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THE ROLE OF BAILIFFS IN ONTARIO.

Although Ontario has several self-help remedies available to creditors under several Provincial Statutes, namely the Personal Property Security Act, the Repair and Storage Liens Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act, the repossession, distress or eviction must be executed within the lawful authority of the Bailiffs Act, R.S.O., 1990. The foregoing Acts allow a creditor or landlord to take action against a debtor or tenant without judicial process, such as Court Order; in other words, a statutory right is available to the creditor, under legislative authority, to self help remedies.

Section 1 of the Bailiffs Act clearly defines a Bailiff as;

i. A person, who acts, assists any person to act or holds him or herself out as being available to act for or on behalf of any other person in the repossession or seizure of chattels or in any eviction

Section 3 of the Act also states that;

i. No person, other than a person authorized to act as a Bailiff under Court process, shall act as a Bailiff unless appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the recommendation of the Minister.

The only exceptions to the requirement of Bailiffs are;

i. In the instance of a debtor delivering the vehicle directly to the creditor himself or herself, which is the only method of voluntary surrender.

ii. An employee of the rental or leasing company taking possession of the vehicle him or herself on behalf of their respective employer, providing that title to the vehicle is reserved by the lessor pursuant to the terms of the contract or ownership in the vehicle.

iii. Any person specifically named to execute a Court Order.

iv. A landlord levying distress or termination on their own behalf.

The remedy available to a creditor or landlord and the use of "agents" on their behalf is restricted in Ontario to the provisions of the Bailiffs Act. With the exception of the above noted instances, only a Bailiff appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario may effect a repossession, distress or eviction.

Peaceful possession (without incident or protestation) and no force being employed in executing the process must be observed.






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ARE YOU USING A REAL BAILIFF.

Currently in Ontario, there are a number of individuals that prowl about the Province that claim or purport to be Bailiffs. The actions of some of these individuals have even brought negative attention and disrepute to Bailiffs across Ontario on occasion.

The situation is further complicated in that it can be very difficult for the general public to locate and contact appropriate authorities to determine the authenticity of a person and whether they hold an appointment under the Act.

The risks to either a creditor or landlord in using a person who is not a Bailiff are enormous, in that either entity could be dragged into a serious legal battle by a tenant or debtor in the event that the action taken is challenged by an aggrieved party. The action taken will ultimately be determined illegal by a Court of Law, with the creditor or landlord being held liable for damages.

* The Ontario Ministry of Small Business & Consumer Services at 416-326-8800 * Toll Free at 1-800-889-9768, Fax: 416-326-8665, email consumer@ontario.ca

Either of the above numbers can provide you with the information that you need quickly and efficiently.

The use of any person other than a Bailiff appointed under the Act would render the repossession, distress or eviction illegal. An "agent" acting on their own without lawful authority may face civil action and prosecution under the provisions of the Provincial Offences Act.

An agent on behalf of a creditor may, however, assist an appointed Bailiff in the repossession, distress or termination, so long as the appointed Bailiff is in attendance.

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