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  • Charles Baker

What is garnishment?

A garnishment is a legal process whereby a creditor requires a third party to turn over to the creditor a debtor’s wages or bank accounts or other assets. When a debtor fails to pay creditors the money owed to them, the creditors may apply to the court to seek a “garnishment.” This legally allows them to seize a debtor’s salary, money in his or her bank account, or other money owed to repay the debt.

Garnishment proceedings are governed by rule 60.08 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and are commenced by a Requisition with the court office, unless six years or more have elapsed since the date of the judgment or its enforcement is subject to a condition, in which case leave is required of a judge. A garnishment extends to future debts payable after service of the garnishment, and within six years after it is issued, except for accounts opened in financial institutions, employment commenced, or insurance policies entered into after service of the garnishment. A garnishment applies to non-residents of Ontario if the debtor would be entitled to sue the garnishee in Ontario. Joint debts may be garnisheed to the extent of one-half of the debt or a greater or lesser amount specified by the judgment. A garnishee may dispute the garnishment by requiring a hearing before a judge, which is to be dealt with in a summary fashion. If the garnishee fails to pay a debt attached, the creditor may enforce the debt against the garnishee.

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