of motion and supporting affidavit (Form 15A) on the other party. Then file your documents and proof of service by email to smallclaims.motions@ontario.ca.

Motions in writing

The court is hearing requests to decide the following motions in writing if they were filed before March 16, 2020:

  • Motions in writing for an assessment of damages
  • Any other motion in writing that does not require notice to the other party

You must fill out this request form and email it to smallclaims.motionsinwriting@ontario.ca. If the motion is for an assessment of damages, you must also include in the email the Affidavit of Service. If your motion is for something else, you must also include in the email: the claim, the previously filed notice of motion, and supporting affidavit (Form 15A).

Assessment hearings

The court is accepting requests to process any request to clerk for an assessment hearing that was filed before March 16, 2020.

You must fill out this request form and email it to smallclaims.assessments@ontario.ca. You must also include in the email: the claim, the Affidavit of Service of the claim, the request to clerk, and any documents you will use at the requested assessment hearing.

Time limits

Most cases in Small Claims Court must be started within 2 years. But there was an emergency government order that stopped all time limits to start a case between March 16 to September 14, 2020. This means the court will not count this time period when deciding if you're too late to start your claim.

Legal help

If you need information about your next court date, call the Trial Scheduling Office. If you need legal information or help, call Pro Bono Ontario's Free Legal Advice Hotline at 1-888-255-7256. You can get up to 30 minutes of free legal advice and help about Small Claims Court.

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