By: Victoria Craib, Student-at-Law
Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey announced on October 23, 2019, that the monetary claims limit for Small Claims Court will increase from $25,000 to $35,000. The change will be in effect on January 1, 2020.
The claims limit will continue to exclude interests and costs, such as court fees. Examples of claims that can be filed in the Small Claims Court include unpaid loans, unpaid rent, property damage, and personal injuries, among others.
The stated goals of this change are to make it faster, easier, and more affordable for people and businesses to resolve their disputes in front of a judge. Litigants are expected to spend less time in courtrooms and less money on expensive legal representation.
In making these changes, many civil cases that would have been brought to the Superior Court of Justice will now be brought in Small Claims Court. The decision should reduce waiting times in the Superior Court and resources currently allocated to these smaller cases will hopefully be directed towards other pressing cases, such as criminal and family matters. Litigants who brought their claim in the Superior Court will also be allowed to transfer their case to Small Claims Court if their claim is within the monetary limit.
The current claims limit has been in place since 2010, when the Attorney General increased the limit from $10,000.