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Home > Legal Topic > Family Law > Going to family court > What is a case conference in my family law court case and what happens at one?

3. Serve your documents

Question

What is a case conference in my family law court case and what happens at one?

Next Steps

1. Get a case conference date
2. Fill out your forms
3. Serve your documents

4. Prepare for your case conference
5. Go to your case conference

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Related Questions
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Learn more about this topic
An Introduction to Family Law in Ontario
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
A Guide to Procedures in Family Court
Ministry of the Attorney General
What Can I Expect When I Go to the Courthouse?
Law Society of Ontario
Representing Yourself at Your Family Law Trial – A Guide
Ontario Court of Justice
A Guide to Process for Family Cases at the Superior Court of Justice
The Superior Court of Justice

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What is a case conference in my family law court case and what happens at one?

This question has an answer and 5 steps
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2

3

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5

3. Serve your documents

You must serve your partner with a copy of your documents and Form 17: Conference Notice at least 6 days before the date of your case conference . Rule 6: Service of documents tells you how to serve your documents .

There is also a guide on how to serve documents .

Rule 3: Time tells you how to count time or days. Counting time or days is important because court staff won’t accept your documents if you have not followed the rules.

For example, if you have more than 7 days to serve or file your documents or to confirm your court date, then Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when court offices are closed are counted.

But if you have less than 7 days to serve or file your documents or to confirm your court date, then Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when court offices are closed are not counted.

Whoever serves the documents on your partner must fill out Form 6B: Affidavit of Service . In it, they say when, where, and how they served your partner. The form proves that your partner got a copy of your documents and knows that they have to respond to them.

File your documents

You need to go back to the courthouse once your partner has been served, to file your documents, including your Form 17: Conference Notice and Form 6B: Affidavit of Service . You must do this at least 4 days before the conference date.

There is a guide on how to file documents . You do this at the court counter, with the help of the court clerk .

You add Form 6B: Affidavit of Service to your continuing record. The continuing record is your court file that has all the important documents in your case. When you add a document to the continuing record, you also have to update the table of contents by listing each document you’re filing.

You add your case conference brief to your court file, not to the continuing record. It goes in your court file so the judge can read it before your conference. It is given back to you after your case conference is over. This is because discussions at a case conference are private and can’t be shared with another judge.

You May Also Need

Tips on Serving Documents
Ontario Court Forms

Reviewed: July 1, 2018
NEXT STEP – 4. Prepare for your case conference
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Question

What is a case conference in my family law court case and what happens at one?

Next Steps

1. Get a case conference date
2. Fill out your forms
3. Serve your documents

4. Prepare for your case conference
5. Go to your case conference

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Ministry of the Attorney General
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Ministry of the Attorney General

Guide to Serving Documents

Small Claims Court

Ministry of the Attorney General

Special thanks to the Province of British Columbia whose
Small Claims Court self-help materials served as a model for this series of
Guides.

ISBN 978-1-4868-2623-0

© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2018

About this guide:

The information
contained in this guide is simply an overview of the relevant legislation and
rules of procedure. It is not intended to be a substitute for the Rules of
the Small Claims Court, which should be examined for specific information.
Nothing contained, expressed or implied in this guide is intended as, or
should be taken or understood as, legal advice. If you have any legal
questions, you should see a lawyer or licensed paralegal.

Guides are
available in English and French at www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral .
Visit
this site for information about accessible formats.

Les guides sont affichées en anglais et en français sur
le site www.ontario.ca/procureurgeneral .
Visitez ce site pour des renseignements sur des formats accessibles.

Where to get more information:

The Ministry of the Attorney General has a
series of guides to Small Claims Court procedures which are available
at court offices and the Ministry of the Attorney General website at

www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral :

  • What
    is Small Claims Court?
  • Guide
    to Making a Claim
  • Guide
    to Replying to a Claim
  • Guide
    to Serving Documents
  • Guide
    to Motions and Clerk’s Orders
  • Guide
    to Getting Ready for Court
  • Guide
    to Fee Schedules
  • After
    Judgment – Guide to Getting Results
  • Guide
    to Money Paid into Court

Small Claims Court forms are
available at court offices and at the following website:

www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca . You can find tips
on completing forms at the end of this guide.

The staff behind
the counter at any Small Claims Court office are helpful. They will answer
your questions about Small Claims Court procedures, but keep in mind that
they cannot give legal advice and they cannot fill out your forms for you.

For more detailed information, you should
refer to the Rules of the Small Claims Court. It is a
regulation made under the authority of the Courts of Justice Act. To
view the Rules on-line, go to www.ontario.ca/laws/regulations/980258 .

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Part One: Serving a claim
  3. Part Two: Service of defence
  4. Part Three: Personal service and alternatives
    to personal service
  5. Part Four: Service of particular documents
  6. Part Five: General service information
  7. Part Six: Service chart for parties

Introduction

A lot of paperwork is involved in most court
cases, and it is important that copies of documents get to everyone who needs
them.

"Serving" documents means providing copies
of documents to all other parties in a court case. Documents must be served at
each step in the court process, unless the Rules of the Small Claims Court
(after this, referred to as the Rules) provide otherwise. By serving the
other parties, you are notifying them of the step you are taking and of
the information you will be presenting to the court, and giving them an
opportunity to respond.

The Rules
have specific requirements about service of documents. The Rules describe
which party must serve a document, how service should be made, how particular
kinds of entities (such as corporations or government) may be served, and the
timelines for service.

Whether you
are serving a Plaintiff’s Claim [Form 7A] or Defendant’s Claim [Form 10A] , or serving other documents (for example, a Notice of Garnishment [Form 20E] or Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit [Form 15A] ) this guide will attempt to
help you understand the importance of serving the documents properly (as set
out in the Rules) and answer some general questions about serving
documents.

This guide is divided into five parts:

Part One:
Serving a Claim

Part Two:
Personal Service and Alternatives to Personal Service

Part Three:
Service of Particular Documents

Part Four:
General Service Information

Part Five:
Service Chart for Parties

Remember, in Small Claims Court parties arrange
for service of their own documents. You can:

  • serve the documents yourself;
  • have a friend, a business associate, or a private process server
    serve the documents for you; or
  • have your representative arrange for service of your documents.

