A Quick Reminder on Limitation Periods

Last spring, we blogged about the provincial government’s decision to suspend limitation periods and other procedural deadlines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure was adopted at the outset of the pandemic (in March 2020) by way of an Order pursuant to the Emergency Civil Management and Protection Act and it was to be in effect for a maximum of 90 days, with possible 90-day extensions upon further Orders. In June, the suspension was extended until September 11, 2020. The suspension was ultimately lifted on September 14, 2020 and the limitation periods once again began to run as of that date.  

The term “limitation period” generally refers to the time period for a party to start a Court proceeding or a proceeding before any tribunal or other judicial or quasi-judicial decision maker. As such, if the legal proceeding is not started before the expiry of the limitation period, the right to start the proceeding may be lost.  

As we have mentioned in a previous blog, litigants should be aware of two important limitation periods when bringing a legal action in Ontario:  

  • The basic limitation period – 2 years from the date the plaintiff knew or ought to have known about the claim; and  
  • The ultimate limitation period – 15 years from the date on which the act or omission took place, regardless of whether the elements of the claim become known, or are discoverable, during that 15-year period. 

Given the court shutdown due to COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic had on procedural deadlines, we thought this would be an opportune time for a quick reminder that limitations periods have been running again since September! Condominium Boards and counsel should keep track of the limitation periods on their files to ensure they don’t miss an important deadline!