Although CFIB does not provide legal advice, from time to time business owners ask us about the small claims court system. The intent of this web post is to share insight and links about the process.
Businesses can use Manitoba's Small Claims Court to collect outstanding debts up to a maximum of $15,000.00 (excluding interest, costs and disbursements). The claim may include general damages up to $2,000.00.
It is an informal process and you can represent yourself, or have legal counsel. It's important to know that if your business is awarded a judgement by the court, the court will not collect the money for you.
To file a claim, you must have the full, complete name and address of the other party. If needed, run a business name search with the Manitoba Companies Office (phone 204-945-2500 or 1-888-246-8353).
You can file a claim at the nearest Court of Queen's Bench location. The general rule is that a claim should be heard at the court location nearest to where the defendant lives or where the dispute happened.
There is a $50 filing fee for claims under $5,000 and $75 for amounts between $5,001 and $15,000.
You can use different methods to deliver your claim to the defendant, including personal delivery and registered mail.
Small claims court staff can:
- answer questions about the process
- tell you if your forms are ready to be filed
- provide information about mediation as an alternative to the small claims process
- provide information on how to get a lawyer
Small claims court staff can not:
- give advice on who to name as claimants or defendants
- give advice about your claim
- help complete your forms
A hearing will be set so the claim can be heard and decided by a court officer. While the court will not collect money awarded for you, there are a few ways it can help you collect the funds, including:
- Notice of garnishment on wages or bank account ($50 filing fee)
- Certificate of Judgement attached to a land title ($20 filing fee)
- Writ of Seizure and Sale for sheriff to obtain and sell goods ($20 filing fee, plus sheriff's enforcement costs)
Either party can appeal the decision within 30 days. A $35 filing fee is required.
Businesses who are members of CFIB can contact a CFIB Business Counsellor for more information. We are unable to provide legal advice, but can answer general questions. Call 1-888-234-2232 or send an email to [email protected].