The person serving the documents should make
careful, detailed notes regarding the name of the person served, the date,
time, and manner of service made, and any other related details. This will
assist later when the person prepares an affidavit of service. An affidavit of
service is a sworn or affirmed statement that tells the court who was served,
and when and how service was made. You can find more information on affidavits
of service in Part Four of this guide.

Note: Throughout this guide, portions of
Rule 8 of the Rules regarding service have been reproduced for your
assistance. Additional information has also been provided to clarify this
rule. However, you should always refer to the actual Rules. The
excerpts from the Rules and the Courts of Justice Act are current
as of the date of this guide. You should always check the Rules and the
Courts of Justice Act and ensure your information is current.
Instructions for viewing the Rules on-line are provided at the front of
this guide.

For more information about procedures in Small
Claims Court, please refer to the list of guides at the front of this guide.

Part One: Serving a claim

In Part One of this guide, we provide information
on how a Plaintiff’s
Claim [Form 7A] and a Defendant’s
Claim [Form 10A] may be served.

How does a plaintiff serve a
claim?

A claim is the
first official notice of the case that the defendant (the person you are suing)
will have. For this reason, there are special requirements for serving the
claim in the Rules. The Rules provide for several specific types
of service of a claim. How you serve the claim, and on whom, depends on what
type of defendant is being sued (for example, whether the defendant is a person
or a company).

Excerpt
from the Rules

Plaintiff’s
or Defendant’s Claim

8.01(1) A plaintiff’s
claim or defendant’s claim (Form 7A or 10A) shall be served personally as
provided in rule 8.02 or by an alternative to personal service as provided in
rule 8.03.

How long does the plaintiff have
to serve the claim?

A plaintiff’s claim and defendant’s claim must be
served on the defendant within six months after the date the claim is issued by
the court. If there is more than one defendant in the case, all defendants must
be served within this timeframe.

How can the plaintiff extend the
time for service of the claim?

A plaintiff can file
a motion to request an order to extend the time for service. You must explain
to the judge why you were not able to serve the claim within the six months.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Time
for Service of Claim

8.01(2) A claim shall be
served within six months after the date it is issued, but the court may
extend the time for service, before or after the six months has elapsed.

Refer
to the “Guide to Motions and Clerk’s Orders” for more information on making a
motion.

What if I want to serve a claim on
a party who is out of province?

If the person you are suing normally lives in
Ontario but is away (for example, working on a job in Montreal), you can serve
the claim on the person in Montreal just as you would if he or she were in
Ontario.

If the person lives or
carries on business outside of Ontario, you could serve your claim on the
person outside of Ontario just as you would if he or she lived or carried on
business in Ontario. If you request it, the court may award additional costs to
you to cover any extra expense involved in serving the claim outside Ontario.

What if I am unable to serve my
claim?

When you try to serve your claim, you
might find that the party has moved and you cannot find a forwarding address.
You might believe that the party knows you are trying to serve the claim and is
avoiding you. In either case, you may file a motion to seek an order for
substituted service under Rule 8.04. The method ordered by the court is
substituted for the method(s) of service allowed for that particular document
and on that particular party in the Rules.

Excerpt from the Rules

Substituted Service

8.04 If it is shown that it is impractical
to effect prompt service of a claim personally or by an alternative to
personal service, the court may allow substituted service.

For more information about making a motion, refer to the
“Guide to Motions and Clerk’s Orders.”

What types of substituted service
of a claim can I ask for?

The judge will decide what kind of substituted
service will be permitted. Examples of substituted service you might request
are:

  • leaving the claim with a relative of the defendant;
  • mailing the claim to the address of the defendant’s employer; or
  • posting the claim on the door of a particular residence or other
    place.

Before asking for an order for
substituted service, you should already have tried several times to serve the
document by the method or methods provided by the Rules. Be prepared to
give details of how you tried to serve the claim, what happened and why the
method of service you are asking for will succeed.

Example 1

Meera wants to
serve Norman with a plaintiff’s claim but she cannot find him. She makes a
motion for substituted service requesting that the judge make an order
allowing her to serve him by giving a copy (in an envelope addressed to
Norman) to his mother.

In her
affidavit, Meera writes that:

  • she does not know where Norman lives, but knows where Norman’s
    mother lives;
  • she believes the claim will come to Norman’s attention if it is
    served on his mother because she knows that he visits his mother each week
    and calls her regularly on the telephone; and
  • Norman has indicated to mutual friends that he intends to be at
    his mother’s anniversary party in two weeks.

If the court makes an order allowing substituted
service, you must serve on the party:

  • a copy of the order;
  • the notice of motion and supporting affidavit; and
  • the claim.

Note: In Small Claims Court, an order made
by a judge is generally set out in an endorsement record. An
endorsement record is the official document that records the judgment or court
order.

Part Two: Service of defence

In Part Two of this guide, we provide
information on how a Defence [Form 9A] may be served.

How does a defendant serve a
defence?

A
defence is your answer to the claim. The Rules provide for several
types of service of a defence. How you serve the defence, and on whom, depends
on what type of plaintiff is suing you (for example, whether the plaintiff is a
person or a company).

Excerpt
from the Rules

Defence and Other
Documents
8.01(14) The following documents may be served by mail, by
courier, by fax, personally as provided in rule 8.02 or by an alternative to
personal service as provided in rule 8.03, unless the court orders otherwise:

  1. A
    defence.
  2. Any
    other document not referred to in subrules (1) to (13).

How long does a defendant have to
serve the defence?

You have 20 calendar days from the date you
were served with the claim to serve and file your defence. After 20 days, the
plaintiff can have you noted in default. After the 20 days have passed, you may
still try to serve and file your defence. The court office will accept your
defence for filing as long as the plaintiff has not filed a request to note you
in default.

