On January 1, 2010 a number of changes to Ontario rules of civil procedure took effect, including a change to the monetary limit for awards in small claims court. Previously the maximum award that could be won in small claims was $10,000, but this amount has now been raised to $25,000. The rationale for the change is to speed up civil cases and lower costs.
Historically, small claims court has been where the ordinary citizen could seek a legal remedy for disputes involving small sums. It is inexpensive, its rules are simpler and most people can access small claims court without assistance of counsel. It is anticipated that the raising of the limits will potentially capture claims in the $10,000 to $25,000 range that previously could not be pursued affordably in Superior Court, and will result in more cases being brought forward to Small Claims Court.
This is good information to know, if your sport organization is involved in any small or medium-sized disputes. As well, these reforms will potentially affect most NSOs, as their head offices, for legal purposes, are located in Ontario.
Originally published: Centre for Sport and Law Newsletter (2010) Vol. 6(1)