This act holds parents financially responsible for property loss, damage or destruction
intentionally caused by their children who are under 18 years of age.
It allows property owners, renters, and lessees whose property has been damaged,
destroyed or stolen by minors to bring a claim against the child’s parents in Small
Claims Court. As of January 1, 2010, the maximum amount of a claim is $25,000.00.
The amount includes costs incurred by the victim such as lost wages, profits, and
car rental costs arising from property damage or loss. Victims are able to use documents
under the Young Offenders Act and Youth Criminal Justice Act to help prove their case,
where the youth has been found guilty of that property offence in youth court.
Victims of property crimes committed by minors follow the standard Small Claims Court
process. The victim files a claim for damages against the parent(s) of the child, who
in turn can file a defence. A settlement conference may follow where the resolution of
the dispute may occur before a trial. If the case goes to trial, it is a civil court
proceeding and police charges or police report are not required to start or prove the
case. Parents have an opportunity to defend the case where they would attempt to show
that they exercised reasonable supervision and tried to stop the damage from occurring,
or show the child’s act was not intentional. The judge would then render their decision.
There is an appeal process available.
Some examples of property loss or damage under $25,000.00 could include damage to windows,
doors, interiors of homes, apartments, etc. Thefts from these types of buildings would also
qualify for a case. As well, damage to vehicles and shop lifting are included.
For more information on this Act, and Small Claims Court procedures, go to the following: