Norwich Order

From Riverview Legal Group

Citi Cards Canada v. Pleasance, 2010 ONSC 1124 (CanLII)[1]

[30] Citi Cards relies on the principles upon which a Norwich Order is granted in support of its argument that the Court should order the release of the information it seeks in order to give effect to its legal remedy of commencing a Sheriff’s sale of the Property. The evidence before me does not support a conclusion that the Banks were either complicit or innocently instrumental in causing Citi Card’s loss. This is an essential requirement for establishing entitlement to a Norwich Order.

[31] As C. Campbell J. observed in Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. v. Toronto-Dominion Bank, “A Norwich Order so called is extraordinary relief and still relatively rare in Canada.”[16] Spence J. described the remedy in the following terms in Isofoton S.A. v. Toronto Dominion Bank:

[45] A Norwich order essentially compels a third party to provide the applicant with information where the applicant believes it has been wronged and needs the third party’s assistance to determine the circumstances of the wrongdoing and allow the applicant to pursue its legal remedies.[17]

[32] Justice Campbell accepted and adopted the tests for a Norwich Order which Spence J. articulated in Isofoton S.A. Spence J. stated that the court will consider the following factors on an application for Norwich relief:

a) Whether the applicant has provided evidence sufficient to raise a valid, bona fide or reasonable claim;
b) Whether the applicant has established a relationship with the third party from whom the information is sought such that it establishes that the third party is somehow involved in the acts complained of;
c) Whether the third party is the only practicable source of the information available;
d) Whether the third party can be indemnified for costs to which the third party may be exposed because of the disclosure; some [authorities] refer to the associated expenses of complying with the orders, while others speak of damages; and
e) Whether the interests of justice favour the obtaining of disclosure.[18]

[33] Citi Cards has failed to satisfy the tests set out in ii and iii, above. With regard to test ii, Spence J. made the following observation in Isofoton S.A., about the requirement for “Third Party Involvement”:

[49] The authorities speak of a ‘mere witness’ as not being susceptible to a Norwich order. This language clearly does not mean that the third party must therefore have participated in the wrongdoing. An example of an insufficient connection is that of a witness to a car accident: such a third party could not ordinarily be subject to a Norwich order.

In contrast to the eye-witness, a bank in receipt of funds allegedly procured by a fraud on the applicant is a typical ‘innocently involved’ third party against which a Norwich order will be sought [citations omitted]. Without the bank’s involvement, the wrongful receipt and possible transfer of funds could not have occurred, and it is the confidential information possessed by the bank that will lead the applicant to the information required to determine whether a legal proceeding is appropriate.[19]

[34] As the Banks have observed, Mr. Pleasance is not a “wrongdoer” as one finds in the Norwich type of case. He is simply a debtor who owes money to Citi Cards. Norwich orders are available in situations where fraud or other torts are alleged to have occurred and where the Applicant needs a third party’s assistance to determine the circumstances of the wrongdoing because the wrongdoer should not be entitled to the confidentiality normally protecting bank records.

[35] In the present case, the Banks are not even witnesses of the actions of Mr. Pleasance that resulted in Citi Card’s judgment against him, let alone participants, innocent or otherwise.


Sangwan v Marsh, 2019 CanLII 93996 (ON SCSM)

9. If the plaintiff wishes to pursue a theory that the judgment-debtor owns real property held in trust by the garnishee or is collecting rental income on his behalf, it may be possible to investigate such a theory by way of an examination under rule 20.10 of the Small Claims Court Rules. Although unusual in practice, such an examination may be conducted of a person other than the debtor. In either case the debtor or other person may be examined in relation to the matters listed in subrule 20.10(4).

10. I note that unlike rule 60.18(6) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194, rule 20.10 of the Small Claims Court Rules does not require leave of the court to examine a non-party in aid of execution. Examinations of a judgment-debtor’s spouse, or an alleged transferee of a judgment-debtor’s property, are not unheard of: see Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. v. Fleming, [2002] B.C.J. No. 1527 (Master), and Patrons Acceptance Ltd. v. Born (1983), 34 C.P.C. 186 (Ont. Co. Ct.), respectively.

11. To be clear, it is not for this court to rule in advance on whether, if pursued, a rule 20.10 examination of the judgment-debtor’s girlfriend in this case would or would not be proper. I merely observe that rule 20.10 is a procedurally possible route to further inquiry in relation to these properties, whereas the present request by way of garnishment hearing is not.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Citi Cards Canada v. Pleasance, 2010 ONSC 1124 (CanLII), <>, retrieved on 2020-08-19
  2. Sangwan v Marsh, 2019 CanLII 93996 (ON SCSM), <>, retrieved on 2020-08-19