News & Views

Small Claim Limit Increase
October 31, 2019

Small Claim Limit Increase

Written by Amanda Maio 

The Small Claims Court is going to start taking a bigger piece of the litigation pie. Starting January 1, 2020, the claim limit will increase to $35,000.00. Currently the Small Claims Court limit is $25,000.00, with all claims over that being required to proceed in the Superior Court of Justice. This is the second increase in ten years as in 2010 the limit increased from $10,000.00 to $25,000.00.

The goal of the limit increase is to allow for more matters to be dealt with in a quicker and more cost-efficient manner. The Small Claims Court allows for parties to be self-represented as well as to be represented by paralegals and law students. Colleen Wansbrough, Second Vice-President of the Ontario Paralegal Association is pleased with the limit increase and stated,

"These changes will cut down wait times in courtrooms, and give parties more cost efficient representation options such as paralegals. The Ontario Paralegal Association is pleased with the current changes and is looking forward to continuing to work with the Ministry of the Attorney General to improve access to justice".

The Ontario Government is also hopeful that the limit increase will help reduce the wait times in the Superior Court of Justice.* 

The question remains as to whether the government will continue to increase the limit over the years in an attempt to alleviate the backlog in the Superior Court of Justice. If so, the Small Claims Court could have a $50,000.00 limit by 2030. We will keep you posted.

If you have any questions regarding the matter, please do not hesitate to contact Amanda Maio directly at [email protected] or at 905 763 3770 x 209. 

*The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.

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*Ministry of the Attorney General. Ontario Making it Faster, Easier, More Affordable to Settle Small Claims. Web. October 23 2019.

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About the Author:

Amanda Maio focuses primarily in the area of commercial litigation. Through the continued mentorship and guidance of the experienced litigation lawyers at FIJ, Amanda works with both large financial institutions and individual clients to support their litigation needs.           

REMINDER: CANADA LABOUR CODE - New Rules in force as of SEPTEMBER 1st 2019
October 16, 2019

REMINDER: CANADA LABOUR CODE - New Rules in force as of SEPTEMBER 1st 2019

Written by Ryan Hanna 

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting
the old but on building the new.” Socrates

According to the government statistics, almost six percent of all Canadian workers are employed in a federally regulated industry. This amounts to about 900,000 employees and their 18,000 employers*. Federally regulated industries include banks, marine shipping, ferry and port services, telephone, telegraph and cable systems, and railway and road transportation, and private business necessary to the operation of a federal act, to name just a few.

If you happen to be an employee or employer in one of these, or other federally regulated areas, then you are subject to the provisions of the Canada Labour Code. On September 1, 2019, a sweeping collection of changes to that legislation came into force and all regulated employers must comply with those changes. These changes were implemented with an eye on modernizing work arrangements, which among other things includes the addition of flexibility and predictability to work time and hours and expanded entitlements to leave. 

For example, as of September 1, 2019, some of the key changes included:

1. Expanded entitlements to Leave: 

  • Aboriginal employees are now entitled to take up to 5 days of unpaid leave for the purposes of participating in traditional Aboriginal practices. This can include hunting, fishing and harvesting. 
  • Where an employee has experienced the passing of a family member, they are now entitled to 5 days of bereavement leave instead of 3. The first 3 days must be paid.
  • Employees are now eligible for up to 10 days of leave per year (5 days are paid) where the employee is a victim of family violence or where the employee is a parent of a victim of family violence. 

​2. Flexible Work:

  • Federally regulated employees now have the right to work out flexible work arrangements with their employers including modified hours of work, location of work and work schedules. An employee seeking such an arrangement must request the change in writing and the employer is required to respond within 30 days, with either a positive or negative answer including reasons where there is a refusal. Employers are also subject to restricted grounds for refusal, such as where the arrangement would negatively impact the employee’s quality or quantity of work, or the ability of the employer to meet customer demands.

3. Vacation - Employees are now entitled to increased annual vacation as follows:

  • 2 weeks of vacation time after 1 year of service 
  • 3 weeks of vacation time after 5 years of service 
  • 4 weeks of vacation time after 10 years of service 

The above noted changes represent only a small sample of the amendments that federally regulated employers are now subject to. If you are one of those employers then, hopefully, this is just a reminder to ensure your practices and procedures are up to date.

If this is a wakeup call and/or you are only now looking to make necessary changes then you are strongly encouraged to act as quickly as possible since non-compliance can result in potentially significant fines. 

If you are already implementing the new regime but have questions about how certain aspects of the law are to be implemented or interpreted, the federal government has conveniently published, on August 30, 2019, a set of “IPGs” or interpretations, policies and guidelines which can be very helpful to getting fully up to speed or just addressing circumstances as they arise*.

If you have any questions regarding the matter, please do not hesitate to contact Ryan Hanna directly at [email protected] or at 905 763 3770 x 250. 

*The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.

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*https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/employment-equity/regulated-industries.html

*IPGS: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/laws-regulations/labour/interpretations-policies.html


 About the Author:

Ryan Hanna regularly acts on a range of legal matters and maintains a business oriented focus to his litigation practice, assisting clients with commercial disputes ranging from shareholder actions and wrongful dismissal claims to real estate, commercial leasing and construction lien matters, secured and unsecured debt enforcement, residential tenancy disputes and trademark infringement.