It sets out various time limits to bring actions forward, depending
on the basis of the claim. I am not going to bore everybody in the House
with various time limits that are set out for each and every claim, but there
are a number of them, depending on which action a person wishes to
The current legislation is creating uncertainty and confusion on
both sides and can lead to complex and costly litigation. This is true for
lawyers. It’s true for self-represented litigants, so these are people who are
representing themselves in court, and for companies that are operating in
multiple jurisdictions where the legislation may be different across various
provinces in Canada.
Madam Speaker, the new bill proposes standard limitation periods
for all claims. Specifically, it establishes a two-year, basic limitation
period for most civil claims, such as those that involve personal injury,
breach of contract, et cetera. What that means is you have got two years to
start an action from the date a person discovers that they have a legal
action. It also creates an ultimate limitation period of 15 years for
legal claims which may not be discovered right away. What that
means is, 15 years from the day on which the act or the omission,
which the act is based upon, has occurred. That is the ultimate
limitation period. [Original emphasis]
This is in line with what is happening in many other jurisdictions.
It’s also in line with the model put forward by a national law reform body
called The Uniform Law Conference of Canada, that proposes a more
modern model for all jurisdictions. New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia have already adopted
modern limitation legislation. We want to develop a consistent approach
to limitations law across the country.
Perhaps most importantly, Madam Speaker, this bill does not
impose time limits for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence
who want to file law suits. There is one exception in the bill where time
limits will not apply. The existing Act gives a one-year limitation period
for sexual assault claims. There are a variety of exceptions that could
suspend the limitation period, but they are difficult to understand and to
apply. So I’m pleased that we are able to put forward a bill that better
protects and respects the rights of victims in this case.
In addition to eliminating time limits for victims of sexual assault
and domestic violence, the bill also does not set limits for assaults
involving dependants or people in intimate relationships. As in the current
Act, there will be no time limits for any claims involving children. This
means limitation periods are suspended until children turn the age of 19.
Time periods also don’t run while a claimant is incapacitated, so the