Overview

In a civil lawsuit, the successful party is usually entitled to have interest added to the money awarded by the court. The Courts of Justice Act sets out how interest is awarded. If you want to ask for interest on the money you are claiming, you must ask for it in your statement of claim. There are two types of interest:

  • prejudgment interest
  • postjudgment interest

Prejudgment interest rates

Prejudgment interest is calculated from the start of your case until the court makes an order about the money you should receive. This interest is intended to cover the loss of the use of money you would have had if you received the money when the incident occurred.

If parties agree on the rate

If the rate of prejudgment interest has been agreed to by the parties (for example, in a written contract signed by all parties), you must indicate that interest rate in your statement of claim.

If parties do not agree on the rate

If no prejudgment interest rate was agreed upon, you can ask the judge to award you prejudgment interest at the rate set out in the Courts of Justice Act. The amount of prejudgment interest will not be calculated until the date judgment is awarded.

Calculation

The prejudgment interest amount you may claim is calculated by:

  1. multiplying your original claim amount by the prejudgment interest rate
  2. dividing the result from step one by 365 days per year
  3. multiplying the result from step two by the number of days from when the case started to when the judgement was awarded

For example, if you made a claim for $40,000 in February 2021, the interest rate you can claim is 0.5%. If 60 days have passed since the day you started the claim to the time you are granted judgment, the prejudgment interest amount you are owed would be as follows:

$40,000 x 0.5% ÷ 365 days per year x 60 days = $32.88

Postjudgment interest

Postjudgment interest is added automatically to the amount you are owed starting on the date when the court makes an order on money you should receive and ending on the date you receive payment. This interest is intended to cover the loss of the use of money you would have had if you received payment the day the judgement was made.

If your claim was successful

If your claim was successful, postjudgment interest will automatically accumulate and be added to the amount you are entitled to receive from the defendant. If no postjudgment interest rate was agreed upon, money owing under an order (including costs) will bear interest at the rate set out in the Courts of Justice Act.

Calculation

The amount of postjudgment interest starts accumulating from the day the judgment was made to the day you receive the payment. It is calculated on the day you are paid by:

  1. multiplying the total judgment amount (including prejudgment interest) by the postjudgment interest rate
  2. dividing the result from step one by 365 days per year
  3. multiplying the result from step two by the number of days from when the judgment was made to when the payment was received

For example, if you were awarded a judgment for $40,000 with $32.88 prejudgment interest in February 2021, the interest rate you can claim is 2.0%. If 60 days have passed since the day you were granted the judgment to the day you were paid by the defendant, the postjudgment interest amount you are owed would be:

($40,000 + $32.88) x 2.00% ÷ 365 days per year x 60 days = $131.61

List of prejudgment and postjudgment interest rates

Prejudgment interest rates for causes of action arising after October 23, 1989

Year First quarter Second quarter Third quarter Fourth quarter
2021 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5%
2020 2.0% 2.0% 0.5% 0.5%
2019 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2018 1.3% 1.5% 1.5% 1.8%
2017 0.8% 0.8% 0.8% 1.0%
2016 0.8% 0.8% 0.8% 0.8%
2015 1.3% 1.0% 1.0% 1.0%
2014 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3%
2013 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3%
2012 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3%
2011 1.3% 1.3% 1.3% 1.3%
2010 0.5% 0.5% 0.8% 1.0%
2009 2.5% 1.3% 0.5% 0.5%
2008 4.8% 4.3% 3.3% 3.3%
2007 4.5% 4.5% 4.5% 4.8%
2006 3.3% 3.8% 4.5% 4.5%
2005 2.8% 2.8% 2.8% 2.8%
2004 3.0% 2.8% 2.3% 2.3%
2003 3.0% 3.0% 3.5% 3.3%
2002 2.5% 2.3% 2.5% 3.0%
2001 6.0% 5.8% 4.8% 4.3%
2000 5.0% 5.3% 6.0% 6.0%
1999 5.3% 5.3% 4.8% 4.8%
1998 4.0% 5.0% 5.0% 6.0%
1997 3.3% 3.3% 3.3% 3.5%
1996 6.1% 5.6% 5.0% 4.3%
1995 6.0% 8.0% 7.6% 6.6%
1994 4.3% 4.1% 6.6% 5.6%
1993 8.3% 6.1% 5.1% 5.0%
1992 7.7% 7.5% 6.3% 5.1%
1991 12.3% 10% 9.1% 8.8%
1990 12.5% 13.5% 13.9% 12.9%
1989 N/A N/A N/A 12.4%

Postjudgment interest rates (and prejudgment interest rates for causes of action arising on or before October 23, 1989)

Year First quarter Second quarter Third quarter Fourth quarter
2021 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2020 3.0% 3.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2019 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
2018 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
2017 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2016 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2015 3.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2014 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
2013 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
2012 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
2011 3.0% 3.0% 3.0% 3.0%
2010 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2009 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 2.0%
2008 6.0% 6.0% 5.0% 5.0%
2007 6.0% 6.0% 6.0% 6.0%
2006 5.0% 5.0% 6.0% 6.0%
2005 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0%
2004 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0%
2003 4.0% 4.0% 5.0% 5.0%
2002 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0%
2001 7.0% 7.0% 6.0% 6.0%
2000 6.0% 7.0% 7.0% 7.0%
1999 7.0% 7.0% 6.0% 6.0%
1998 5.0% 6.0% 6.0% 7.0%
1997 5.0% 5.0% 5.0% 5.0%
1996 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 6.0%
1995 8.0% 10.0% 9.0% 8.0%
1994 6.0% 6.0% 8.0% 7.0%
1993 10.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0%
1992 9.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0%
1991 14.0% 11.0% 11.0% 10.0%
1990 14.0% 15.0% 15.0% 14.0%
1989 13.0% 13.0% 14.0% 14.0%
1988 10.0% 10.0% 11.0% 12.0%
1987 10.0% 9.0% 10.0% 11.0%
1986 11.0% 13.0% 10.0% 10.0%
1985 12.0% 13.0% 11.0% 11.0%

Effective September 7, 2021, prejudgment and postjudgment interest rates will be published on the Ontario government’s website pursuant to O. Reg. 339/07

Proceedings before 1985

For proceedings commenced before January 1, 1985, the postjudgment interest rate is the prime bank rate, which is published in the Bank of Canada Review. You can find this rate from back copies of the Bank of Canada Review or by calling the Bank of Canada.

The rates are also listed in the:

  • 1987 to 1991 editions of Carthy Millar Cowan's Ontario Annual Practice (published by Canada Law Book Inc.)
  • 1985-1990 editions of Watson and McGowan's Supreme and District Court Practice (published by Thomson Carswell) following the text of section 138 of the Judicature Act

You can access these texts through:

  • subscription
  • a law library
  • some public libraries
Updated: September 07, 2021
Published: August 27, 2021