Can the defendant extend the time
for service of the defence?

The court office will accept your defence for
filing as long as the plaintiff has not filed a request to note you in
default. If you have been noted in default, the Rules provide that you
cannot file a defence or take any other step in the proceeding, except making a
motion to set aside the noting of default, without leave of the court or the
plaintiff’s consent.

Refer to the “Guide to Replying to a Claim”
for more information on setting aside a noting in default.

Part Three: Personal
service and alternatives to personal service

In Part Two of this
guide, we provide information on Rule 8.02 (Personal Service) and Rule 8.03
(Alternatives to Personal Service).

What is personal service?

To serve a document by means of personal
service, you, or someone acting on your behalf, will hand the document to the
party (for example, the defendant). The person serving the document must first
be satisfied that the person being handed the document is in fact the party. If
the party refuses to take the document, you can drop it on the floor at his or
her feet. The person who serves the document would note this in his or her
affidavit of service because it is a related detail.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Personal
Service

8.02 If a document is to be served
personally, service shall be made,

Individual

(a) on an individual, other than a person under disability,
by leaving a copy of the document with him or her;

Municipality

(b) on a municipal corporation, by leaving a copy of the
document with the chair, mayor, warden or reeve of the municipality, with the
clerk or deputy clerk of the municipality or with a lawyer for the
municipality;

Corporation

(c) on any other corporation, by leaving a copy of the
document with

  1. an
    officer, a director or another person authorized to act on behalf of the
    corporation, or
  2. a
    person at any place of business of the corporation who appears to be in
    control or management of the place of business;

Board or Commission

(d) on a board or commission, by leaving a copy of the
document with a member or officer of the board or commission;

Person
Outside Ontario Carrying on Business in Ontario

(e) on a person outside Ontario who carries on business in
Ontario, by leaving a copy of the document with anyone carrying on business
in Ontario for the person;

Crown in Right of
Canada

(f) on Her Majesty the Queen
in right of Canada, in accordance with subsection 23(2) of the Crown
Liability and Proceedings Act
(Canada);

Crown in Right of
Ontario

(g) on Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario, in
accordance with section 10 of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act;

Absentee

(h) on an absentee, by leaving a copy of the document with
the absentee’s committee, if one has been appointed or, if not, with the
Public Guardian and Trustee;

Minor

(i) on a minor, by leaving a copy of the document with the
minor and, if the minor resides with a parent or other person having his or
her care or lawful custody, by leaving another copy of the document with the
parent or other person;

Mentally Incapable
Person

(j) on a mentally incapable person,

  1. if
    there is a guardian or an attorney acting under a validated power of attorney
    for personal care with authority to act in the proceeding, by leaving a copy
    of the document with the guardian or attorney,
  2. if there is no guardian or attorney acting under a
    validated power of attorney for personal care with authority to act in the
    proceeding but there is an attorney under a power of attorney with authority
    to act in the proceeding, by leaving a copy of the document with the attorney
    and leaving an additional copy with the person,
  3. if there is neither a guardian nor an attorney with
    authority to act in the proceeding, by leaving a copy of the document bearing
    the person’s name and address with the Public Guardian and Trustee and
    leaving an additional copy with the person;

Partnership

(k) on a partnership, by leaving a copy of the document
with

  1. any one or more of the partners, or
  2. a person at the principal place of business of
    the partnership who appears to be in control or management of the place of
    business; and

Sole Proprietorship

(l) on a sole proprietorship, by leaving a copy of the
document with

  1. the sole proprietor, or
  2. a person at the principal place of business of the sole proprietorship
    who appears to be in control or management of the place of business.

What is an “alternative to
personal service”?

If you are unable to serve a
document by means of personal service, you may choose an “alternative to personal
service.” This means that you are choosing another method of service (e.g. at
place of residence) permitted by the Rules. See Rule 8.03 below.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Alternatives
to personal service

8.03 (1) If a
document is to be served by an alternative to personal service, service shall
be made in accordance with subrule (2), (3) or (5); in the case of a
plaintiff’s claim or defendant’s claim served on an individual, service may also be made in accordance with subrule (7).

At Place of Residence

(2) If an
attempt is made to effect personal service at an individual’s place of
residence and for any reason personal service cannot be effected, the
document may be served by,

  1. leaving a copy in a sealed envelope addressed to the individual at the place of residence with anyone who appears to be an adult
    member of the same household; and
  2. on the same
    day or the following day, mailing or sending by courier another copy of the
    document to the individual at the
    place of residence.

Corporation

(3) If
the head office or principal place of business of a corporation or, in the
case of an extra-provincial corporation, the attorney for service in Ontario
cannot be found at the last address recorded with the Ministry of Government
Services, service may be made on the corporation

  1. by mailing
    or sending by courier a copy of the document to the corporation or to the
    attorney for service in Ontario, as the case may be, at that address and
  2. by mailing
    or sending by courier a copy of the document to each director of the
    corporation as recorded with the Ministry of Government Services, at the
    director’s address as recorded with that Ministry.

When Effective

(4) Service
made under subrule (2) or (3) is effective on the fifth day after the
document is mailed or verified by courier that it was delivered.

Acceptance of Service by Lawyer or Paralegal

(5) Service
on a party who is represented by a lawyer or paralegal may be made by leaving
a copy of the document with the lawyer or paralegal, or with an employee in
the lawyer’s or paralegal’s office, but service under this subrule is
effective only if the lawyer, paralegal or employee endorses on the document
or a copy of it an acceptance of service and the date of the acceptance.

(6) By
accepting service, the lawyer or paralegal is deemed to represent to the court
that he or she has the client’s authority to accept service.

Service of Claim

(7) Service of a plaintiff’s claim
or defendant’s claim on an individual against whom the claim is made may be
made by sending a copy of the claim by registered mail or by courier to the
individual’s place of residence, if the signature of the individual or any
person who appears to be a member of the same household, verifying receipt of
the copy, is obtained.

