New changes have been introduced to the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure requiring mortgagees to commence enforcement proceedings within the region that the mortgaged property is located.
The table below sets out the courthouses designated by regional senior judges to commence mortgage proceedings for property located within a region.
Underlined courthouses have been designated to hear mortgage proceedings.
|Region||Courthouses Within The Region|
|Central East Region||Barrie, Bracebridge, Cobourg, (Oshawa) Durham, Lindsay, Newmarket, Peterborough|
|Central South Region||Brantford, Cayuga, Hamilton, Hamilton Family Court, Kitchener, Simcoe, St. Catharines, Welland|
|Central West Region||Brampton, Guelph, Milton, Orangeville, Owen Sound, Walkerton|
|East Region||Belleville, Brockville, Cornwall, Kingston, Kingston Family Court, L’Original, Ottawa, Napanee, Pembroke, Perth, Picton|
|Northeast Region||Cochrane, Gore Bay, Haileybury, North Bay, Parry Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins|
|Northwest Region||Fort Frances, Kenora, Thunder Bay|
|South West Region||Chatham, Goderich, London, Sarnia, St. Thomas, Stratford, Windsor, Woodstock|
The impetus behind the change to the Rules of Civil Procedure was to increase access to justice for mortgagors. Typically, enforcement proceedings against mortgaged properties located throughout the province would be brought in certain courthouses near Toronto, such as the Milton courthouse, requiring significant travel time on the part of the mortgagor in order to participate in the proceedings. The change in rules provides mortgagors with the opportunity to attend and defend enforcement proceedings without having to travel across to province to do so.
However, the rule change comes at a cost. As a result of the changes, lawyers can no longer pick the court in which to commence mortgage enforcement proceedings. Typically, lawyers would commence mortgage enforcement actions in courts that could handle the actions on a more expedited basis, such as the Milton courthouse. The Milton courthouse (among a few others) developed expertise in mortgage proceedings and was able to efficiently handle mortgage enforcement actions. Now, courthouses such as those in Toronto, far less familiar with handling a high volume of mortgage enforcement matters, will see a significant increase in these actions due to the rule change.
Lawyers in certain cities, Toronto in particular, will see an increased demand for mortgage enforcement services. The rule change will only serve to increase wait times in the already clogged Ontario justice system.
Unfortunately, the location of the action is determined by the location of the property, as opposed to the parties. So in a case where a property is located in London, but the property is an investment property owned by a person or corporation in Toronto, with a mortgage provided by a lender based in Toronto, all parties will need to attend in London to have their dispute heard.