10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims Courts

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10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims Courts
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In Ontario, the Small Claims Court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice and handles a variety of civil disputes with limited financial stakes – the Court has civil jurisdiction over monetary claims up to $35,000.

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims Courts

10 most common reasons for Ontario Small Claims Courts

Some of the most common reasons for cases brought before Ontario Small Claims Courts include:

1

Unpaid debts

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims CourtsThis includes cases where individuals or businesses are seeking to collect money owed to them, such as unpaid loans, unpaid rent, goods or services sold and delivered that weren’t paid for, NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques, or unpaid invoices.

2

Property damage

Disputes over property damage, such as damage caused by a tenant, neighbor, or a contractor, are commonly brought to Small Claims Courts.

3

Breach of contract

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims CourtsCases involving the violation of a written or oral contract, such as a failure to deliver goods or services as promised. Particularly, many home renovation contracts end up in Small Claims Court.

4

Consumer issues

Small Claims Courts handle consumer complaints such as faulty products, poor services, or deceptive business practices.

5

Minor personal injuries

Small Claims Court can hear cases involving minor personal injuries, such as slip and fall accidents, where the amount claimed is within the court’s jurisdiction.

6

Employment issues

Some employment-related disputes, such as unpaid wages or wrongful dismissal claims involving small amounts of money, can be heard in Small Claims Court.

7

Negligence claims

Cases where individuals seek compensation for injuries or damages caused by the negligence of another party may be brought to Small Claims Court if the amount claimed is within the court’s jurisdiction.

8

Property disputes

Disputes over property ownership, boundary issues, or property rights can be resolved in Small Claims Court if the monetary value is within the court’s limits.

9

Commercial tenancies

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims CourtsThere are two different types of tenancies – residential and commercial. Consequently, there are different laws and different institutions dealing with all rental matters. You cannot resolve commercial tenancy conflicts in the Landlord and Tenant Board. You have to file a claim in the Small Claims Court. Current information on renting commercial properties in Ontario can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website – https://www.ontario.ca/page/renting-commercial-property-ontario

10

Unpaid rent (residential tenancy)

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims CourtsIf your tenant is still living in your rental unit, you will have to proceed to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to obtain an order of eviction and an order for the arrears of rent. If your tenant is no longer living in your rental unit, then the Residential Tenancies Act no longer applies. Rule 60 of the Rules of Civil Procedure deals with the enforcement of orders in civil matters before the Superior Court of Justice. However, in order to file this application, you will have to find out the debtor’s new residential address to be able to serve them.

It’s always advisable to consult with a legal professional or refer to the most up-to-date information provided by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General to understand the current limits and procedures.

What kind of claims Ontario Small Claims Courts do not accept?

While Ontario Small Claims Courts handle a wide range of civil disputes, there are certain types of claims that they do not accept. Some common examples of cases that are generally not heard in Ontario Small Claims Courts include:

1

Residential tenancy disputes

Conflicts between landlords and tenants are an unfortunate reality of everyday life. In Ontario, the Landlord and Tenant Board has exclusive jurisdiction over almost all residential landlord and tenant disputes and only some of them end up in the Small Claims Court. The vast majority of those “some” cases that end up in Small Claims Court are about unpaid rent from the tenant who is no longer living in your rental unit.

2

Family law matters

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims CourtsSmall Claims Courts do not deal with divorce, child custody, child support, or spousal support issues. These fall under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Family Division.

3

Serious personal injury claims

Cases involving severe injuries or significant damages typically exceed the monetary limits of Small Claims Courts. Such cases are typically handled by higher courts, such as the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Civil Division.

4

Defamation and libel cases

Claims related to defamation, libel, or slander are not within the jurisdiction of Small Claims Courts. These types of cases are generally heard in higher courts.

5

Complex commercial disputes

Small Claims Courts are designed to handle straightforward and relatively simple matters. Complex commercial disputes, such as intricate business transactions or multi-party disputes, may be more appropriately addressed in higher courts.

6

Criminal matters

Small Claims Courts do not have jurisdiction over criminal cases. Criminal offenses fall under the jurisdiction of criminal courts and are handled by the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice – Criminal Division.

7

Bankruptcy and insolvency cases

Matters related to bankruptcy, insolvency, or debt restructuring are not within the purview of Small Claims Courts. These issues are typically addressed through specialized bankruptcy and insolvency courts.

8

Constitutional matters

Cases involving constitutional challenges or issues that require interpretation of constitutional law are generally not dealt with by Small Claims Courts. These cases are typically heard in higher courts with constitutional jurisdiction.

10 Common reasons for Ontario Small Claims CourtsIt’s important to consult with a legal professional or refer to the most up-to-date information provided by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General to understand the specific limitations and exclusions of Ontario Small Claims Courts.

By Carlos Perdomo

Licensed Paralegal

Source:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/suing-someone-small-claims-court

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