British Columbia has introduced Bill 34 to replace the existing Limitation Act and streamline it with limitation periods in other provinces. It is not clear when the new law will actually be passed and come into effect but it should be in the relatively near future.
The new Limitation Act includes the following major changes:
- It replaces limitation periods of between 2 and 10 years with a single 2 year limitation period for most civil claims, starting the day on which the right to make a claim was “discovered” (knowledge of damage caused by a wrongful act or omission for which a court action might lie).
- This does not apply where other legislation sets its own limitation period (such as the Insurance Act, for example, although that will also basically be 2 years come July 1, 2012). There is also an exception for the enforcement of monetary judgments, which will have a 10 year limitation.
- The 2 year rule also applies to claims for contribution and indemnity; such claims by defendants against others must be made within 2 years of service of the lawsuit or knowledge that such a claim could be made, whichever is later.
- Postponement is still available for “infants” (to age of majority) and persons under disability.
- Unless exempted, the “ultimate” (upper limit) limitation period for bringing a lawsuit has been reduced from 30 years to 15 years from the date on which a wrongful act or omission occurred.
- The ultimate limitation period will be suspended if a defendant wilfully concealed facts about an injury, loss or damage, or that they were responsible for the act or omission.
- It will not be retroactive but will include a transition clause to ensure those involved in existing legal matters can rely on the state of the law prior to the new Act being introduced.
We will keep you advised of any developments and let you know when the Act comes into force. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the new regime, please contact Raman Johal at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any other member of the Clark Wilson Insurance Litigation Group.