Lecture 5: How to Claim Refunds in Canada for Summer Camps/Airline Tickets Due to COVID-19?

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This is the fifth (and the last) lecture in this series on the issue of claiming refunds in Canada for Summer Camps and Airline Tickets.

These lectures specifically deal with scenarios where summer camps have been cancelled by the Camp providers or the flight have been cancelled by the airline itself. (These lectures do not deal with scenario where a traveller has cancelled his/her flight or where the parent has cancelled the camp attendance of his/her child.)

Lecture 5 explains the process of commencing a legal proceeding when the charge back through the credit card companies was not successful.

Claim Forms For Ontario Small Claims Court can be downloaded from: http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/rules-of-the-small-claims-court-forms/ In Ontario, Small Claims can be issued online: i. https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-small-claims-online

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.

This is our fifth and last lecture on the topic of claiming refunds for your summer camps that have been cancelled or for your airline tickets that have been cancelled due to covid-19.

We begin with our usual disclaimer that this lecture is not legal advice. If you have any specific questions, you should contact a lawyer or paralegal or the Law Society of Ontario if you’re in Ontario or another provincial law Society.

Now in this lecture series:

The first lecture was about the underlying legal principles that would apply to the breach of contract.  We explained that those principles would apply to all kinds of different scenarios of breaches of contract;

Lecture two was about some of the defences to those breaches of contract;

In the third lecture, we applied those legal principles to summer camps.  We took the specific example of STEM Camps, which is a camp in Ontario that has been in the news lately for not providing refunds to all the people who had signed up their children for their camps.

In the fourth lecture, we talked about how you get your credit card payments reversed – by contacting your credit card companies.  If, you were not able to have those payments reversed then we said that we will talk about going to court.

This lecture is about the situation when you have tried everything. When you have tried to reverse the payment and you were not successful, now you’re ready to go to court.

How do you go about doing that? We will explain this in three simple steps.


  • Step number one, is you should estimate your damages and we’ll talk about why you need to do that;
  • Step number two, you have to determine which court or tribunal has the jurisdiction to deal with your matter; and, then
  • Step number three is you go ahead and commence your legal proceeding.

For estimating damages, your starting point is that you should review the contract itself—the invoice, the contract that you have with your summer camp, because it may have certain clauses that deal with damages and with refund.  You want to understand what those clauses are, because those clauses may determine what kind of damages, you are able to get or may limit those damages in certain circumstances.

In certain circumstances if the clauses are not favorable to you, you may be able to challenge those clauses. But that will depend upon the circumstances of those clauses and the application of the law. But, fundamentally, your case is about seeking the refund of the monies that you have paid to your summer camp or to your airline.  And you want that refunded.

There may be additional damages in your circumstances.  These are called incidental or consequential damages. We will not get into a full lecture about what those damages are but fundamentally because of the breach of contract by the other side, you now have incurred additional damages. It could be for instance, that you had to find another comparable summer camp for your child, for the same duration and that summer camp may have cost you more than the one that you had initially signed up for and that may amount to your additional damages. That could be one scenario.  But there could be other scenarios.

You determine whether you are claiming any additional damages.  You consider that.  Then you think about the conduct of the other side. Whether such a conduct would entitle you to punitive damages? Now keep in mind, punitive damages are not easily awarded by courts. Punitive damages are essentially for conduct, which is extremely high ended, which is very egregious and in those cases the court may consider that penalizing the defendant, is an appropriate remedy and you may be entitled to punitive damages.

You would also like to consider whether there are any damages arising from any other causes of action in your case. This is in addition to breach of contract. For example, was the conduct of the other side in bad faith and could that entitle you to any damages? Could the conduct amount to fraud, misrepresentation, etc.? You will consider other causes of action. Generally, just to determine what is the scope of damages that you may be seeking from the court – but if it is only the refund of the monies that you have paid then your case is pretty straightforward in that regard.

Once you have determined your damages you have estimated your damages, you would like to figure out which court or tribunal you have to go to get those damages.  Again, your starting point is the contract. You would like to review your contract, to see if it has any clause with respect to jurisdiction. Now with respect to summer camps, I highly doubt that those contracts would have clauses with respect to jurisdiction of courts or tribunals or arbitration clauses. But they may.  It’s a good thing to look at the contract, because the contract may very well have a clause that says that parties in case of dispute will not go to court, but will go to a private arbitration.  In that case, you may not have the right to go to court and have the matter adjudicated before the court. It is important to consider that.  But, if there are no such clauses, then of course a court or a tribunal may have the jurisdiction in that case. In Ontario, if the matter is for $35,000 or less, then small claims court has the jurisdiction to deal with your matter.  In most of the summer camp matters or for the air travel matters, we believe that Ontario small claims court will have the jurisdiction. But, again, you will have to figure out which court or tribunal has the jurisdiction or an arbitral body has the jurisdiction before you commence your legal proceeding.

Once you have determined the jurisdiction, then the next step is, obviously, that you go ahead and commence your legal proceeding.  For the proceedings, you go to the specific court and obtain the necessary forms that you need to complete, to commence your proceedings. I have provided the link here for Ontario Small Claims Court. All the forms are available online for free. You download form 7A and you fill that out, which is the plaintiff’s claims form, you fill that out. You gather all the evidence and you will attach all evidence with form 7A (in Ontario) and that will be your complete package which will be the claim.

 In Ontario you can issue the claim online, I have provided this link and it’s not a complicated process. You go to this link. You create an account which is free. You create that account and then once you’re logged in, you provide / you input some basic information about your address and name and the name of the other party and then you upload all of your documents which is form 7A and all of the evidence. You attach all of that together into a PDF document. You upload it and then you pay the fee.  I believe it is $102 in Ontario, to issue your claim and so you pay the fee through your credit card and then your claim is issued.

You will receive an issued claim within a few minutes by email and that claim—issued claim will have a court stamp on it. It will have a court file number, which will confirm that the claim is issued.  Once you have this claim, you print it out and you serve it on the defendant.

The process is not complicated, if you have to issue a claim in small claims court. I have a number of lectures.  If you go on the playlist, you will find there’s a playlist for Civil Procedure. There are a number of lectures there. I also have an online course, which is a paid course, on youcounsel.ca. It has 26 lectures on issuing a claim in small claims court—from the time you issue the claim, all the way to trial. By all means you can check that out.

Hopefully, you will not need to go to court to get your monies refunded and you will be able to get that reversed through the process of using the credit card companies.

Thank-you for watching.

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