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Small Claims Court E-Filing in Ontario

Apr 9th, 2015 | By | Category: Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court E-Filing in Ontario

Learn how to file a claim online for fixed amounts up to $25,000.

If you are filing a claim for a fixed amount of money (e.g. a debt owed to you under a contract) in small claims court, you can now file your claim online through the new small claims court e-filing service.

E-filing is a simple, convenient way to file a claim in small claims court without setting foot in a courthouse.

Examples of claims that can be e-filed include:

  • credit card debt
  • NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques
  • overdue rent
  • other debt owing under a contract

Claims where the amount of money owed is in dispute can’t be e-filed at this time.

Eligibility

Only court users with claims for a fixed amount of money (e.g. a debt owed to you under a contract) are eligible to e-file.

Are you a defendant? Learn more about how to respond to a claim in small claims court.

How it works

The new small claims court e-filing service allows you to prepare and submit all required forms online, up to and including Default Judgment, pay court fees securely, and receive court-issued documents by email.

If the defendant does not file a defence with the court within 20 days after you serve him or her with your court-issued claim, you may apply for – and receive – a court decision – all online.

Getting started is easy:

  • 1. Go to ServiceOntario’s online business portal for small claims court.
  • 2. Select Start your claim.
  • 3. Create a ONe-key ID and profile.
  • 4. Follow the steps to create a Plaintiff’s Claim, pay the fee and submit. This will initiate your claim with the court.

What happens next?

  • Serve the defendant. Within a few days of filing your Plaintiff’s Claim online, you will be emailed the court-issued Plaintiff’s Claim. You will need to serve this to the defendant. There are rules about how a Plaintiff’s Claim can be served.
  • File proof of service. After you have served the defendant, you can return to your online claim to submit an Affidavit of Service.
  • Request default judgment. If after 20 days no defence has been filed, you can return to your online claim to file a Default Judgement form, pay the fee, and ask the court to grant you a decision.

Read the user guide for helpful tips and step-by-step instructions for e-filing your claim.

What you need

To start your Plaintiff’s Claim you will need:

  • the legal name of the person or business you are suing
  • current residential or business address of the person or business you are suing
  • Visa, MasterCard, American Express or access to online banking

What else do I need to know?

If you receive a defence disputing the claim, you will receive a notice from the court with the date and time you must go to court for a settlement conference. Remember to file hard copies of your Plaintiff’s Claim and Affidavit of Service at least 14 days before the settlement conference.

Payment and fees

If you filed less than 10 claims this year in small claims court the fee for filing a claim is $75. More frequent filers pay $145 to file a Plaintiff’s Claim.

For a full list of court fees, see the Guide to Fee Schedules.

Online payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Interac®

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of claims can be e-filed?

Claims for a fixed amount of money owing to you (e.g. a debt owing under a contract) can be filed through the new small claims court e-filing service. Examples include:

  • credit card debt
  • NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques
  • overdue rent or other debt owing under a contract.

Claims where the amount of money owed is in dispute can’t be e-filed at this time.

What if I’m not eligible to e-file my small claim?

If you are not able to e-file your small claim, you can file your claim in person or by mail. Which courthouse you should file your claim with depends on your claim and the location of the person or business you are suing.

Find a courthouse.

Why do I have to create a ONe-key account and profile?

The ONe-key ID is a unique electronic credential that allows you to communicate securely using online government services. You will need to login using your ONe-key ID every time you use the small claims e-filing service.

I am a defendant. Can I use the online system to respond to a claim?

No. At this time, e-filing is only available to individuals who are initiating claims (plaintiffs).

How will I know that my claim has been processed?

After you submit any form through the e-filing service, you will receive a submission and payment receipt which you can print. The receipt will also be saved in your ONe-key account. If you don’t receive an email from the court with your court-issued claim or Default Judgment within 5 business days, you should call the court office.

What if the person I’m suing disputes my claim?

If the person you are suing disputes the claim (files a defence), you will receive a notice from the court with the time, date and location of a mandatory settlement conference (this is called a “notice of settlement conference”). Remember to file hard copies of your Plaintiff’s Claim and Affidavit of Service at the court office at least 14 days before the settlement conference. Learn more about getting ready for a settlement conference.

However, if the defendant admits to owing the full amount of the claim and proposes a payment schedule, you won’t receive a notice of settlement conference. If you don’t agree with the payment schedule, you may need to schedule a hearing with a judge to discuss the payment terms. Learn more about the small claims process.

How do I collect my money?

If you have been granted judgment, you may have to take steps to enforce (attempt to collect) the judgment. In order for you to collect, the person/business must have one of the following:

  • money
  • assets that can be sold, or
  • a debt (e.g. bank account, employment income) that can be garnished.

Source: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/scc/e-filing/default.asp

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