Suing a Contractor is often Complicated

It is that that time of the year when our paralegal office gets calls from home owners looking to sue contractors who have done work around their home. The small claims court Ontario deals with many of these types of cases. Often these cases start out easy, and become complicated before reaching trial.

There are many variations to this type of claim. Sometimes there is a written contract setting out exactly what the contractor is to do, and how they are to be paid. Too often though, there is poorly written contract or no contract at all. Sometimes there are just e-mail exchanges giving a vague idea what the contractor is hired to do.

If you want the contractor to do things that were not part of the original signed contract, be sure to sign “add on agreements,” which clearly state what the extra work to be done is and how much it will cost.

Contractors, unlike paralegals and lawyers, don’t have a tough regulator like the Law Society of Ontario. Ontario paralegals are required us to put all client money in a trust account until work is completed and an invoice issued and delivered.

Disputes that I see in the Toronto small claims court, Richmond Hill small claims court, Brampton small claims courts court, and others include the contractor just abandoning the job part way through. This is especially the case when the contractor is paid a large portion of the job upfront.

Did the contract do the work negligently? Do you need another contractor to redo the work? Before you hire another contractor to redo work, obtain legal advice immediately. You may need an independent expert’s report. Paying another contractor to fix the negligent work your original contractor may forever destroy evidence necessary to properly prove your case in court.

At trial you need an experienced paralegal ontario. Some of the issues I see at trials involving a contractor include: whether the proper party or parties have been to sued, disputes about the work the contractor was hired to do, what was the contract price?, the amount paid, what work was done and what was not done, whether certain work was done negligently, the cost to redo work, were there ad ons necessary or agreed to,  a Defendant’s Claim (if any) and minimizing damages.

We have been representing home owners in small claims court since 1996. Contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or visit our website at