Your Deadbeat Debtor has Assets in Canada. What Should You Do?

By Carrie Kennedy, Devry Smith Frank LLP

Your judgment debtor has moved to Canada and has assets there. How do you enforce your monetary judgment against them?

Each province has its own rules for this process. In Ontario, a new action is brought for recognition of a foreign judgment or, if the judgment originates in the UK, an application may be brought to register that judgment. The Canadian court will consider if the originating court had jurisdiction to try the case, the court acted in accordance with due process, the judgment is final and the money is still owing.

A defendant may challenge the jurisdiction of the original court or raise issues of fraud, denial of natural justice, or public policy concerns but the court will not consider defences that were subject to adjudication in the original action. Defendants, therefore, are not entitled to raise merit based defences to the Canadian action or application. Canadian courts will not consider if the decision to grant the original judgment was right, but will consider if it is the result of due process.

Canadian courts will not recognise tax or penalty related judgments. Each province has its own limitation period for this process which range from two to six years either from the date the creditor ought to have reasonably known that proceeding in Canada was warranted or, for UK judgments, from the date of the original judgment.

So, if you learn that your judgment debtor has assets in Canada, act quickly to have that judgment recognised or registered!

Carrie Kennedy

Carrie Kennedy

Devry Smith Frank LLP, Toronto, Canada
T: +1 416 449 1400
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Since 1964, Devry Smith Frank LLP (DSF) has been a trusted advisor and advocate for corporations, individuals and small businesses. Comprised of over 175 dedicated legal and support staff, DSF prides itself on effective representation and a drive to deliver value to clients.

Carrie Kennedy is an Ontario lawyer practicing in the areas of commercial litigation, bankruptcy and insolvency, debt recovery, real estate litigation, and employment. She enjoys representing businesses, banks and individuals in these fast-paced matters with the support of her full service firm.

Published: Winter 2017 l Photo: Facto Photo -


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