Effective January 1, 2020, there will be significant changes to how litigation is conducted for claims that fall under the Simplified Procedure under rule 76 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Small Claims Court matters. The amendments aim for faster and more affordable means for parties to resolve their disputes.
Most notably, the monetary jurisdiction for Simplified Procedure matters will be increasing from $100,000 to $200,000. The claim limit for Small Claims Court is increasing from $25,000 to $35,000, and the minimum amount that can be appealed from Small Claims to Divisional Court has increased from $2,500 to $3,500.
Time Limit for Examination for Discovery
Simplified Procedure actions currently limit oral examinations for discovery to be conducted by each party to a total of two hours. In line with the increase in monetary jurisdiction, the amendments will increase the time limit for oral discovery from two to three hours.
There will be a restriction on the costs that a party may recover under Simplified Procedure. No party may recover costs exceeding $50,000 or disbursements exceeding $25,000, exclusive of HST (notwithstanding the costs consequences of non-compliant actions within the monetary jurisdictions of the Rules of Civil Procedure).
Other efforts to streamline and reduce the cost of litigation of Simplified Procedure include:
The changes, including the new limit on costs and disbursements and monetary jurisdictions, will not apply to actions commenced before January 1, 2020. However, litigants who started an action in the Superior Court can seek to transfer their case to Small Claims Court if the action falls within the monetary threshold.