Enforcing a judgment

Region: Ontario Answer Number: 472

After a trial, the winning party will have to take steps to collect the judgment ordered by the court. This person is called the creditor, and the unsuccessful party who must pay the judgment is called the debtor. If you are the creditor, you or your lawyer should communicate with the debtor to make sure that the person knows how and where to pay you. If you have trouble receiving payment from the debtor, you may take steps to enforce your judgment.

Enforcing a judgment can take many forms. For example, you can ask for:

  • an Examination in Aid of Execution
  • if employed, an application to garnish the debtor's wages
  • if the debtor is a landlord, an application to garnish rents
  • an application to seize and sell the debtor's personal and/or real property

If an individual has not been paying their debt under the court order, an important step is the Examination in Aid of Execution. The debtor must attend in court and must answer questions under oath. The debtor may be asked questions in relation to:

  • reason for non-payment
  • information about the debtor's income and assets
  • debts owed to the debtor
  • other debts owed by the debtor
  • any sale or disposal of property made by the debtor, either before or after the court order
  • whether the debtor intends to obey the court order, or, if not, the reason why
  • the debtor's means to pay the order
  • any other issue that is relevant to the judgment

Enforcing a judgment in the Superior Court of Justice is much more complicated than the Small Claims Court process. The main difference is that in Small Claims Court the process is largely handled by the court with the creditor being required to complete information using standard forms. In the higher courts, the process is handled by the creditor or the creditor's lawyer and the documents used are developed based on the specific situation. In addition, the legal issues are much simpler and the monetary limits are much lower in Small Claims Court.

If you wish to enforce a judgment in the Superior Court of Justice, you should seek the assistance of your lawyer.

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