6. What type of legal action can a Kahnawà:ke business take in regards to collecting outstanding accounts from Kahnawà:ke clients and non-registered businesses?

In order to fully answer this question we must distinguish between the right to take legal action and the right to execute on a judgement resulting from the said legal action. Whether the creditor is a corporation/company, a partnership or a sole proprietorship, it has a right to sue a debtor who is in default of fulfilling its obligations under contract, regardless of whether the debtor is native or non-native. The difficulty comes in executing a judgement when the creditor is a non-native, such as a corporation/company or a partnership, and the debtor is a native.

Section 89 of the Indian Act protects natives from any type of seizure of their property situated on reserve at the instance of a non-native creditor. As such, even if a non-native can sue a native for breach of contract, they cannot execute the judgement if the only property owned by the native is situated on reserve.

With this distinction in mind, a corporation/company, or partnership which during a twelve month period immediately before the taking of an action had no more than five employees may sue its debtor in small claims court if the value of the action is no more than $7,000.00. If the value of the action is between $7,000.00 and $70,000.00 the creditor, regardless of its status, can sue in the Court of Quebec.  If the value of the action exceeds $70,000.00 then in all cases the action is taken before the Superior Court of Quebec. Kahnawà:ke is situated in the judicial district of Longueuil, generally if the contract is signed in Kahnawà:ke the action resulting from breach of contract should be taken in that district.

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