(8) Service under subrule (7) is effective on the date on which receipt of
the copy of the claim is verified by signature, as shown in a delivery
confirmation provided by or obtained from Canada Post or the commercial
courier, as the case may be.

(9) The affidavit of service shall not be completed
before the day referred to in subrule (8).

One example of an alternative to personal service
is provided in subrule 8.03(2)(a) (service at place of residence), which allows
you to serve a document in a sealed envelope addressed to the individual at his
or her residence by leaving a copy with an adult member of the same household.
You must also, on the same day or the following day, mail or send
by courier another copy of the document to the individual at the place of
residence. Service is effective on the fifth day after the document is mailed
or verified by courier that it was delivered.

Example
2

Meera wants to serve Norman with a plaintiff’s claim. She
knows where he lives and goes in person to his house to deliver the claim to
him. In case Norman is not home, she puts the claim in a sealed envelope
addressed to Norman.

When Meera knocks on Norman’s door a
woman answers. Meera asks if Norman is home, but the woman says no. Meera
then asks the woman what her name is and if she lives there. The woman says,
“I’m Susan Long and yes, I live here.” The woman appears to be at least 18
years of age.

Meera hands the envelope containing the claim to Susan.
Meera then mails another copy of the document to Norman at his home. Meera
makes a note of Susan’s name for her affidavit of service.

If Susan had refused to provide her name or say whether or
not she lived at Norman’s house, Meera could still leave a copy of the claim
with her as long as Susan appeared to be a resident of Norman’s household and
at least 18 years of age.

In another example of an alternative to
personal service, Rule 8.03(7) provides that a claim can be served by
registered mail or courier if the signature of the individual or any person who
appears to be a member of the same household, verifying receipt of the copy, is
obtained. Rule 8.03(8) provides that service is effective on the day on which
receipt of the copy of the claim is verified by signature as shown on the
delivery confirmation provided by Canada Post or the commercial courier.

Example
3

Meera wants to serve Norman with a plaintiff’s claim. She
goes to his house several times to serve it, but no one answers the door.
Meera does not know of any other way to contact Norman to find him. She
believes Norman lives there because he responded to mail she sent there
before.

Meera mails the claim to Norman by registered mail. On the
day Norman or his spouse signs for the document, Meera prints off the
delivery confirmation including the signature verifying the receipt from the
Canada Post website. Meera includes the delivery confirmation with her Affidavit of Service [Form 8A] .

If Meera
had sent the claim to Norman by courier, she would include the delivery
confirmation with signature provided by the commercial courier company when
filing her Affidavit of Service [Form 8A] .

Part Four: Service of
particular documents

How are documents (other than the
claim) served?

The Rules must
be followed when serving court documents. In some cases it is the clerk of the
court who will serve documents by mail. However, in most cases it is the
party’s responsibility to serve his or her own documents on the other parties.
In this part of this guide, we will set out the remainder of Rule 8.01
beginning at subrule (3), which describes how specific documents are to be
served. For a quick reference, refer to the chart in Part Five of this guide.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Default Judgment

8.01 (4) A default judgment (Form 11B) shall
be served by the clerk in accordance with the following:

1. The clerk shall serve the default judgment by mail or by fax on all parties named in the claim, subject to paragraph 2.

2. If a plaintiff’s claim was issued electronically under rule 7.04, the clerk may instead serve the default judgment on the plaintiff by email to the email address provided by the plaintiff for the purpose.

Assessment Order

(5) An order made on a
motion in writing for an assessment of damages under subrule 11.03(2) shall
be served by the clerk in accordance with the following:

1. The clerk shall serve the order on the plaintiff by mail if the plaintiff provides a stamped, self-addressed envelope with the notice of motion and support affidavit, subject to paragraph 2.

2. If the plaintiff’s claim was issued electronically under rule 7.04, the clerk may instead serve the order on the plaintiff by email to the email address provided by the plaintiff for the purpose.

Settlement
Conference Order

(6) An order made at a settlement
conference shall be served by the clerk by mail or by fax on all parties that
did not attend the settlement conference.

Summons to Witness

(7) A summons to witness (Form 18A) shall be served personally by the
party who requires the presence of the witness, or by
the party’s representative, at least ten days before the trial date; at the
time of service attendance money calculated in accordance with the
regulations made under the Administration of Justice Act shall be paid or
tendered to the witness.

Notice of
Garnishment

(8) A
notice of garnishment (Form 20E) shall be served by the creditor,

  1. together
    with a sworn affidavit for enforcement request (Form 20P), on the debtor, by
    mail, by courier, personally as provided in rule 8.02 or by an alternative to
    personal service as provided in rule 8.03; and
  2. together with a garnishee’s statement (Form 20F), on the garnishee, by
    mail, by courier, personally as provided in rule 8.02 or by an
    alternative to personal service as provided in rule 8.03.

Notice of
Garnishment Hearing

(9) A
notice of garnishment hearing (Form 20Q) shall be served by the person
requesting the hearing on the creditor, debtor, garnishee, co-owner of debt,
if any, and any other interested persons by mail, by courier, personally as
provided in rule 8.02 or by an alternative to personal service as provided in
rule 8.03.

Notice of
Examination

(10) A
notice of examination (Form 20H) shall be served by the creditor on the
debtor or person to be examined personally as provided in rule 8.02 or by an
alternative to personal service as provided in rule 8.03.

Financial Statement

(11) If the person to be
examined is the debtor and the debtor is an individual, the creditor shall
serve the notice of examination on the debtor together with a blank financial
information form (Form 20I).

(12) The notice of
examination

  1. shall be
    served, together with the financial information form if applicable, at least
    30 days before the date fixed for the examination; and
  2. shall
    be filed, with proof of service, at least three days before the date fixed
    for the examination.

Notice of Contempt
Hearing

(13) A notice of contempt
hearing shall be served by the creditor on the debtor or person to be
examined personally as provided in rule 8.02.

Defence and Other Documents

(14) The following
documents may be served by mail, by courier, by fax, personally as provided
in rule 8.02 or by an alternative to personal service as provided in rule
8.03, unless the court orders otherwise:

  1. A defence.
  2. Any other document not referred to in
    subrules (1) to (13).

Part Five: General service
information

What does the person making
service have to provide to the party?

