News / Vancouver

B.C. expands online tribunal to most small claims disputes

Beginning in June, participants can resolve disputes up to $5,000 over their smartphone or laptop.

Beginning in June, all small claims disputes in B.C. will be resolved through the Civil Resolutions Tribunal, the first online tribunal in the world that is integrated within the justice system.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Beginning in June, all small claims disputes in B.C. will be resolved through the Civil Resolutions Tribunal, the first online tribunal in the world that is integrated within the justice system.

B.C. is expanding its online tribunal for dispute resolution for things like contracts, debts and personal injury for small claims up to $5,000.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) – which the government says is the first online tribunal in the world integrated with the public justice system – began resolving strata disputes in the province in July 2016. Beginning in June, it will be mandatory for most small claims disputes (up to $5,000), freeing up capacity within the justice system for other matters.

More about strata disputes

Participants will resolve or argue their disputes through the CRT through smart phones or laptop computers any time from the convenience of their own homes. There will be mail and telephone options for people without internet.

“We’re focused on providing convenient, timely, and affordable dispute resolution services that work around people’s busy lives,” said Shannon Salter, chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal in a statement on Monday.

“I’m excited that the CRT will soon offer British Columbians this 24/7 service for small claims disputes, as well as strata disputes.”

Since July of last year, 280 people have used or applied to use the tribunal for strata disputes. In that same timeframe, the CRT’s guidance system, called the solutions explorer, has been accessed more than 5,000 times for help with strata issues.

The announcement Monday was coupled with an increase to the monetary jurisdiction of the Provincial Court’s small claims division to $35,000, up from $25,000. Attorney General Suzanne Anton said the announcements would make it easier and more affordable for British Columbians to resolve their disputes.

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