For updated information about remote hearings and court processes in the Small Claims Court, please see the Consolidated Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding the Small Claims Court.
The Guidelines to Determine Hearing Method in the Small Claims Court are available here: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/guidelines-mode-of-proceedings/guidelines-small-claims/
About the Small Claims Court
This page contains information about the Small Claims Court. Information about asking for an urgent hearing appears at the bottom.
The Small Claims Court hears civil claims for $35,000 or less.
The streamlined procedures in the Rules of the Small Claims Court allow the Court to determine cases more quickly and at a lower cost than in the Superior Court of Justice.
Typically, deputy judges preside in Small Claims Court proceedings. Deputy judges are senior lawyers appointed for a term by the Regional Senior Judge, with the approval of the Attorney General. The Ethical Principles for Deputy Judges of the Small Claims Court set the standards of conduct for deputy judges.
If you need legal advice about a Small Claims Court issue, you can contact Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline at 1-855-255-7256.
To find a Small Claims Court location in your area, please see the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Addresses page.
Claims for more than $35,000 must be brought in the Superior Court of Justice.
If you want to sue someone in Small Claims Court, you will need to
- have court staff issue your claim
- serve your claim on every defendant
- complete and file an Affidavit of Service (Form 8A) for each defendant that was served.
If you have been sued in the Small Claims Court, you may respond by filing a defence. You can find out more about responding to the claim in the Replying to a claim section of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Guide to procedures in small claims court.
If you are a defendant and you do not file your defence within 20 days after you were served with the claim, then the plaintiff can ask court staff to note you in default. Once you are noted in default, the plaintiff can ask for judgment against you without notifying you. (This kind of judgment is called default judgment.)
If you have been noted in default or if the plaintiff has a default judgment against you, then you can bring a motion asking the Court to set aside the noting in default and the default judgment. More information about this process appears in the Replying to a claim section of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Guide to procedures in small claims court.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Small Claims Court is accepting requests for urgent hearings. These include:
- hearings dealing with an arrest warrant related to a Small Claims Court proceeding.
- hearings that must be held urgently in order to avoid immediate and serious financial loss.
The Court grants these requests only in limited situations.
To request an urgent hearing, contact the Small Claims Court location where your case is based.
Each location’s email address is on the Email Accounts for Small Claims Court Locations page. Their phone numbers and addresses are on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Court Addresses page.