So, you’ve finally had your day in court. A judge has ruled in your favour and has written an order that sets out what you are entitled to. That’s great!
Now you might be wondering, how do I collect? If you’re in Ontario, the Rules of Civil Procedure provide several methods for enforcing an order or judgment.
Under Rule 60, there are six principal ways of enforcing a judgment in Ontario:
- Writ of Seizure and Sale (Rule 60.07) – Indicated by its name, a writ of seizure and sale involves seizing and selling property of the debtor to recover money that is owed. These functions are carried out by the local sheriff.
- Writ of Delivery (Rule 60.04) – A writ of delivery permits the sheriff to take personal property from the debtor and return it to the creditor.
- Garnishment (Rule 60.08) – A creditor under an order for the payment or recovery of money may enforce it by garnishment of debts payable to the debtor by other persons. This is done by issuing and serving a Notice of Garnishment on persons that the judgment creditor believes may owe the debtor money (i.e. the debtor’s employer).
- Writ of Sequestration (Rule 60.09) – A writ of sequestration will direct a sheriff to take possession of the debtor’s property until the debtor complies with the order. Note that a writ of sequestration can only be issued with leave of the court.
- Writ of Possession (Rule 60.10) – A writ of possession may be granted for possession of the debtor’s land. Similar to a writ of sequestration, this can only be issued with leave of the court. A writ of possession is often used in conjunction with a writ of seizure and sale or in power of sale proceedings.
- Contempt Order (Rule 60.11) – A litigant may be found in contempt if the litigant refuses to abide by a court order. For example, if a judgment debtor refuses to attend a judgment debtor examination, or if a judgment debtor is taking steps to frustrate a judgment creditor’s collection of money, the court may hold the debtor in contempt. Upon issuing a contempt order, a judge has wide discretion, and may order any one or more of the following: imprisonment; payment of a fine; do or refrain from doing an act; pay such costs as are just; or comply with any other order the judge considers necessary.
Also note that Rule 60.02 (1) (d) permits for the appointment of a receiver for the recovery of money in addition to any other method of enforcement.
Finally, there are 66 Sheriff’s Offices in Ontario. To execute upon a writ, you must first arrange for the court to issue the appropriate form of writ and for it to be directed to the local sheriff where the property is located. Then, you must file the writ with the local sheriff and provide specific instructions to the sheriff with respect to enforcement. Also, keep in mind that writs expire six years from the date that they’re issued, but can be renewed prior to their expiry.
Ultimately, each case is different. The most efficient method of enforcement will depend on the specific circumstances that each debtor faces.
Take note that these methods of enforcement only apply to judgments being enforced in Ontario. Enforcing judgments outside of the province or country are subject to the laws of the governing jurisdiction.
If you’re having difficulty enforcing a judgment in Ontario, contact our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 647-951-8661.
This entry was authored by Scott Lemke and Emma Chapple.
Information herein is NOT legal, financial or investment advice. Should you have questions with respect to the information herein, please contact Lemke Law Professional Corporation.