On April 16, 2012, the Ministry of Justice announced that it was introducing new legislation that will, if passed, standardize the time limits for filing lawsuits in British Columbia.

In making the announcement the Ministry said:

“Bill 34, the proposed new Limitation Act covers breach of contract, wrongful dismissal, personal injury, defamation and other civil actions. It sets a single, two-year limitation period for most civil claims and reduces the maximum time limit for filing a claim to 15 years from the date the act in question occurred. The proposed reforms balance the rights of both plaintiffs and defendants, yet ensure important aspects of the current law remain unchanged.

These changes are the result of significant consultation with the public, consumer groups and business, legal and local government representatives, and they will make B.C.’s law consistent with reforms in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.

Limitation periods can affect the justice system and its efficiency, the cost and availability of insurance products for all British Columbians, and how financial arrangements are structured. They can also determine how long individuals and businesses must keep records that might be required to support a legal action.”

The new legislative reforms introduced by the Government yesterday were first proposed in a 2010 white paper and based on public consultations.

Bill C-34, if passed, will involve a move away from a variety of basic limitation periods (currently based on the type of cause of action) to a single two-year limitation period for most civil claims, with exceptions for the enforcement of monetary judgments and statutes with specific limitation periods – for example, the Competition Act.

The new legislation would also mean that the maximum time limit for filing a claim would be reduced to 15 years from 30 years.  Under the new legislation, the ultimate limitation period would also be suspended until a claim was discovered (if a defendant willfully concealed facts about an injury, loss, damage or that they were responsible for the act or omission or where a defendant willfully misled a plaintiff about whether civil proceedings would provide an appropriate remedy).

For the Ministry of Justice’s news release and Backgrounder see:

Time Limits for Filing Lawsuits to be Standardized

For a copy of Bill C-34 see:

Bill C-34


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