NOTICE REGARDING THE SUSPENSION OF SMALL CLAIMS COURT SITTINGS

March 16, 2020

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all sittings of the Ontario Small Claims Court are suspended until further notice. The hearings suspended include, but are not limited to, all trials, settlement conferences, motions, assessment hearings, garnishment hearings, contempt hearings and examinations, including teleconference hearings and videoconference hearings.

The Ministry of the Attorney General advises that courthouses will remain open. Small Claims Court filings may continue at those courthouses. However, where it becomes impossible to file at the courthouse, or the courthouse is believed to be unsafe, do not attend the courthouse. Where procedural rules or court orders require the regular filing of documents during this emergency period, and it becomes impossible to file at the courthouse or the courthouse is believed to be unsafe, parties can expect the Court to grant extensions of time once the Court’s normal operations resume. Parties must still comply with orders and rules requiring the service or delivery of documents as between parties.

If you are unable to attend at a courthouse and wish to file a claim in Small Claims Court during the suspension, you may do so online at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-small-claims-online. If you require a lawyer, paralegal or other representative to assist you in filing a claim, you may seek assistance through Pro Bono Ontario’s hotline (1-855-255-7256).

If you are a judgment debtor with an outstanding arrest warrant issued in relation to an Ontario Small Claims Court finding of contempt, and wish to address the warrant during the suspension, please contact the local trial coordinator.

The Ontario Small Claims Court continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. In the weeks ahead, the Court will finalize a plan to resume regular operations and reschedule matters.

You may wish to also consult the Ministry of Health’s website at https://www.ontario.ca/coronavirus for further information on how to protect yourself.

While the Ontario Small Claims Court is an important source of timely access to justice in Ontario, the health and safety of those who use and work in the Small Claims Court is our priority.

Thank you very much for your understanding and co-operation during this extraordinary time.

 

Geoffrey B. Morawetz
Chief Justice
Superior Court of Justice