Do Not Delay When Serving The Plaintiff’s Claim
As a preliminary note, a Plaintiff must ensure not wait too long to serve the Plaintiff’s Claim. Under Rule 8 (2), a Plaintiff has six months to serve the Plaintiff’s Claim after it is issued. If the Plaintiff misses the deadline, he may have to bring a motion to allow extended service, but such a step is costly and time-consuming, so a Plaintiff is better off not waiting.
Service On an Individual Defendant
Say the Defendant is an individual, then the Defendant can be served in the following ways:
1) hand delivery – 8.02(a)
2) if the Defendant is not home, by leaving a copy of the Plaintiff’s Claim with an adult member of the Defendant’s household and mailing a copy the same day or following day- 8.03 (2)
3) If the Defendant is represented by a lawyer, by leaving a copy of the Plaintiff’s Claim with the Defendant’s lawyer, but note that the lawyer must endorse acceptance of the claim on the claim itself. – 8.03 (5)
4) by registered mail or courier to the individual’s residence, if the individual’s signature verifying receipt is obtained. – 8.03(7)
Service On a Corporate Defendant
Say the Defendant is a corporation, then the Defendant can be served in the following ways:
1) hand delivery to an officer, director or agent of the corporation or at the address of the corporation with anyone who appears to be in management or control of the business – 8.02 (c)
2) by mail to the last known corporate address and a copy to each director of the company. 8.03 (3)
3) If the Defendant has a lawyer, by leaving a copy of the Plaintiff’s Claim with the Defendant’s lawyer, but note that the lawyer must endorse acceptance of the claim on the claim itself. – 8.03 (5)
Note, however, by mailing the Plaintiff’s Claim to the corporate Defendant, service is effected after 5 days. So, for example, say a Plaintiff mailed a Plaintiff’s Claim to the Defendant on April 1, service is only effective April 6 (5 days after mailing the Plaintiff’s Claim). Because the small claims court rules allow a corporate Defendant 20 days to defend a claim, if the Defendant serves the Plaintiff’s Claim by mail on April 1, the Defendant has 26 days from then to defend (5 days to effect service and 20 days to then defend).
The above article, is not intended as an exhaustive discussion of all rules of service in the Ontario small claims court, but rather a brief overview of the main points. Further, the rules are constantly being updated. Therefore, please refer to Rule 8 of the Small Claims Court Rules