Civil enforcement agencies employ bailiffs to collect on people’s outstanding debts. These include:
- child and spousal support
- court orders
- parking fines
To pay for outstanding debts, bailiffs take away and sell people’s property, such as:
- luxury items
- jointly-owned possessions
How to collect an outstanding debt or do an eviction
Step 1. File a court order
To do this, follow this process:
Step 2. Serve the court order
You will need to serve the court order through a process server.
To get a list of Alberta’s process servers, contact:
Office of the Sheriff – Civil Enforcement
Hours: 8:15 am - 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
For toll-free calling, dial 310-0000 before an Alberta phone number.
Step 3. Wait for the other party’s response
Court order from a Provincial Court
If you filed your court order in Provincial Court, the other party should respond by following this process:
Court order from the Court of Queen’s Bench
If you filed your court order in the Court of Queen’s Bench, the other party should respond by following this process:
Both responses end with you and the other party attending a court hearing.
Step 4. Hire an agency
If the other party doesn’t respond to your court order, hire one of these agencies:
Step 5. Wait for an agency’s bailiff to collect or evict
A bailiff has the right to enter the other party’s home or business to collect on their outstanding debts and / or evict them. A bailiff can do this without a court order if:
- the other party lets them enter
- the court rules that force isn’t necessary for them to enter
If the other party doesn’t allow a bailiff to enter their home or business, the bailiff will obtain a court order to do so. The cost of getting this order will be passed onto the other party.
When a bailiff appears, they must show their:
- Alberta Civil Enforcement Bailiff badge
- picture ID
Usually, the other party will be given advance notice that their property is about to be seized. In some instances, the court will instruct a bailiff to take the other party’s property without giving any advance notice.
Use of force
When a bailiff is authorized to use force, it must be reasonable force. Usually, this means that a locksmith will enter the other party’s home or business by opening a locked door. After a bailiff enters, they can perform their work duties even if they’re asked to leave.
Sheriffs and police officers
As a safety precaution, bailiffs may request that sheriffs or police officers accompany them when they enter a home or business.
If a bailiff takes your vehicle, they’ll usually report this to the police. Check with your local police station before you report your vehicle as missing.
If your landlord threatens to evict you or take your property for late rent, you have these options:
- try to resolve the dispute with your landlord
- discuss your situation with a lawyer
- contact the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service
Your landlord cannot evict you or take your property. Only a bailiff can do this.