The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“SCJ”) released an updated notice regarding the Suspension of Small Claims Court operations in Ontario, effective May 4, 2020.
The SCJ has advised that while many hearings in the Small Claims Court have been suspended, it will now hear urgent motions and garnishment hearings via teleconference or videoconference. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a judge. If the request is approved, the Small Claims Court will send an email providing the hearing date and time, and the documents required, which must be filed via email.
Materials and Filing Fees
The court will permit, on a case-by-case basis, the filing of unsworn affidavits if a party is unable to obtain a sworn one prior to filing its materials on the condition that a sworn affidavit will be provided prior to the hearing date or the affiant is available at the hearing to swear or affirm the affidavit.
Where the parties have delivered documents by email, they must also undertake to provide the same materials to the court and pay the necessary fees when the court counters reopen.
Counters Remain Closed
The counter services at the Small Claims Court will remain closed and filings will not be accepted in person. The Small Claims Court will grant extensions of time for filing materials during this emergency period once normal court operations resume. It should be noted that parties are still expected to comply with orders and rules requiring the delivery and service of documents between the parties.
Based on the Notice, it appears all other hearings will be remain suspended until further notice, including trials, settlement conferences, assessment hearings and motions which do not qualify has “urgent.”
If you have any questions about the above, please contact the writer or any member of our litigation team for assistance.