The government of Ontario recently announced that, as of January 1, 2020, the maximum amount a plaintiff can seek in the Ontario Small Claims Court will be raised from $25,000 to $35,000. Civil claims for more than $35,000 must be filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Claims made in the Small Claims Court follow a simplified process governed by the Rules of the Small Claims Court, whereas Superior Court claims are governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure and include additional steps such as examinations for discovery. A press release from the office of the Ministry of the Attorney General states that the increase to the maximum claim will “make it faster, easier and more affordable for people and businesses to resolve their disputes in front of a judge.” The press release notes that, contrary to Superior Court cases, which can take years to resolve, Small Claims Court cases are often concluded in less than a year.
As of January 1, 2020, litigants who have an active claim of $25,001 – $35,000 in the Superior Court can seek to transfer the claim to the Small Claims Court. Also as of January 1, 2020, the minimum claim amount that may be appealed to the Divisional Court will increase from $2,500 to $3,500.
Miller Thomson regularly assists clients with civil litigation before all courts in Ontario.