What is a process server

A process server is an individual hired to deliver or serve a court document upon an individual or company that is involved in a particular court action. The use of a process server essentially is giving the proper legal notice to another party. The delivery of a court document has to be affected in a specific way.

Are the Rules that must be followed in order to serve a court document?

Each court has specific rules regarding service. These rules must be followed for a service to be valid.

In Ontario, a process server must follow specific court rules. These court rules can vary depending upon whether they are serving the Civil Court, Family Court, Small Claims Court documents. The method of service can also vary depending upon the type of material served. A process server must understand the Rules of Court concerning the documents to be served.

What are the different types of services permitted in Ontario?

The preferred method of service in any court case is personal service. In other words, they are handing the documents to an individual personally. A service can take place either at a place of residence or any different location. It is essential to note the date, time, and address when the document delivered. An affidavit of service records the date and time and address where the materials served.  

Another option is alternatives to personal service. This service option exists when serving an individual at a place of residence. At the time of service, the defendant/respondent is not home. The documents must be in a sealed envelope and adequately addressed to the individual. An adult member of the same household who is over the age of 18 years can receive the documents. A further copy must be mailed on the same day or the day immediately following. Again, it is essential to note the relevant information to swear an affidavit of service. 

Should personal service and alternative to personal service not be possible, there may be a need to obtain an order for substituted service. A moving party can apply to the court by way of a motion and supporting affidavit, seeking permission from a judge to serve a document in a different differently. An affidavit of attempted service must identify dates and times when the attempts to serve the defendant/respondent. It is also essential to identify any key facts which might help to confirm the accuracy of an address that a party is possibly avoiding the service and on what basis that belief of avoidance. The affidavit should identify what other efforts made in an attempt to locate a particular individual. The affidavit of attempted service has to satisfy a judge that sufficient efforts made to serve a party. The attempted service affidavit should contain information to establish why one would believe that the court documents would come to the attention of the party is served in an alternative manner.

What are some possible methods for substituted service?

We have seen many different orders for‘substituted service. A typical method for substituted service is for posting the documents on the door of a residence. Instances like this confirm that the defendant/respondent resides in a specific home. It also confirms that other efforts to locate a party that has failed and those other methods of service are not available.

Delivering the documents to another individual is an additional option. In this instance, it confirms that a specific individual knows how to reach the defendant/respondent but refuses to cooperate. A substituted service order can be obtained. If the documents served to a particular individual, then there is a belief that they will come to the attention of the noted defendant/respondent.

A method that has become more common given the digital age is the effecting of service on someone’s social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

How long does it take to serve a document?

The question about how long it takes to serve a document is an interesting one. It is generally the first question asked, followed by how much it will cost. There are no set and simple answers as it relates to how long service might take as each file has a life of its own. From experience, it all boils down to the circumstances surrounding each service.
On average, it takes one to three attempts to effect service upon an individual at a residential address. It is not uncommon for a document to be delivered quickly. It is equally not unusual for something to take a week to ten days and sometimes longer. The ability to effect a service fast can come down to the information provided before the service attempts start.

Can anyone be a process server?

In Ontario, there are no professional criteria that need to be met for someone to call themselves a process server. Generally speaking, one has to be over the age of 18 years of age.

Given our length of time in the industry, we have found that anyone can serve documents. However, very few can serve court documents well. Capable process servers must possess some fundamental skills which become more finely honed over time. The most valuable asset that a process server has is excellent communication skills. Having excellent communication skills is vital as a process server interacts with various individuals from all backgrounds and socioeconomic classes. Another critical attribute is the ability to read body language and listen to verbal and nonverbal cues. A calm and non-confrontational demeanor is essential as there is no need ever to make a serving situation any more difficult. A process server who possesses resourcefulness and can think on their feet is an asset. Lastly, being able to juggle competing tasks efficiently is beneficial. These are some of the skills that a server should possess to be effective in serving documents and gathering information.

Process Serving and MCA Process Service

MCA Process Service has been serving court documents for 24 years. As a Process Server in Ottawa, we serve documents on behalf of lawyers, paralegals, corporations, and individuals. Our office serves documents locally in Ottawa and the surrounding suburbs. We are also able to affect services nationally and internationally.

Feel free to reach out to our office. We will happily discuss what documents need serving. Reach out to us either by e-mail at info@mcaprocessservice.com or telephone at 613-791-4954. Our general response time is up to one business day.