The person making service will provide the party
(by whatever method of service being used) with a copy of the document.
If there is more than one party being served, each party must be served with
his or her own copy of the document being served. For example, if you are
serving two parties at the same address by mail or by courier, you must send a
copy of the document to each party in separate addressed, sealed envelopes.
Complete an Affidavit of Service [Form 8A] for each party.

Do I, as a party, have to serve
the document myself?

No. If personal service is not required under the
Rules, often service of documents will be fairly simple – either sending
it by mail or by courier, dropping it off at an office, or having someone serve
it for you.

Sometimes distance makes it inconvenient or
impossible for you to serve your own documents. Sometimes it may be an awkward
or potentially confrontational situation. If sending the document by mail or by
courier is not allowed under the Rules, there are professional process
servers who will serve the document for you, for a fee. You can get the name of
a process server from the yellow pages of the telephone directory.

You could also ask a friend to do it for you. If
the party you are serving is in another town, you might be able to mail it to a
friend there and have him or her serve it for you.

Remember, you will have to file with the court an Affidavit of Service [Form 8A] that is signed and sworn or affirmed by the person who
has served the document.

Can I recover the cost of service?

If you are successful in your claim, you may be
entitled to recover some costs. Refer to the “Guide to Getting Ready for Court”
for more information.

If you served the document by mail or courier and
you wish to recover the costs, you must provide the court office with a receipt
showing what you paid.

If you hired someone to serve the document for
you, you must provide the court office with a detailed invoice or statement
setting out the amount paid to have the document served. You can ask for a
maximum of $60 per person to be served regardless of the amount paid or number
of attempts made to serve the document, unless the court orders otherwise [Rule
19.01(3)].

How does a party change his or her
address for service?

It is up to you to be sure that the court and the
other parties in the case always have your proper address so that they can
serve documents on you. If your address changes, you must serve written notice
of the change on the court and other parties within seven days after the change
takes place. Make detailed notes of when and how you served your new address on
each party and the court. The court may require an affidavit of service at some
future time, so you will need to keep a record of these details.

If you do not advise the court and the other parties of your change of
address, they are entitled to serve you with documents at your old address.
That will mean you are not fully informed about what is happening in your case.
Orders may be made without your knowledge and in your absence.

What if a party did not receive a
document or received it late?

If a party did not
receive a document that was supposed to have been served on him or her under
the Rules, or received it after the timeframe allowed under the Rules,
the party can bring a motion to the court for the order he or she needs in the
circumstances.

For example, where a
defendant does not receive the claim but receives a default judgment from the
court, he or she may wish to bring a motion to set aside the default judgment
and extend the time to file a defence. In another example, if a party received
a notice of motion less than 7 days

before the hearing date,
he or she may request an adjournment of the motion in order to have more time
to prepare. For more information, refer to the “Guide to Motions and Clerk’s
Orders.”

How do I serve a party under legal
disability?

A party under legal
disability may be:

  • a minor (a person under 18 years of age);
  • a mentally incapable person within the meaning of Section 6 or
    Section 45 of the Substitute
    Decisions Act, 1992
    ; or
  • an absentee within the meaning of the Absentees
    Act
    .

If a party in
an action is a party under legal disability, then he or she must have a
litigation guardian. Documents can be served on the party by serving the person
named as the litigation guardian.

Note: A minor (a person under the age of 18) may be
involved in an action for any sum up to $500 without requiring a litigation
guardian. In this case you would serve the minor as you would an adult.

How do I serve the Crown in Right
of Ontario?

Pursuant to Rule 8.02(g) and section 10 of the Proceedings
Against the Crown Act
, a document that is to be served personally on
the Crown in Right of Ontario must be made by leaving a copy of the document
with a solicitor in the Crown Law Office (Civil Law), Ministry of the Attorney
General, 8th Floor, 720 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario.

Can I serve a document by mail?

Rule 8.01 and the chart
in Part Five of this guide can help you determine whether the document you want
to serve can be served by mail. If it can, then the document is considered to
be served on the 5th day following the date of mailing.

However, if you served
the claim on the defendant by an alternative to personal service by registered
mail or courier, you need the signature of the individual, or any person who
appears to be a member of the same household, verifying receipt before service
is effective. See Part Two of this guide for more information on service of a
claim.

You cannot file your affidavit of service
until after the date the document is deemed to be served.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Service
by Mail

8.07 (1) If a document
is to be served by mail under these rules, it shall be sent, by regular
lettermail or registered mail, to the last address of the person or of the
person’s representative that is,

  1. on file with the court, if the document is to be served by the
    clerk;
  2. known to the sender, if the document is to be served by any
    other person.

(2) Service of a document by
mail is deemed to be effective on the fifth day following the date of
mailing.

(3) This rule does not apply when a claim is
served by registered mail under subrule 8.03(7).

Note: Regular mail includes postal
services provided by Canada Post, including Priority Courier and
Xpresspost, unless otherwise ordered by a judge.

Can I serve a document by courier?

Rule 8.01 and the chart in Part Five of this
guide can help you determine whether the document you want to serve can be
served by courier. If it can, then the document is considered to be served on
the 5th day following the date on which the courier verifies to the
sender that the document was delivered.

However, if you served the
claim by an alternative to personal service by having it couriered to
the defendant, it is considered to be served on the day the signature verifying
receipt of the claim was received. See Part Two of this guide for more
information on service of a claim by courier.

You cannot file your affidavit of service until
after the date the document is deemed to be served.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Service
by Courier

8.07.1
(1) If a document is to be served by courier under these rules, it shall be
sent by means of a commercial courier to the last address of the person or of
the person’s representative that is on file with the court or known to the
sender.

(2) Service of a document sent by courier is
deemed to be effective on the fifth day following the date on which the
courier verifies to the sender that the document was delivered.

(3) This rule does not apply when a claim is served by courier under subrule
8.03(7).

