The Ontario Attorney General, Doug Downey has recently announced that the small claims court monetary jurisdiction will be increasing starting January 1, 2020. The increase will be from the current maximum claim value of $25,000 to $35,000. For many years there has been much conversation around the small claims monetary limit and whether increasing it was beneficial or not. With the increase to $35,000 limit, there is an argument to be made that this is a beneficial change to employment law matters.
Namely, there is often a discussion regarding where one’s matter should fall especially if it is on the verge between the small claims limit or just over. For example, if a claim was valued at $27,000, previously the plaintiff may have opted to cap their claim to $25,000 and proceed with small claims in consideration of the costs and less onerous procedure.
However, with a rather significant increase in the monetary limit, these “on the verge” matters will now be able to proceed through the small claims court process. Costs are typically lower through the small claims process and the procedure can be streamlined to ensure all runs smoothly.
Further, this increase allows the potential for wider and more inexpensive representation as small claims court is within the jurisdiction of both law students and paralegals, instead of lawyers-only in the superior court process. The increase in effect may ensue more paralegal and articling student representation.
While there are many self-represented litigants in small claims court, there is an inherent risk in increasing the jurisdiction of small claims means increasing self-represented litigation. However, this author would propose that the increase in the monetary limit provides for a greater incentive to pursue a matter through the small claims process – considering a $10,000 increase is a 40% increase– with the added benefit of lower costs and simplified process for a matter to be handled by a paralegal or law student.
Before moving forward with any legal action, namely in the revamped small claims court, seeking legal advice and receiving a consultation with a representative is strongly encouraged. Learn more about Daniel Pallag or our team and contact us today for a free 30 minute consultation.
Contact Monkhouse Law to receive more information about the small claims limit increase and how this can be beneficial for your matter.
Author: Daniel Pallag, Litigation Paralegal at Monkhouse Law– Small Claims Court and Human Rights Division.