Collecting Your Judgment

Collecting a civil judgment is not always easy. The rules for doing so vary from province to province and are often difficult to understand. 

The most common and effective methods of collecting a judgment are:

  • If the judgment debtor (JD) owns land - Place a lien on his land.
  • If the JD is employed - Garnish his wages.
  • If you know where the JD banks - Garnish the bank account (You must know the specific branch.) 
  • If the JD has any valuable possessions - Arrange to have them seized and sold. This is not as easy as it sounds.  First you can only sell the equity in a chattel like a car. So if the debtor owes money on the car you may not be able to get anyone to buy it because the debt goes with the car.  If you know about a car or other valuable items such as boats, RVs and the like do a PPSA search to find out about liens (money lent and secured by the chattel).  Hiring sheriffs and bailiffs can be expensive and as a result render the action counterproductive.  In other words the value of the item must be worth more than the cost of seizing and selling it.

If you do not know where the debtor works, banks or owns land you can bring the debtor in, usually before a judge, and have him/her examined under oath. The rules for this and other enforcement action vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Below are some online publications to further inform.   

In Ontario

In Manitoba

In Saskatchewan

In Alberta

In British Columbia

In Quebec

In New Brunswick

In Nova Scotia

In Prince Edward Island: they do not seem to publish anything on the subject. They invite you to phone the registrar.

In Newfoundland and Labrador

If you do not know if/where the debtor is employed or owns land and an examination has been ineffective - it is time to arrange a Public Execution. PublicExecutions.ca will not collect your judgment for you but we are here to help.  Unlike other judgment registration databases PublicExecutions.ca is free to search and allows the public to offer help in the form of Tips.

A Public Execution:

  • Motivates the debtor to pay
  • Asks everyone for help
  • Protects the public
  • Is good for six years

How to publish your judgment