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Civil Contempt and the Rules of Civil Procedure

Procedures for civil contempt are governed by R60.11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Motion for Contempt Order

60.11 (1) A contempt order to enforce an order requiring a person to do an act, other than the payment of money, or to abstain from doing an act, may be obtained only on motion to a judge in the proceeding in which the order to be enforced was made.

(2) The notice of motion shall be served personally on the person against whom a contempt order is sought, and not by an alternative to personal service, unless the court orders otherwise.

(3) An affidavit in support of a motion for a contempt order may contain statements of the deponent’s information and belief only with respect to facts that are not contentious, and the source of the information and the fact of the belief shall be specified in the affidavit.

Warrant for Arrest

(4) A judge may issue a warrant (Form 60K) for the arrest of the person against whom a contempt order is sought where the judge is of the opinion that the person’s attendance at the hearing is necessary in the interest of justice and it appears that the person is not likely to attend voluntarily.

Content of Order

(5) In disposing of a motion under subrule (1), the judge may make such order as is just, and where a finding of contempt is made, the judge may order that the person in contempt,

(a) be imprisoned for such period and on such terms as are just;

(b) be imprisoned if the person fails to comply with a term of the order;

(c) pay a fine;

(d) do or refrain from doing an act;

(e) pay such costs as are just; and

(f) comply with any other order that the judge considers necessary,

and may grant leave to issue a writ of sequestration under rule 60.09 against the person’s property.

Where Corporation is in Contempt

(6) Where a corporation is in contempt, the judge may also make an order under subrule (5) against any officer or director of the corporation and may grant leave to issue a writ of sequestration under rule 60.09 against his or her property.

Warrant of Committal

(7) An order under subrule (5) for imprisonment may be enforced by the issue of a warrant of committal (Form 60L).

Discharging or Setting Aside Contempt Order

(8) On motion, a judge may discharge, set aside, vary or give directions in respect of an order under subrule (5) or (6) and may grant such other relief and make such other order as is just.

Order that Act be done by Another Person

(9) Where a person fails to comply with an order requiring the doing of an act, other than the payment of money, a judge on motion may, instead of or in addition to making a contempt order, order the act to be done, at the expense of the disobedient person, by the party enforcing the order or any other person appointed by the judge.

(10) The party enforcing the order and any person appointed by the judge are entitled to the costs of the motion under subrule (9) and the expenses incurred in doing the act ordered to be done, fixed by the judge or assessed by an assessment officer in accordance with Rule 58.
. Astley v Verdun

In Astley v Verdun (Ont CA, 2015) the Court of Appeal stated that a court can have reference to the Criminal Code for guidance in contempt proceedings (here in imposing a conditional sentence), but the Criminal Code provisions are not binding:
[3] This process started as a civil contempt process and retains that character. The discretion of a judge in civil contempt is governed by rule 60.11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. A judge is free to use s. 742 of the Criminal Code for guidance in imposing a conditional sentence as penalty for a contempt. However, that does not subject the judge to the constraints of s. 742. It was open to the motion judge to levy a new penalty for the appellant’s breach of the sentencing order for the first contempt regardless of the requirements of s. 742 in the context of criminal contempt.


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