Ministry of Justice
Limitation Act White Paper
This consultation closed Nov. 15, 2010.
Note: The Ministry of Attorney General is now the Ministry of Justice.
The Ministry of Attorney General has published a White Paper on Limitation Act Reform (September 2010) and is inviting comment on the proposed reforms to the Limitation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 266. The white paper responds to the policy topics raised in public consultations held in 2007 and provides a forum for further discussion on the proposed reforms. Attached to the white paper is a consultation draft of a proposed Limitation Act.
The Limitation Act sets out the time periods people have to start a proceeding to sue one another in the civil justice system. While many other laws set limitation periods, the Limitation Act sets the default regime. Unless another law sets the applicable limitation period, the Limitation Act applies.
Reform to the Limitation Act is being considered for a number of reasons, including:
- The Limitation Act is over 35 years old and has not been comprehensively reviewed since its introduction.
- It is out of step with limitations statutes of other provinces that have modernized their limitations laws.
- The Uniform Law Conference of Canada put forward a model limitations statute as a suggested framework to develop a harmonized (consistent) approach to limitations law across the country.
- Independent law reform bodies in B.C. have recommended reform in 1990 and again in 2002.
- Individuals and organizations have been calling for change.
Some of the key changes recommended in the white paper include:
- moving from a variety of basic limitation periods, based on the type of legal action, to a single two-year basic limitation period for all civil claims;
- moving from a general 30-year ultimate limitation period to a single ultimate limitation period of either 10 or 15 years. Reforms include changing the commencement model of the ultimate limitation period from an accrual model to one that starts the clock running in the ultimate limitation period based on an act or omission model; and
- eliminating the special six-year ultimate limitation period for negligence claims against doctors, hospitals and hospital employees. All lawsuits will be governed by a single ultimate limitation period of either 10 or 15 years.
Comments may be mailed, faxed or emailed to:
Civil Policy and Legislation Office
Justice Services Branch
Ministry of Attorney General
PO Box 9222 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9J1
Facsimile: 250 387-4525
Unless clearly marked to the contrary, the ministry will assume that comments received are not confidential and that respondents consent to the ministry attributing their comments to them and to the release or publication of their submissions. Requests for confidentiality or anonymity will be respected to the extent permitted by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.