Note:
Although the service provided by Canada Post is called “Priority Courier
it is not courier service for the purposes of this rule. It is considered to be
regular mail service.

Can I serve a document by fax?

Rule 8.01 and the
chart in Part Five of this guide can help you determine whether the document
you want to serve can be served by fax. If it can, then the document is
considered to be served on the day of transmission, if transmission takes place
before 5 p.m. on a day that is not a holiday. If it is transmitted after 5 p.m.
or on a holiday, it is considered to be served on the next day that is not a
holiday. If the document is more than 16 pages long, read Rule 8.08 below to
find out when you may fax it.

Excerpt
from the Rules

Service
by Fax

8.08 Service of a
document by fax is deemed to be effective,

  1. on the
    day of transmission, if transmission takes place before 5 p.m. on a day that
    is not a holiday;
  2. on the next
    day that is not a holiday, in any other case.

(2)
A document containing 16 or more pages, including the cover page, may be
served by fax only between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. the following day, unless the
party to be served consents in advance.

How does a party prove that a
document has been served?

The person who served the document must fill out
an Affidavit of Service [Form 8A] setting out who was served, and when and how service
was made. Generally, you are not required to file the affidavit of service
with the court until you are ready to proceed with your next step, or a judge
orders that it must be filed. For example, if you want to ask the clerk to
note the defendant in default, you would file your affidavit of service of the
claim at the time you make the request.

If a copy of a document has been served on more
than one person, then you would need to complete an affidavit of service for
each person served.

How do I fill out an Affidavit of
Service?

  1. To fill
    out an Affidavit of Service [Form 8A] , follow the instructions on the form. You must
    describe:

    • the name of the person who served the document (e.g. you or a
      representative or friend) and where they are from;
    • the name of the person who was served;
    • when the document was served (day, month and year);
    • where the document was served (e.g. house number, apartment
      number, street name, city, and province);
    • what document was served (e.g. a claim, defence, or notice of
      motion); and
    • the method of service (e.g. by personal service, service at place
      of residence, service by registered mail, courier, regular lettermail, or fax).
  2. If you
    served the documents, then you must swear or affirm that the information in
    your affidavit of service is true. If you had another person serve the
    documents, then that person must fill out the affidavit of service and swear or
    affirm that the information in the affidavit is true.
  3. The
    affidavit must be signed in front of a person authorized to take oaths and
    affirmations (i.e. a commissioner for taking affidavits). The commissioner will
    ask the person making the affidavit to swear or affirm that the information in
    the affidavit is true, will ask that person to sign the affidavit, and will
    sign the affidavit as sworn or affirmed. Do not sign the affidavit before going
    to the commissioner. For more information about swearing affidavits, see the
    “Tips” page at the end of this guide.

Note: It is a criminal offence to swear or affirm an affidavit you know is
false.

How do I determine when service of my claim was
effective so I can note the defendant in default?

If the defendant fails to serve and file a
defence within 20 days of being served with the claim, you can ask the clerk to
note the defendant in default. When calculating the 20-day time period, count
the number of days following the date that service was effective by excluding
the first day and including the last day. If the last day falls on a holiday,
the period ends on the next day that is not a holiday.

For example:

If you
served your claim by:

I
served the claim on:

Rule
that applies:

Effective
date of service:

I can ask the clerk to note the
defendant in default on:

Personally
handing the claim to the defendant.

June
1st

Service
is effective immediately

June
1st

June
22nd

Leaving a copy
of the claim at the defendant’s place of residence with an adult member of
the same household and mailing or couriering a copy the same or next day. See
rule 8.03(2).

June
1st

Service
is effective the 5th day after the claim was mailed or verified by courier
that it was delivered. See rule 8.03(4).

June
6th (or June 7th, if the claim was sent the following day)

June
27th or June 28th

Service on a
corporation by mailing or couriering a copy of the claim to the corporation
or attorney for service and to each director. See rule 8.03(3).

June
1st

Service is effective the 5th day after the claim was
mailed or verified by courier that it was delivered. See rule 8.03(4).

June
6th

June
27th

Leaving a copy of the claim with the defendant’s lawyer
or paralegal, or an employee in the lawyer or paralegal’s office and
receiving a signature on the back page of the document as acceptance of
service. See rule 8.03(5).

June
1st

Service
is effective on the date of acceptance indicated on the back page of the
document. See rule 8.03(5)

June
1st

June
22nd

Sending
a copy of the claim by registered mail or by courier to the defendant’s place
of residence and obtaining a signature verifying receipt. See rule 8.03(7).

June
1st

Service
effective on the date on which an individual verifies receipt of the copy of
the claim by signature, as shown in a delivery confirmation. See rule
8.03(8).

June 4
because that day a person verified receipt of the copy of the claim by signature
(as shown in a delivery confirmation)

June
25th

Part Six: Service chart for
parties

Remember, documents cannot
be faxed or e-mailed to the court. Documents should be filed at the court
office in person or mailed together with the appropriate filing fee. Refer to
the “Guide to Fee Schedules” for more information about filing fees.

The chart below is a summary based on the
Rules as they exist at the date of this guide. It is provided for your
convenience only. You should always refer to the actual Rules.

