Updated: Nov 4
In Saskatchewan, civil claims under the The Small Claims Act, 2016, SS 2016,c S-50.12 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") are dealt with through the Provincial Court. One of the first things to consider when pursuing a claim under the Act is whether the claim fits into the monetary limits under the Act:
4(1) The maximum amount that may be claimed or the maximum value of the personal property or services with respect to which relief may be sought pursuant to this Act is the amount prescribed as the monetary limit.
(2) In determining whether a claim or counterclaim exceeds the monetary limit, the amount or value is to be calculated without taking into consideration interest or costs.
(3) No person shall divide a claim or counterclaim that exceeds the monetary limit into two or more claims or counterclaims.
(4) If a claim or counterclaim exceeds the monetary limit, the person making the claim or counterclaim may abandon that part of the claim or counterclaim that is in excess of the monetary limit.
The monetary limit for claims under the Act is prescribed by the The Small Claims Regulations, 2017, RRS c S-50.12 Reg 1 :
3(1) For the purposes of subsection 4(1) of the Act, the monetary limit is $30,000.
The Small Claims Act, 2016, SS 2016 section 3 outlines what claims the court under the Act has powers to hear:
Application of the Act
3(1) Subject to section 4, this Act applies, whether or not the Crown is a party to the action, to any claim or counterclaim for:
(a) debt or damages;
(b) recovery of personal property, including personal property:
(i) improperly paid or transferred to a party; or
(ii) paid or transferred in error to a party;
(c) compensation for goods or services:
(i) improperly transferred or provided to a party; or
(ii) transferred or provided in error to a party;
(d)specific performance or rescission of an agreement relating to personal
property or services; or
(e) relief from opposing claims to personal property. (2) This Act does not apply to a claim for libel, slander, malicious arrest, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment.
Section 3(2) of the Act outlines some expressly prohibited claims:
(2) This Act does not apply to a claim for libel, slander, malicious arrest, malicious prosecution or false imprisonment.
Most civil claims seeking a principal amount of $30,000 or less are available through the Act, some are excluded. Some claims are expressly prohibited, such as slander, libel, malicious arrest, malicious prosecution, and false imprisonment. Other claims are implicitly excluded due to the Provincial Court not having those powers outlined in the Act. Implicitly excluded claims include all equitable relief which is not granted as a power under the Act. Equitable relief is a form of non-monetary remedy that can include injunctive relief, striking down a law, and reading down a law. Equitable relief appears to, generally, be limited to the recovery of personal property, specific performance and/or rescission of an agreement relating to personal property or services, and relief from opposing claims to personal property.
Other claims which may not be pursuable under the Act include areas that have a tribunal or court designed to deal with those specific issues. Residential tenancies and their agreements under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, SS 2006, c R-22.0001 may be one of those areas of law. As outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, SS 2006, c R-22.0001:
What this Act applies to
3(1) Notwithstanding any other Act but subject to section 5, this Act applies to tenancy agreements, rental units and other residential property.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, this Act applies to a tenancy agreement entered into before, on or after the date on which this Act comes into force.
Appointment of director and continuation of office
14(1) The minister may appoint a Director of Residential Tenancies and one or more deputy directors.
(2) The Office of the Rentalsman continued pursuant to The Residential Tenancies Act, as that Act existed on the day before the coming into force of section 1 of this Act, is continued as the Office of Residential Tenancies.
(3) The Office of Residential Tenancies is to consist of:
(a) the director and any deputy directors; and
(b) any other officers and employees who are necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the office and who are appointed in accordance with The Public Service Act, 1998.
Claims/applications under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, SS 2006, c R-22.0001 are generally brought before the Office of Residential Tenancies which is a specialized administrative tribunal set up to deal with this area of law. It is not entirely clear whether the Office of the Residential Tenancies has exclusive jurisdiction over these matters, conflicting information is available. No strong stance can be taken at this time regarding whether the Office of the Residential Tenancies has exclusive jurisdiction over it's powers, or whether it shares concurrent jurisdiction with the Provincial Court under the Act.
Most civil claims for money or property worth a principal amount of $30,000, along with the limited remedies of equity, can be pursued under The Small Claims Act, 2016, SS 2016, c S-50.12 but are limited in a few ways. Unless the claim is excluded by the limits of the specified powers conferred on the court by the Act, or are more appropriately dealt with in another jurisdiction, there is a good chance that your claim can be pursued in the Provincial Court under The Small Claims Act. Contact Joseph Gelinas of Gelinas Limited Scope Legal Services for a free no-obligation to retain 30 minute phone consultation at 705 737 6451, or email GelinasLegal@gmail.com to schedule a consultation. For information on my acceptable scope of practice under the Limited Licensing Pilot (Law Society of Saskatchewan), click here. For information on what kind of agreement constitutes a contract, click here.
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