E-Filing Comes to Ontario (Gradually)

The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced an electronic filing system for the Ontario Small Claims Court. For the moment, the system is active in only a few court locations, but the Ministry intends to have it working province-wide by early 2015. In addition, the system works for statements of claim and notices of default, but not for statements of defence or settlement conference documents.

A fuller description is here.

What do you think? Does this look like a workable operation, as far as it goes? Is it the basis for a complete e-filing system (i.e. including defence documents)? Is it sufficiently secure for its purposes? Would you expect to see the same kind of system used for e-filing in higher courts as well, or for greater sums of money than the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court ($25,000)?

Other comments or suggestions?


  1. They’re taking a deliberately cautious approach, testing the process and technology with a restricted set of forms, locations and case type, before widening the scope. Interesting. The problem of citizen identification is handled via One-key, which I don’t know much about.

  2. I’d be VERY interested in finding out how the process works – technically speaking that is.

    I can’t wait for the day that NFC makes its way into the filing process … i.e. preconfigured dedicated tablets that you load your filing onto, walk into the court house and hold it up to an interface at the filing clerk’s desk that then transfers the document and drops an “e-delivery” notification back into the device.

  3. They do what good tech startups do: roll out small pieces to get feedback and validate assumptions. I applaud MAG for that.

    It also looks like MAG is trying to bring the courts up to the Service Ontario standard in online services. It is not a bad standard at all.

    It would also be great to have an opt-in electronic document exchange. Let parties not only file but also serve each other electronically.