How much is a lot of money? This is a very personal question that depends upon many factors; how much is in the bank account; did your pay cheque bounce; how many of your kids are in day care; what is your rent; how much is your student loan?
The question popped in my head as I browsed an article by Diane Saxe via Lexology titled “My neighbour cut down my tree.” The article alerted me to the news that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Small Claims Court maximum claim amount is rising to $25,000 on January 1, 2010.
To put $25,000 in perspective, according to Statistics Canada, the median total income for an individual in 2006 was $26,500. Quick analysis of the table shows that only 52% of Canadians had more that $25,000 income in 2006. Something tells me that for the majority of Canadians $25,000 is not “small”.
The limit for a small claim amount differs for each Canadian jurisdiction and changes from time to time.
Alberta Provincial Court (Civil Division) – $25,000
Provincial Court of British Columbia – $25,000
Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, Small Claims Division – $10,000
Small Claims Court of New Brunswick – $6,000
Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Small Claims Court – $5,000
Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories – $10,000
Nova Scotia Small Claims Court – $25,000
Nunavut Court of Justice – Unified court, no separate small claims structure
Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Small Claims Court – $10,000, changing to $25,000 January 1, 2010
Prince Edward Island Supreme Court, Trial Division – $8,000
Court of Quebec, Civil Division– $7,000
Saskatchewan Provincial Court, Small Claims Division – $20,000
Yukon Small Claims Court – $25,000
Does it say anything about access to justice in Canada that civil claim monetary limits for our small claims courts are generally quite substantial sums?