On January 1, 2020, changes were implemented to the Simplified Treatment under Guideline 76 of the Ontario Guidelines of Civil Procedure, along with in Little Claims Court. The changes were given increase access to justice for people and businesses by lowering the expense of resolving disputes.

New Limitation in Small Claims Court

From now on, all claims of $35,000 or less are given Little Claims Court, an increase from the previous $20,000 limit. The small claims process is much more streamlined than a proceeding in Superior Court– after pleadings are closed, the celebrations set up a settlement conference, and if a matter does not settle, a hearing is arranged. Starting an action in Small Claims Court is likewise less dangerous for the prospective plaintiff– if a complainant loses, the worst-case circumstance is that this complainant will need to pay 15% of the award, a maximum of $5,250 in Costs to the other celebration. This limited danger can be appealing to complainants with restricted resources.

New Limitation for Simplified Treatment

All claims greater than $35,000 and under $200,000 need to now follow the Simplified Procedure, an increase from the previous $100,000 limitation. Other changes to the Simplified Procedure include capping Costs awards to $50,000, topping disbursements to $25,000, implementing expedited due dates, and restricting the trial to 5 days, among other changes.

Final Thoughts

Offered the basic apprehension surrounding litigation, these current modifications will be appealing to possible complainants wanting more certitude on legal charges, possible liability, and time, and might result in more actions being commenced by those who may have otherwise simply let it go. Complainants with claims in the greater dollar figure varieties may select to lower their claims in order to fall under the Simplified Treatment or the Small Claims Court. This indicates more actions being brought to Little Claims Court or under the Simplified Procedure. Provided the capped Costs liability, we may see plaintiffs less most likely to settle and more matters being taken to trial. In turn, this brand-new reality could impact the method employers resolve existing or possible conflicts with their employees. Only time will tell!

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This content was originally published here.