Can the court take money from someone’s bank account if I have a court order against them?

Because of COVID-19, the Small Claims Court has changed some of its processes. You can learn more in the question: How is Small Claims Court handling cases during COVID-19?

The person who owes you money is called the . If the debtor isn't paying you, you can apply to have money taken from their bank account or income. This is called .

You can apply for garnishment if you have a court order that says the debtor must pay you, and the debtor has not paid you what you're owed. If you want to issue the Notice of Garnishment in a different city than where the payment order was issued, you also need a .

Garnishing income

You can't garnish more than 20 percent of a person's wages. For example, if they make $1,000 per week, you can only garnish up to $200.

You can't garnish:

  • employment insurance
  • social assistance
  • pension payments

Even if the payments listed above have been deposited into a bank account, they can't be garnished.

Garnishing a bank account

If the person has a bank account, you can garnish the whole account unless:

  • someone else is a of the money, for example, a joint bank account
  • it has money that can't be garnished, like employment insurance or social assistance

If there is a co-owner, no more than 50% of the account may be garnished.

How to garnish the debtor

Before you can apply for a garnishment, you need to know the correct name and address of the people and companies involved in the garnishment. This includes the debtor. It also includes:

  • co-owners, such as the joint of a bank account, and
  • the garnishees, such as the debtor's bank or employer.

Once you have the correct names and addresses, complete and file:

Once these documents have been filed at the court, them to:

  • the debtor
  • the bank, if money will be taken from the debtor's accounts
  • the employer, if money will be taken from income
  • any other
  • any co-owners of the money to be garnished

You can serve your documents:

  • in person
  • by mail or fax
  • by courier
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