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Posted on September 18, 2014 | Posted in Collections


Speaking of inconceivable, a decision in M.F. Armsby Property Management Ltd. v. Racz-Ellis, a 2013 Ontario Small Claims Court decision highlights some inconceivably ridiculous behaviour.

A landlord obtained a judgment against a tenant for $3,500. The landlord garnished the tenant’s bank, who remitted the grand sum of $266. Two things then occurred: the court remitted the $266 to the landlord and the tenant brought a motion to have the funds repaid to her.

The tenant claimed that the amount the bank paid could not be properly garnished because the funds were welfare monies and, under the Ontario Works Act (s. 23), that money is exempt from garnishment. The tenant was correct and, had the tenant moved faster, the court would never have remitted the money to the landlord.


The landlord refused to return the money – even though it should not have received the money at all. It claimed that the bank made the mistake of paying the garnished money to the court and therefore the bank should return the money to the tenant. The bank, realising that this could be a public relations nightmare over a trivial amount of money, repaid the money to the tenant, but wanted the landlord to reimburse it – we assume on principle.

The deputy judge had no problem ordering the landlord to repay the funds to the court and for the court to repay it to the bank. The judge ordered no costs on the motion. He said “The only party with a valid claim to any high ground is TD Canada Trust which did not ask for costs and, I am confident, would not ask for costs even if prompted to do so.”

Two Notes

1. Some people will fight over anything, no matter how minor the money in dispute and no matter how unreasonable their position might be. We understand that the landlord was angry with the tenant; however, its decision to pounce on the bank under the circumstances, with such a small amount of money at stake, was just plain silly.

2. A paralegal represented the landlord at the hearing. Either the landlord or the paralegal or both of them had no sense.

Jonathan Speigel


Written by Jonathan Speigel Jonathan Speigel, the founding partner of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, leads the litigation and construction practices.

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