Individuals and businesses can now file Ontario small claims court forms and pay court filing fees online, 24 hours a day. The new e-filing service, which allows filing many claims online any time, from anywhere, was officially announced April 8.
The moves builds on the success of a six-month pilot project that brought e-filing to Brampton, Oshawa, Ottawa and Richmond Hill. It expanded to include Toronto Small Claims Court in March. During the pilot phase, more than 2,000 claims were filed online and nearly 20 per cent of those claims were filed outside regular court hours.
Claims that are eligible for e-filing include those set out in a contract of $25,000 or less, such as unpaid accounts for goods and services, loans, credit card debt and overdue rent. Claims for amounts in dispute, including many claims related to personal injury, cannot be e-filed. The fees charged to file online are the same as those charged to file in person.
The move is part of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s “Better Justice Together” strategy. “E-filing is a simple, convenient way to file a claim in small claims court without entering a courthouse,” according to Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur.
David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, said making court services available online will ensure “faster and easier” access to government services when and where people need them.
There are two ways to file a small claim online:
- ‘Filing Wizard’ — Guides those unfamiliar with filing a claim through the process of submitting court documents and paying court filing fees.
- ‘Quick File’ — Gives legal professionals and others who frequently file small claims the option of uploading already completed forms.
The controversial Administrative Monetary Penalty system (AMPs), and a plan to offer online dispute resolution for some tribunals, are also part of the province’s justice strategy.