Serving small claims court forms in Ontario has become slightly more difficult since changes were made to the rule of the small claims court in January of 2010. Prior to 2010, the rules in the small claims court in Ontario were slightly more relaxed. The reason that they were more relaxed was because the size of claim that a plaintiff could file in the Ontario small claims court was limited to $10,000.00. The smaller limits meant that one party could serve another by regular mail.
The challenge was that many defendants would later make motions to set aside judgements against them based on improper service; claiming that they never received the small claims court forms at all.
The small claims court process for serving a small claims court form in Ontario was tightened because in January 2010 the Ontario small claims court limit for filing a plaintiff's claim was increased to $25,000. This raised the stakes and created an opportunity to reduce the number of motions filed for improper service by changing the small claims court process so that there would be more of a burden on the plaintiff to prove that they had served a defendant.
The new small claims court process for serving a small claims court form, like a plaintiffs claim, does not allow a plaintiff to serve a defendant by regular mail. Acceptable methods of serving a small claims court form in Ontario like a plaintiffs claim include:
1. Handing the plaintiffs claim to the defendant and then swearing an affidavit that you did so.
2. Using a courier to serve the plaintiffs claim on the defendant and retaining proof that they signed for the Ontario small claims court form.
3. Using registered mail to serve the plaintiffs claim on the defendant and retaining proof that they signed for the Ontario small claims court form.
4. Hiring a process server to serve the plaintiffs claim on the defendant.
Once you have served a small claims court form, like a plaintiffs claim, you will have to swear an affidavit of service that indicates how you served the small claims court form. You also have to bring proof to the court that the other side did receive service of the document. You can have an affidavit of service sworn by a notary and mail it in with your proof to be filed or you can visit the Ontario small claims court in person as all court clerks at the Ontario small claims court can swear affidavits.
The Ontario small claims court remains to be a place that is easy for individuals and businesses to access justice when trying to collect money that is owed to them. With higher small claims court limits, individuals can represent themselves without having to incur the expense of expensive lawyers and paralegals. The small claims court process is not complex and many Ontario small claims court forms including the plaintiffs claim can be created online using services like EasyCourt and then can be filed by mail.