Important Changes to Ontario Rules for Small Claims and Simplified Procedure

Share this:

Effective January 1, 2020, Ontario has introduced changes to its Rules regarding small claims and simplified procedure. This lecture provides a brief summary of those changes.

This lecture is taught by Amer Mushtaq, LL.B., M. Engineering , B.Sc. (Hons.), who is the Principal and Founder of Formative LLP.   Through his YouTube channel, YouCounsel, Amer shares practical advice from his years of legal experience to help anyone access justice and achieve their goals.  Subscribe today to learn more.


Show Notes:


Lecture Slides:

Welcome to YouCounsel.

Effective January 1st of this year (2020), there have been significant changes (important changes) to the Rules of Civil Procedure in Ontario with respect to small claims and simplified procedure.  In today’s lecture we will explain to you briefly what those changes are so you can make use of those changes in your cases.

We begin with our usual disclaimer that this lecture is not legal advice. If you have any specific questions regarding your issues you should contact a lawyer or a paralegal or the Law Society of Ontario for a referral.

What are the changes in small claims court? Essentially, there’s only one change.  In small claims court the monetary jurisdiction of the court has been increased from $25,000 to $35,000. You may remember that back in 2010 the amount was increased to $25,000.  In about 10 years the province of Ontario has increased it to $35,000 in small claims court. No other changes have been made to the Rules of the small claims court. As soon as you file your claim and defence is filed, the settlement conference, a mandatory settlement conference, is scheduled by the court and then you proceed with your trial.  If the matter doesn’t settle there is no right or examinations for discovery in small claims court. So nothing else has changed except that monetary jurisdiction has increased from $25,000 to $35,000.

With respect to Rule 76, there are a number of changes and these are important ones, so please listen carefully.

  1. Number one, the monetary jurisdiction has been increased from $100,000 to $200,000—which is a significant change. If you have listened to my previous lectures on Rule 76 you would know that even if your monetary claim is more than $100,000 even if it’s for a $1,000,000, you can still commence your court action under Rule 76 but then there are some exceptions—the defendant may object, in which case you will have to choose either to convert it to an ordinary procedure or reduce the amount of damages that you’re claiming.  In any event the base limit of that monetary jurisdiction has been increased at $200,000. That’s number one.
  2. Number two, the examination for discovery in simplified procedures were 2 hours long—one party could examine the other for 2 hours. That limit has been increased to 3 hours in the new changes to the Rules.
  3. Number 3: No longer are you allowed to have an ordinary trial. The only way you can have a trial under simplified procedures is through summary trial. Summary trial is a trial by way of affidavit evidence. Both parties (all parties) will be required to prepare affidavits for their witnesses and present those affidavits at trial. Once those affidavits are presented, the other party (the adverse party) can cross-examine the deponent (the person who swore that affidavit)—that person can be cross-examined. Then you can re-examine. But, essentially, the evidence (the fundamental evidence) is provided through affidavit. Even if you have expert evidence, that will also be provided through affidavit.  Significant change—you are no longer allowed to have an ordinary trial under Rule 76 which was permitted previously.
  4. Another thing about trials, is that the time duration of trials is now limited to 5 days. You cannot have a trial for more than five days it has to be 5 days or less.
  5. You’re not allowed any jury trials under Rule 76. There are some exceptions for cases that deal with false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, defamation, libel or slander.  If you do have those causes of action, then you can have a jury trial but then you’ll have to go and have the trial under ordinary procedure.  It won’t be a summary trial.
  6. Once the trial is complete and the party is successful in this and the party is seeking costs, the recovery of cost is now limited to $50,000 excluding HST. This is essentially to make litigation a bit more cost effective. But $50,000 is the upper limit for your legal costs.
  7. Similarly, there is a limit on disbursements which are associated costs/third party costs for your examinations, for transcripts, for photocopying (all of that), process server fees, mediation fees and what not. For all of those disbursements the upper limit is now $25,000 excluding HST.

Why has the province made these changes? One of the reasons was to promote cost-effective litigation.  These changes are meant to do that. The province also wants to conserve judicial resources.   You are required to have more efforts going towards the trial because you’re preparing affidavits and making sure that your evidence is in line with your case and so you are using less of court’s time to be able to present your case.  These are some of the reasons why these changes have been made.

Please make sure that you read the Rules to understand further details about these changes and then use these new Rules effectively to have your litigation argued at court in a cost effective manner.  Please note that the lectures that have been previously posted about Rule 76 are relevant subject to these changes that I have indicated in this lecture.

Thank-you for watching.

Share this:

Comments are closed.