Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure: Simplified procedure actions

February 6, 2020 | Mark De Sanctis

On January 1, 2020, amendments to section 108 of the Courts of Justice Act[1] came into force to eliminate trials by jury under Simplified Procedure.[2] Further amendments to Rule 76 of Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure, which governs actions brought under Simplified Procedure, have provided litigants and the administration of justice with more efficient means of adjudicating disputes. Commencing an action under the ordinary procedure, as opposed to under Simplified Procedure or in Small Claims Court, usually resulted in increased costs to the litigants.  However, as explained below, changes to the rules regarding actions brought via Simplified Procedure highlight Ontario’s transition towards efficient, proportional and affordable justice.

The Changes to Simplified Procedure Actions

As of January 1, 2020, Rule 76 of the Rules of Civil Procedure was amended to increase the monetary jurisdiction of Simplified Procedure actions from $100,000 to $200,000[3] and to prohibit trials by jury in such actions.[4] The following will provide an overview of the amendments relating to the new constraints on a Simplified Procedure action with respect to time, trial management and costs.

The time limit for examinations for discovery has increased from two hours to three hours.[5] The timelines relating to the service of expert reports also follow the timelines set out in Rule 53.03, and the expert report must be appended to an Affidavit of the expert for the purposes of using it as evidence in the action.[6] The amendments also set out that a pre-trial conference shall be scheduled in accordance with Rule 50.02[7] and that, at least thirty days prior to the pre-trial conference, the parties shall agree to a proposed trial management plan that will not exceed five days.[8] Trials for actions brought under the new Simplified Procedure method will be limited to five days.[9] The amendments also provide for limits on the recovery of costs (maximum amount of $50,000) and disbursements (maximum of $25,000).[10]

What Do These Amendments Mean?

In a similar amendment, the monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court has been increased from $25,000 to $35,000.  It appears that the intended effect of the increases in the monetary jurisdictions of the Small Claims Court and of Simplified Procedure are to ensure that the administration of justice is proportional to the issues and amounts in dispute.  As a result, it will be important for litigants to consider the value of a claim to determine whether the action ought to be brought under Simplified Procedure.  For those involved in the construction industry, it is also important to recall that the rules relating to Simplified Procedure do not apply to actions brought under the Construction Act (except for trust claims).[11] It is anticipated that the amended Simplified Procedure will result in more affordable and expedient adjudication for actions that fall within the new expanded monetary jurisdiction.


[1] R.S.O. 1990, c. C. 43.

[2] Section 108(2) 2. of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C. 43 (2019, c. 7, Sched. 15, s. 2)

[3] Rule 76.02(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.3(1)).

[4] Rule 76.02.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.4).

[5] Rule 76.04(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.5).

[6] Rule 76.09.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg.194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.6).

[7] Rule 76.10(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.7(1)).

[8] Rule 76.10(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.7(2)).

[9] Rule 76.10(5)(d) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.7(6)) and Rule 76.12(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.9(1)).

[10] Exclusive of HST. Rule 76.12(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194  (See: O. Reg. 344/19, s.10).

[11] Rule 76.01(1)(b) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O 1990, Reg. 194.

Disclaimer

This publication is provided as an information service and may include items reported from other sources. We do not warrant its accuracy. This information is not meant as legal opinion or advice.

Miller Thomson LLP uses your contact information to send you information electronically on legal topics, seminars, and firm events that may be of interest to you. If you have any questions about our information practices or obligations under Canada's anti-spam laws, please contact us at privacy@millerthomson.com.

© 2020 Miller Thomson LLP. This publication may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety provided no alterations are made to the form or content. Any other form of reproduction or distribution requires the prior written consent of Miller Thomson LLP which may be requested by contacting newsletters@millerthomson.com.