Document and Service Rule(s)

Who
Serves*

How
Service May be Made

Time
for Service

Plaintiff’s
Claim (Form 7A)
Defendant’s
Claim (Form 10A)

r. 8.01(1), (2)
r. 10.028.01(1), (2)

Party

  • Personal service  [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service [r. 8.03]
  • Substituted service (with leave of court) [r. 8.04]

Within 6 months after date issued (or longer with leave of court)

Summons to Witness
(Form 18A)

r. 8.01(7)

Party

Personal service  [r. 8.02]

10 days before the hearing date

Notice of Garnishment
(Form 20E)
r. 8.01(8)
r. 20.08(6)

and
Notice of Renewal of Garnishment (Form 20E.1)

Creditor

On the debtor together with a sworn Affidavit for Enforcement Request (Form 20P) ,
and
On the garnishee together with a Garnishee’s Statement (Form 20F) by:

  • Personal service  [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]

On the debtor within 5 days of service on the garnishee

Notice of Termination of Garnishment (Form 20R)

r.20.08(20.2)

Creditor

On the garnishee and the clerk by:

  • Personal service  [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]

Immediately after the amount owing under the order is paid

Garnishee’s Statement (Form 20F)

r. 20.08(13)

Garnishee

On creditor and debtor

 

Notice of Garnishment Hearing (Form 20Q)

r. 8.01(9)
r. 20.08(7)
r. 20.08(11)
r. 20.08(15.1)
R.R.O. 1990 Regulation 940-Garnishment under the Proceedings Against the Crown Act

Party

On creditor, debtor, garnishee, co-owner of debt (if any) and any other interested persons by:

  • Personal service  [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]

At least 10 days after service of the garnishment,
or

At least 40 days after service of the garnishment, if the garnishee is the Crown in Right of Ontario

Notice of Examination
(Form 20H)

r. 8.01(10), (11), (12)
r. 20.10(3)

Creditor

On debtor (together with a blank Financial Information Form [Form 20I]) by:

  • Personal service  [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]

At least 30 days before the date fixed for the examination and filed, with proof of service, at least 3 days before the date fixed for the examination

Notice of Contempt Hearing

r. 8.01(13)
r. 20.11(3), (6)

Creditor

On debtor by:

  • Personal service  [r. 8.02]

Affidavit of Service filed at least 7 days before the date of the hearing

"Amended" claim or defence

r. 8.01(14)
r. 12.01(2)

Party making amendment

On all parties including parties noted in default by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]

Filing and service at least 30 days before the originally scheduled trial date except with leave of the court or clerk’s order on consent

Notice to Co-owner of Debt
(Form 20G)

r. 20.08(14)
r. 8.01(14)

Creditor

On co-owners of the debt by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]
 

Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit (Form 15A)

r. 15.01(3)
r. 8.01(14)

Party filing motion

Prior to Judgment:  On every party who has filed a claim and any defendant who has not been noted in default,
Or
After Judgment:  On all parties, including those noted in default, by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]

At least 7 days before the hearing

Order on Motion made without Notice

r. 15.03(2)
r. 8.01(14)

Party obtaining order on motion without notice

On all affected parties by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]

Within 5 days after order signed

Defence
(Form 9A) and Other Documents

  1. 8.01(14)
    r. 9.01(a)

Party

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]

Within
20 days of being served with the claim

Request
to Clerk (Form 9B)
(for a terms of payment hearing)

  1. 8.01(14)
    r. 9.03(3)

Plaintiff

To defendant by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]

Within
20 days after service of the defence

Completed Financial
Information Form (Form 20I)
(for an examination hearing)

r. 20.10(4.1)(b)(i)

Person
served with a Notice of Examination where the debtor is an individual

On the creditor requesting the
examination hearing by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]
 

Notice
of Discontinued Claim (Form 11.3A)

Plaintiff

On clerk and all defendants served
with the claim by:

  • Personal service [r. 8.02]
  • Alternative to personal service
    [r. 8.03]
  • Mail [r. 8.07]
  • Courier [r. 8.07.1]
  • Fax [r. 8.08]

After
time for filing defence has elapsed (and no defence is filed)

* Service by the party includes service
by his or her representative.

Tips on Completing Forms in Small Claims Court

  1. BE NEAT. These are court documents. All court forms must be typed,
    handwritten or printed legibly. It may cause delays if your forms cannot be
    read. Forms
    are available at court offices and at the following website: www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca .
  2. How to COUNT DAYS
    FOR TIMELINES
    in the Rules of the Small Claims Court:

    When calculating timelines
    in the Rules, count the days by excluding the first day and including
    the last day of the period; if the last day of the period of time falls on a
    holiday, the period ends on the next day that is not a holiday. The court can
    order, or the parties can consent to, the shortening or lengthening of the time
    prescribed by the Rules. Holidays
    include:

    • any Saturday or Sunday
    • New Year’s Day
    • Family Day
    • Good Friday
    • Easter Monday
    • Victoria Day
    • Canada Day
    • Civic Holiday
    • Labour Day
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Remembrance Day
    • Christmas Day
    • Boxing Day
    • any special holiday proclaimed by the Governor General or the
      Lieutenant Governor

    NOTE: If New
    Year’s Day, Canada Day or Remembrance Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the
    following Monday is a holiday. If Christmas Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday
    the following Monday and Tuesday are holidays, and if Christmas Day falls on a
    Friday, the following Monday is a holiday.

  3. At the top of the forms, fill in the NAME
    AND ADDRESS OF THE COURT
    where you are filing the documents.
  4. Once court staff provides a COURT FILE
    NUMBER
    , make sure it is written on the upper right-hand corner of ALL
    your documents.
  5. Bring enough COPIES of your completed forms to the court
    office. Usually you will require one copy for each party who must be served and
    one copy for your own records. In most cases, the court will keep the original
    form. There is a fee to have copies made at the court office. Refer to the
    “Guide to Fee Schedules” for more information.
  6. COURT
    FEES
    must be paid to issue and file specific documents. Refer to the
    “Guide to Fee Schedules” for more information. Fees are payable in Canadian
    funds, and can be paid by cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister
    of Finance.
    Where available, fees can also be paid by debit or credit card. If you cannot afford to pay court filing or enforcement fees, you may request a
    fee waiver. The fee waiver applies to most fees in Small Claims Court
    proceedings. More information about fee
    waiver is available at any court office and on the Ministry of the Attorney
    General website at www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral .
  7. An AFFIDAVIT
    can be sworn or affirmed before:
    • a Small Claims Court staff member who is a
      commissioner for taking affidavits (there is no fee for this service);
    • a lawyer or paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Ontario;
    • a notary public; or
    • a person who has been appointed a commissioner
      for taking affidavits.

    These individuals are
    authorized to commission oaths.

