Writing and sending a formal notice

Before you file your application at the Small Claims Division, you should send the person who intend to sue a formal notice. In some cases, this is even compulsory.

You can write the formal notice yourself or ask a lawyer to write it for you. You must keep a copy and send the original by registered mail.

It is important to keep your copy of the formal notice, along with the confirmation of delivery provided by Canada Post. This will allow you to prove that the formal notice was received by the intended recipient.

A formal notice is drawn up in the form of a letter, and must contain:

  • the date on which it was written;
  • the recipient’s name and address;
  • the heading “without prejudice”, which protects you in terms of the statements you make in the letter;
  • the words “formal notice” in the body of the letter, to ensure that the recipient is aware of its importance;
  • a summary of the dispute;
  • your claim;
  • a time limit for settling the claim (in general, a period of 10 days is considered reasonable);
  • your contact information and signature.

Model for a formal notice

Place and date


Name and address of the intended recipient


I am writing to inform you that I am claiming the sum of $XX from you for the following reasons:


This letter constitutes formal notice to pay me the sum of $XX within ten days. Otherwise, I may take legal action against you immediately and without further notice.

I hereby inform you that I will consider any proposal for mediation or negotiation before referring the case to the courts.

Please act accordingly.


Your address and telephone number

Last update: October 21, 2022


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