Melanie Hodges Neufeld
As noted on the government’s website, new small claims legislation will come into force on January 1, 2018. The government news release states:
The legislation is the result of recommendations that came out of the small claims review that took place in 2015.
“This new legislation fulfills our commitment to review and improve the small claims process as part of our ongoing efforts to improve access to justice in this province,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said. “With this legislation, we’re hoping to make the small claims process easier to navigate and less costly for the people of Saskatchewan.”
The Small Claims Act, 2016 will replace the current Small Claims Act, 1997. Changes to the legislation will modernize and prevent abuse of the small claims process, and encourage parties to resolve disputes in a timely, more cost-effective manner. Measures will continue to be put in place to assist self-represented litigants, including the ability to submit documentation by email or regular mail in appropriate circumstances.
Other notable updates include expanded authority for the Small Claims Court to order costs against parties and make findings of contempt in appropriate circumstances, and a new requirement for defendants to file a reply to a claim.
The first changes to the small claims process resulting from the review were made in February 2016, when government increased the maximum limit for small claims judgments from $20,000 to $30,000.
Small claims actions in Saskatchewan fall under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court.