    You should come to
    the commissioner with identification and the unsigned document. The
    commissioner will ask you to swear or affirm that the information in the
    affidavit is true and will ask you to sign the affidavit. The affidavit must
    be signed in front of the commissioner, since they will certify that it was
    sworn or affirmed in their presence.

    NOTE: It is a criminal offence to swear
    or affirm an affidavit you know is false.

  8. If your ADDRESS
    FOR SERVICE
    changes, you must serve written notice of the change on the
    court and all other parties within seven (7) days after the change takes place.
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Ministry of the Attorney General
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Ministry of the Attorney General

Part 6: Serving Documents

A Guide to Procedures in Family Court

Ministry of the Attorney General

June 2010, Revised July 2015

This guide does not provide legal advice. It is recommended that all parties seek legal advice where possible.

Inside this guide

  1. Information Before You Start
  2. Starting a Family Case
    • Application (General)
    • Simple Application – Divorce only
    • Joint Application
  3. Answers
  4. Financial Statements
  5. Filing Documents
  6. Serving Documents
  7. Required Steps
    • Mandatory Information Program
    • First Court Date
    • Conferences
  8. Motions
  9. Trial

Ce guide est également disponible en français.

ISBN 978-1-4435-3510-6 (Print)

ISBN 978-1-4435-3511-3 (PDF)

The Family Law Rules tell you which forms and documents must be used for each step of a family case. You must give a copy of the forms and documents to the other party named in the family case. Sometimes you may also be required to give the forms and documents to other people or agencies. For example, if the person receiving support receives social benefits like Ontario Works, the Ministry of Community and Social Services will need to be served with any material filed on an application for child support.

Giving your documents to the other parties and agencies is called service.

Under the rules, no person shall serve a document unless he or she is at least 18 years of age.

Special Service Rule

There are some documents in a family case, such as an application or a motion to change, that must be served by special service.

Where the special service rules apply, the person required to serve the document must arrange for the service of the document by another person. The party may not serve the document himself or herself.

Other persons who can serve the document include:

  • A friend or family member; or
  • A process server.

For information on process servers in your area look in the yellow pages or visit www.canada411.ca and search for “process server”.

Special service of a document requires the person serving the document to serve it by one of the following methods:

  • Leaving a copy with the person to be served;
  • Giving a copy of the document to the other person’s lawyer, provided that the lawyer is willing to write on a copy of the document served that he or she accepts the document for the other person;
  • Mailing a copy of the document with Form 6: Acknowledgement of Service that the person served with the document must complete and return to you; or
  • Giving a copy of the documents, in an envelope addressed to the person, to an adult who lives at the address of the person to be served and then mail a second copy to the address that day or the next.

If you fear for your safety or the safety or any friend or family member who could serve the documents, you may ask one of the court staff to arrange to have your documents served for you.

Regular Service Rule

The party or another person can serve most documents in the family court process by
regular service. Regular service of a document means that you may serve a document by using one of the following methods:

  • Mailing a copy of the document to the person or to the person’s lawyer;
  • Sending a copy of the document to the person or to the person’s lawyer by courier;
  • Faxing a copy of the document to the person or to the person’s lawyer;
  • Depositing a copy at a document exchange to which the person’s lawyer or, if none, the person to be served belongs;
  • If the person to be served consents or the court orders, using an electronic document exchange
  • If the person consents, or the court orders, emailing a copy to the person’s lawyer, or if none, to the person; or
  • Using any one of the special service methods as set out above.

If you fear for your safety or the safety or any friend or family member who could serve the documents, you may ask one of the court staff to arrange to have your documents served for you.

For more information on the different methods for serving documents, see Rule 6: Service of Document of the Family Law Rules. You can find the Family Law Rules on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca . Click on “Family Justice”, then scroll down and click on “Family Law Rules”.

When to Serve and File Documents

In addition to setting out the different methods to serve a document, the Family Law Rules will also help you determine:

  • How far in advance you must serve the document on the other party; and
  • When the original documents must be filed with the court.

For example, if you have been served with an application in Canada, Rule 10: Answering a Case requires that you serve an answer on every other party and file it with the court where the case was started within 30 days after being served with the application.

Another example is the rule of service for motions. If you are bringing a motion, Rule 14 requires you to serve every other party by regular service at least four days in advance of the date set for the hearing of the motion.

Counting Days

Throughout the Family Law Rules there are timelines for when documents must be served on the other party and filed with the court. Rule 3 deals with the issue of time, including how to count the number of days. Generally speaking, counting starts on the day after the first thing happens. For example, if you serve a document on Monday that requires 7 days service, the first day you count is Tuesday and the 7th day is the following Monday.

For more details, see Rule 3 at http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca . Click on “Family Justice” then scroll down and click on “Family Law Rules”.

You should always check the Family Law Rules and the family court form to make sure that you are serving and filing your documents properly and on time. Court staff cannot accept your documents if you have not complied with the rules of service.

Proof of Service

Cases cannot be decided fairly unless everyone who has the right to know:

  • Is aware that a court case is gong on;
  • Is aware that a step in a case is going to happen and what information is being provided to the court as part of that step; and
  • Has enough time to put their own side of the story before the court.

The court requires that you provide proof that the other party or parties were served with all the documents that you file with the court. Proof is in the form of an affidavit of service. In the affidavit, you must set out when, where and how the document(s) were served.

The affidavit of service form is available at the family court office or on-line at
www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca . Read and follow the instructions on the form carefully.

The affidavit of service requires the person who served the documents to swear or affirm
that the information in the affidavit is true. After completing the affidavit of service, the person must sign it in front of a commissioner for taking affidavits. There are commissioners for taking affidavits at the family court office.

Remember, it is a criminal offence for a person to swear or affirm a false or misleading affidavit. It is the responsibility of the person making the affidavit of service to make sure that the information in the affidavit is true.

After your document(s) are served and the affidavit of service is sworn or affirmed, you will need to file the affidavit with the court in the continuing record. You must also update the table of contents.

More detailed information on filing an affidavit of service is found in A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 5: Filing Documents.