Civil Resolution Tribunal Act

The British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal was created under the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act (2012) becoming Canada’s first online tribunal in 2016. It offers an accessible, affordable way to resolve disputes without needing a lawyer or attending court.

The CRT began accepting strata property claims of any amount on July 13, 2016. Its jurisdiction has expanded over the years to include:

  • June 1, 2017: Small claims up to $5,000
  • April 1, 2019: Motor vehicle accident injury claims for damages up to $50,000, including determination of whether an injury is a “minor injury”
  • July 1, 2019: claims of any amount about incorporated BC societies, and housing and community service cooperative associations
  • May 1, 2021: claims about entitlement to accident benefits under the enhanced care regime
  • September 1, 2022: claims about ICBC’s assessment of responsibility for a motor vehicle accident

The CRT encourages a collaborative approach to resolving disputes. If participants can’t resolve their dispute, an independent tribunal member can make a decision about it. It is intended, as with the Family Law Act, to encourage a collaborative, problem-solving approach to dispute resolution, rather than the traditional adversarial litigation model.

Jurisdiction

The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act gives the Civil Resolution Tribunal authority to resolve most:

  • Vehicle accident claims including entitlement to accident benefits and ICBC’s assessment of responsibility for an accident
  • Small claims up to $5,000
  • Strata property claims of any amount
  • Claims of any amount about incorporated BC societies, and housing and community service cooperative associations

The CRT can’t resolve:

  • Claims against a provincial or federal government
  • Claims involving libel, slander or malicious prosecution
  • Claims that were filed or resolved through another legally binding process or other dispute resolution process
  • Family law claims, like dividing family property or family debt under the Family Law Act
  • Landlord/tenant claims within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancy Branch
  • Employment claims within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Employment Standards Branch
  • Some claims about land such as:
    • Ordering the sale of property
    • Ending or dissolving an interest in land
    • Claims about builder’s liens
  • Some strata property claims such as:
    • Ordering the sale of a strata lot
    • Appointment of an administrator to run the strata corporation
    • Applications to wind up a strata corporation
    • Orders vesting authority in a liquidator
    • Appointment of voters when there is no person to vote in respect of a strata lot
    • Determining each owner’s percent share in the strata complex
    • Remedies under section 33 of the Strata Property Act for an alleged conflict of interest by a strata council member

How the Civil Resolution Tribunal works

The Civil Resolution Tribunal has four main stages. The CRT encourages a collaborative approach to dispute resolution. Participants can make an agreement to settle their claim at any stage.  If participants can’t resolve their dispute, an independent tribunal member can make a decision about it. CRT orders can be enforced like a court order.  

  • Free legal information and tools using the online Solution Explorer
  • Negotiation through a secure online platform
  • Facilitation where a CRT case manager helps participants try to reach an agreement
  • A CRT decision if participants can’t reach an agreement by negotiation or facilitation

The Provincial Court's role in tribunal small claims

The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act provides that small claims up to $5,000 must go through the tribunal before going to Provincial Court; however, the Provincial Court still has a role in the following situations:

  • The CRT doesn’t have jurisdiction to decide the claim
  • The CRT refuses to resolve the claim
  • The Provincial Court orders that the matter not be decided at the CRT
  • Enforcement of the CRT order in Provincial Court

For more information