New Limitation Act in force June 1, 2013

On June 1, 2013, the new Limitation Act, SBC 2012, c. 13 (formerly Bill 34) comes into force. The new Act simplifies the time limits for filing civil lawsuits. It replaces the current two, six and 10-year limitation periods for civil claims with a two-year-from-discovery basic limitation period and the current 30-year ultimate limitation period with a 15-year-from-occurrence limitation period (with some exceptions).

The new Act’s limitation periods will apply to claims arising from acts or omissions that occur and are discovered on or after June 1, 2013. Under the new Act, most claims are discovered when a ­claimant knew or ought to have known that the injury, loss or damage was caused by the defendant, and that a court proceeding would be an appropriate remedy (although discovery is postponed for some claims). 

Lawyers can continue to rely on the current Act’s provisions to advise clients on existing matters, as the new Act provides that the current Act’s limitation periods continue to govern if the act or omission occurs and is discovered before June 1, 2013. The new Act also contains transition rules that will govern pre-existing claims arising from acts or omissions that occur before the effective date but are discovered on or after June 1, 2013.

Understanding the new law and its effects, including the transition provisions, requires a comprehensive review of the new Act and its terms. Lawyers will want to familiarize themselves with the new legislation before it comes into effect so they can properly advise clients about future claims. The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch has a webcast available and Continuing Legal Education will be offering training and resources. Details of the new Act, including transition information, can be found at www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/limitation-act/2012.htm.