Arrange for alternative service (Provincial Court)

Provincial Court


What are some alternative methods of service?

You must present a reasonable plan to the judge/master for delivering the documents so they'll get to the person you need to serve. For example, if you believe that the other party would definitely receive the documents if you gave them to their mother, include that information in your affidavit. Include the mother's name and address, as the judge/master will need to include those details in the order. If you have a mailbox number, address, fax number, or email address for the person to be served, include that information, and ask if you may serve the person by mail, fax, or email. You can also ask if the person may be served by taping a notice to their door.

If you have no contact information at all, and you don't know of any family members, friends, employers, or other acquaintances who could bring the application to the other party’s notice, you must state this in your affidavit. Under these circumstances, you could ask if you can serve the documents by posting an advertisement in the newspaper in the community where you believe the other party lives. You must draft the announcement in the proper format: for Provincial Court cases, a Notice by Advertisement (Form 12). You must also pay for the costs of the advertisement.

You could also ask the judge/master to allow you to serve the other party by posting a copy of your Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1) in the court registry. This is the cheapest method of alternative service, but you must first make every effort to find the other party (and be prepared to prove that you've done so).

If the judge/master agrees to allow you to serve the documents this way, they will specify how long the documents must stay posted at the court registry. You'll have to take the order for substituted service and a copy of your Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1) to the court registrar. The registrar will date stamp the documents for you to put up on the board. You'll have to take them down again. Different courts may have different procedures for doing this. Ask at the court registry how to proceed.

If you get an order for substituted service, you must serve the document exactly as ordered and include a copy of the order with the documents to be served, unless the judge/master says otherwise.

See Provincial Court (Family) Rule 9 for more information about substituted service applications.

For more information about other ways to serve documents, see the JP Boyd on Family Law wikibook.

Fill out two forms

Once you've tried everything you can to serve the documents on the other party, fill out a Notice of Motion (Form 16). Use the same file number and court registry name that you used in any previous Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1), even if you've moved. Ask the family registry clerk at this court which dates are available for the hearing. You must put the court hearing date into the Notice of Motion (Form 16). This form has instructions to help you fill it out. You can either fill it out online or print it and fill it out by hand (print neatly using dark-coloured ink).

Complete an Affidavit (Form 17). This form contains technical instructions to help you fill it out. You can either fill it out online or print it and fill it out by hand (print neatly using dark-coloured ink).

Swear the affidavit

Have your completed Affidavit (Form 17) sworn or affirmed by taking it to a lawyer, notary public, or other commissioner for taking affidavits (found in courthouse registries at Provincial Court).

If you're going to a lawyer or a notary public, call ahead to make an appointment and to make sure that they can swear or affirm the document for you. Say the document is an affidavit. Make sure you tell the person that you don't need any advice.

When you go to have the Affidavit (Form 17) sworn or affirmed, take photo identification with you. The person who will swear the affidavit for you must be sure you are who you say you are. After identifying you, the commissioner will ask you if you've read the affidavit, and if you swear or affirm that the contents are true to the best of your knowledge and belief.

See our self-help guide Serve Provincial Court documents by personal service for more information about how to serve a document and complete the Affidavit of Personal Service (Form 5).

File the forms

Once the Affidavit (Form 17) has been sworn or affirmed, make three photocopies of all your documents, and go to the court registry to file your documents.

You must file the application at the same court where any Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1) was filed or previous order was made. File all original affidavit(s) and your Notice of Motion (Form 16). File the three photocopies of each document at the same time. The court clerk will give you back the extra copies stamped with the court seal. These are your "filed copies."

Go to court

On your court date, ask the judge for an order based on your filed affidavit evidence. If the judge refuses to use affidavit evidence (in Provincial Court, it's the judge's choice), ask if you may take the witness stand to give your evidence, or ask for a hearing date at which you may come back to give your evidence verbally. Follow the judge's instructions.

Attend the hearing, if necessary. If there's no lawyer for either party, the Provincial Court registry will prepare the order for alternative service for you and mail it to you.