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Limitation Periods Suspended by Order of Government of Ontario

Limitation Periods Suspended by Order of Government of  Ontario

As the COVID 19 crisis affects how the legal community carries out its work and responsibilities to the public and their clients, the Government of Ontario has passed a law to protect procedural legal rights.

 

By order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Government of Ontario has suspended limitation periods as well as filing deadlines required in any proceeding retroactively to March 16, 2020. This is a temporary measure that is expected to be removed once the COVID 19 crisis is over.

 

This means that all time limitations and procedural time limits after March 16, 2020, do not apply  and your rights will not be lost if you are unable to hire a lawyer or meet with your existing lawyer to provide instructions on how to proceed in your current case.

 

A limitation period is the time limit by when a legal proceeding must be commenced by issuing a claim for losses, damages or injuries that occurred as a result of an act or an omission.

 

In Ontario, the basic limitation period is two years. The Limitations Act, 2002, provides that an action must be commenced within two years of when a person knew that a “ claim“ could be made to remedy an injury, loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act or omission.

 

For example, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident on June 1, 2018, and suffered injuries that resulted in a serious and permanent physical or psychological impairment, you would be required to start a lawsuit on or before June 1, 2020, to recover for losses and damages as a result of those injuries.

 

You should be aware that if you are injured as a result of a slip and fall or a trip and fall on municipal property, you must give notice to the municipality of your intention to issue a claim  and provide particulars of the incident, the location of the incident, and your injuries within 10 days of the incident. You then must issue your claim within two years of the incident.

 

In some cases, it may be very difficult to determine when the basic two year limitation period starts to run. For example, you injured your arm in an accident on June 1, 2017, but continued with your normal routine and life until one day, let’s say July 2019, you were unable to move your arm and following months of  investigations, a doctor told you it was due to the injury caused by the accident of June 1, 2017.  It can be argued that it is at that point you “discovered” your “claim” and you then have two years to issue a claim.

 

There are exceptions. The basic two year limitation period does not apply to those who are less than 18 years of age at the time an injury or loss occurs and are not represented by a litigation guardian until two years after they reach 18 years of age or two years from the date they appoint a litigation guardian if still under the age of 18.  It also does not apply to those who are physically, psychologically or mentally incapable and since March 2016, the limitation period has been removed all together for civil claims based on sexual assault.

 

While the Limitations Act, 2002, has established a basic two year limitation period, it is very important to consult with a lawyer before making any assumptions with respect to the time limit by when you must issue a claim. Once a limitation period expires, you may be forever barred from advancing your claim.  

 

While the government has suspended limitation periods and procedural timelines during the COVID 19 crisis, we at Sokoloff Lawyers are using all means of technology to meet with clients and carry out steps in the litigation, such as conducting discoveries and mediations using video conferencing to advance our clients’ cases.

 

If you have suffered an injury, loss or damage as a result of an act or omission, contact Sokoloff Lawyers today to protect your rights.

 
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At Sokoloff Lawyers, we believe you should never worry about the cost of litigation - this is why we charge on a contingency fee basis. Our transparent communication helps our clients be fully aware of the fees before beginning the process of litigation.

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