5. Serve the defendant

When you file your claim online, it is issued when the emails it back to you signed, dated, and with a court file number and the court seal on it.

You must give each a copy of:

  • the stamped Plaintiff’s Claim
  • all the documents you filed with the court

When you do this in a way that follows the court’s rules, it’s called serving the documents.

You must your documents within 6 months of your claim being issued. If you miss the deadline, the court may refuse to let your case go to court and you could lose the right to sue.

Serve your claim

You can serve your claim in person or hire a .

A process server is someone you can hire to serve documents to another person for you. To find a process server in your area, go to www.canada411.ca and search for “process server”.

You can also serve your claim by or courier. Keep a copy of the mail or courier slip as proof that the documents have been served.

If the defendant is a company, the claim must be served on a manager at the place where they run their business. Get the name of the person you served, and make a note of the date and time they were served.

Some people refuse to take the documents. If this happens, the documents can be dropped on the floor in front of them. This counts as serving them.

The Guide to Serving Documents explains the rules that must be followed.

Complete the affidavit

The person who serves the claim must fill out an Affidavit of Service. This proves to the court that the claim was served on the defendant.

The Affidavit of Service includes information about:

  • the date and time the claim was given to the defendant
  • where it was served
  • the first and last name of the person it was given to
  • whether it was served in person, by courier, or by registered mail

The person who completes the Affidavit of Service must swear or affirm it is true. This means they promise that the information in the document is correct. They do this by signing the Affidavit in front of someone who has the authority to supervise an or . Court clerks at the Small Claims Court can do this for free. Lawyers, paralegals, and individuals called commissioners of affidavits can also do this, but they usually charge a fee.

File the affidavit

Once the Affidavit of Service has been completed and signed, scan it and file it online.

To do this:

  1. Log in to your ONe-key account.
  2. Click Next steps. Step 2 – Serve defendants will be highlighted at the top of the page.
  3. Click Upload and file affidavit.
  4. Click the box beside the name of the defendant you served.
  5. Upload the scanned copy of the Affidavit of Service. Also upload any supporting documents like receipts from registered mail or couriers.
  6. Enter the date the defendant was served. Confirm that their contact information is correct. Click Review information before submitting.
  7. Check that all of the details are right, and then click Submit.

The defendant has 20 days after you serve them to respond to your claim.

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