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Wrongful Dismissals: Steps of a Lawsuit in Ontario

Navigating the litigation process on your own without the help of a lawyer can be daunting. This article provides a high-level overview of the steps of a lawsuit involved in initiating a wrongful dismissal claim.

What Are the Steps of a Lawsuit in Ontario?

When looking at the steps of a lawsuit in Ontario, the first step involves being retained by a lawyer. Once a client is retained, the employee’s lawyer typically sends a demand letter out to the employer. Within this letter the lawyer briefly outlines the client’s position and the remedy they are seeking. The employer’s lawyer usually sends a response to the demand letter, outlining their position. Sometimes, the employer’s lawyer will send an offer back along with the demand letter.

If the response is unfavourable, the next step of a lawsuit involves the employee’s lawyer seeking further instructions from their client. At this point, the next step of a lawsuit would be to file a statement of claim. Much like the demand letter, the Statement of Claim outlines the facts of the wrongful dismissal and the remedies being sought by the employee. Once this is filed, the employer’s lawyer will file their statement of defence. The employee’s lawyer can file a reply to the statement of defence, but it is not mandatory.

Once the pleadings have been filed, the next step of a lawsuit would be to determine if the matter should proceed to mediation or discoveries. It is important to note that Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor are mandatory mediation jurisdictions. This means both parties of the suit are required to attend mediation before proceeding to discoveries or trial.

What Is Mandatory Mediation Step in a Lawsuit in Ontario?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process in which both parties select a neutral third party to assist in settling their suit. The mediator works with each party and relays their positions to both sides in order to facilitate a settlement. If a settlement is reached during mediation, a document outlining the terms and condition is usually drafted afterwards. This document is signed by both parties, thus becoming binding on both parties.

While most cases settle at mediation, there are some cases that will not. For those cases that do not settle at this stage, the next step would be to proceed to examinations for discovery.

What Is an Examination for Discoveries?

Discoveries is a process where both sides question each other under oath in order to examine each other’s case and evidence. In cases where both sides facts significantly differ from each other, it may be necessary to proceed to discoveries before mediation. This is done so both sides may benefit from streamlining the facts of the case. By doing this, both sides can evaluate if it is necessary to proceed to trial or if they can settle after discoveries.

What Happens if a Matter Does Not Settle After Mediation or Discoveries?

If a matter does not settle at mediation or discoveries, the next and final step would be to set the matter down for trial. At trial, both sides would present their case, with supporting evidence, before a judge. At the end of trial, the Judge would make a determination of the matter and that decision would be binding on both parties.

Again, most cases will settle before this point and trial may not be necessary given the facts of the case at hand.

Conclusion

There are many steps to a lawsuit in Ontario and it may seem difficult to navigate this process on your own. Speaking to an employment lawyer can make this process easier for you and can ensure a beneficial outcome for you.

Contact Us 

If you are an employer facing a wrongful dismissal claim, or an employee who believes you’ve been wrongfully dismissed, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at + 1-800-771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with a same-day response, visit our CLO Program page for our strategic solutions.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as or should be construed as legal advice and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected]