Ont. employers could see spike in lawsuits

Changes in court rules make it easier for employees to sue
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/18/2009

In a few months, Ontario employers may be in court more often over employment disputes. That’s because, on Jan. 1, 2010, the maximum damages in small claims court are rising from $10,000 to $25,000.

The court is designed for simpler and less costly actions — plaintiffs often represent themselves and there is less responsibility for the losing side to pay legal costs. This change will likely result in employees with slightly larger claims, who might have been discouraged from filing a lawsuit in the more costly and complicated higher courts, deciding to bring actions against employers, said Daniel Lublin, founding partner of Toronto employment law firm Whitten and Lublin.

As a result, employers could be bogged down with more claims that don’t necessarily have merit from employees emboldened by the decreased risk of going to court on their own.