1. Decide if you want to sue

Suing isn’t always the best option. Here are some reasons you may not want to sue:

  • You have to pay court and filing fees.
  • If you lose, the court could order you to pay some or all of the legal costs of the person you tried to sue.
  • It may take a long time, even over a year, to get a decision.
  • It can take a lot of work to sue someone, especially if you don’t have a lawyer or paralegal.

And, even if you win at Small Claims Court, the person you sued might not pay you. This might be because they don’t have any money or property that can be used to pay you, or because they don’t agree with the judge’s decision. It’s up to you to collect the money once you have a court order.

Other solutions

Before you decide to sue someone, think about other ways to solve the problem such as:

  • sending a letter demanding they pay the money they owe you by a specific date
  • getting a mediator to help resolve your issue

Depending on what you’re suing for, you might be able to settle your dispute through:

Decide if you should file online

You can file your claim at the courthouse in person using a paper form or online using the Small Claims Court e-filing service on the Government of Ontario website.

If you have a low income and think you may qualify for a fee waiver, you should use the paper form. If you get a fee waiver, this means you don’t have to pay court fees. You can’t ask for a fee waiver if you use the e-filing service.

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