How do I start a claim with the Small Claims Court online service?

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?

If you think someone owes you money or has damaged your property, you can sue them in court. This includes some employment issues, such as wrongful dismissal where you think you've been fired for no reason.

You're called the if you're the person who is suing. The person or business you're suing is called the .

If you're asking for $35,000 or less, you can go to Small Claims Court. You can file your claim at the courthouse in person using a paper form or online using the Small Claims Court e-filing service.

If you want to sue for more than $35,000, you must do that in Superior Court. It's very hard to do this without a lawyer. If you want to sue in Superior Court, you should try to get legal help.

Or, if you're owed more than $35,000, but are willing to give up the amount over $35,000, then you can go to Small Claims court.

In most cases, you must issue your claim within 2 years of when you first learned about the problem. Your claim is issued when the gives you a court file number and signs, dates, and puts the court seal to your form.

Language rights

Ontario residents who speak French have the right to bilingual proceedings at Small Claims Court. You can ask for bilingual proceedings in your Plaintiff's Claim or by filing a requisition form or a written statement.

Legal help

You don't need a lawyer or paralegal to go to Small Claims court. But you'll probably understand the process better if you talk to a paralegal or lawyer.

There are a lot of rules you must follow when you sue someone in Small Claims Court. If you don't follow the rules or do things within specific time limits, the court may not deal with your claim, and you may have to pay money to the person you sued.

If you earn a low income, you may be able to get legal help from Pro Bono Ontario. They offer services in some court locations in Toronto and Ottawa, and a legal advice hotline where you can get up to 30 minutes of free legal advice.

You can also read the Small Claims Court E-filing Service User Guide on the Ministry of the Attorney General website to learn more about the e-filing process.

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