I lost in Small Claims Court, but can’t afford to pay. What can I do?

4. Ask for a garnishment hearing

The can ask the court for a order. Garnishment is when the money you owe is taken directly from:

  • an income source, such as your wages, or
  • your bank account.

Being garnished

A creditor can't garnish more than 20 percent of your wages. For example, if you make $1,000 per week, they can only garnish up to $200.

In most cases, they can't garnish the following even if you've deposited the payment into your bank account:

  • employment insurance
  • social assistance
  • pension payments

But some government organizations can garnish your pension or social assistance payments.

The creditor must you with:

Someone else may be entitled to part of your income or money in the bank. This is called a of the debt. When this happens, the court can only order that your part of the money be garnished. For example, if you have a joint bank account with one other person, no more than half of the account can be garnished.

If you disagree with a garnishment order

You can ask for a garnishment hearing if:

  • You disagree with the Notice of Garnishment you were served, or
  • The garnishment will create real financial hardship for you.

At the hearing, you can ask a judge to change the order for garnishment. For example, you can ask that less money be taken from your wages.

To ask for a garnishment hearing, complete a Notice of Garnishment Hearing. You can get this form at the court.

Serve the Notice of Garnishment to:

  • your creditor
  • any co-owners of your debt
  • anyone else affected by your garnishment, such as your employer if your wages are being garnished

You can serve it:

  • in person
  • by mail or fax
  • by courier

After you've served the Notice of Garnishment Hearing, file it at the court.

Another person may owe the debt with you. This person is called a co-owner of the debt. The co-owner of the debt can also ask for a garnishment hearing. Their request must be made within 30 days of their receiving a Notice of the Garnishment.

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