Ontario expands online services for small claims court

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The Ontario government is  expanding online services for the small claims court, making it easier for Ontarians to file claims.

Now, all small claims up to $25,000 can be filed online through a convenient, around-the-clock service including claims for amounts that are not definite or exact, such as an award for property damage or personal injury.

Small claims court e-filing has been available since August 2014 for amounts fixed under a contract or agreement, such as unpaid loans, credit card debt and overdue rent.

The online service allows individuals and businesses across Ontario to prepare and submit forms online, pay court fees securely using debit or credit cards, and receive court-issued documents by email without having to go to a courthouse.

There are two convenient ways to file online:

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‘Filing Wizard’ can help people representing themselves and who are unfamiliar with the small claims court process. The wizard guides users through the process of creating and submitting small claims court documents and paying fees online.

‘Quick File’ allows legal professionals and regular users of small claims court to quickly and easily upload court documents that have already been completed offline.

The small claims court online filing service was piloted in Brampton, Oshawa, Ottawa and Richmond Hill in August 2014, and was later expanded to Toronto and the rest of the province in 2015. Since the pilot launched, almost 20,000 claims have been filed online, and 15 per cent of those claims were filed outside regular court hours. Small claims court e-filing is delivered securely through ServiceOntario. The fees charged to file online are the same as those charged to file in person.

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David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, said: “The expanded options for filing small claims reflect ServiceOntario’s commitment to help the Ontario government provide better access to services online. It’s a great example of using technology to deliver more simple and straightforward public services that are intuitive and easy to use.” – CINEWS

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