BCLI welcomes introduction of Money Judgment Enforcement Act
May 4, 2023
BY Kevin Zakreski
With the introduction of Bill 27 (the Money Judgment Enforcement Act) in the legislative assembly, the BC government has moved to implement recommendations from BCLI and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, which will fundamentally reform an important area of civil law.
A money judgment is an order of a court for a party to a lawsuit to pay another party a sum of money. Money judgments often go uncollected, frustrating successful litigants, because British Columbia’s system for enforcing money judgments is archaic, fragmentary, and inefficient. The Money Judgment Enforcement Act will remedy these faults, giving British Columbia a modern and integrated system for enforcing money judgments and making it easier for successful litigants to obtain payment of money owed to them.
As the ministry of attorney general explained in its news release accompanying Bill 27:
Currently, people who are awarded a money judgment must make a court application for each method used to collect funds if the person ordered to pay does not voluntarily comply with the judgment. Methods to collect funds include garnishing wages, garnishing funds in bank accounts, seizing and then selling personal goods and putting liens on personal property. Currently, requesting the garnishment of wages requires a new court application every two weeks, which can be time-consuming and expensive for the person pursuing collection. Under the new act, employers will receive a single notice to garnish a percentage of wages that will remain valid indefinitely.
The proposed legislation enables money judgments to be enforced with a single enforcement instruction after a person registers in a searchable public registry. This eliminates the need to apply to the court multiple times to pursue collection. Tribunal orders will automatically be entered in the registry and enforced, instead of having to first be registered with the court.