As we all know, claims must be commenced in a timely fashion. If too much time passes, a claimant may be precluded from commencing their claim. That is referred to as a limitation period.

In Ontario, the Limitations Act, 2002, SO 2002, c. 24 governs the question of limitation periods. In accordance with section 4 of this Act, the basic limitation period for commencing proceedings is two years from the time the claim was discoverable.

The specific wording of section 4 is as follows:

“Unless this Act provides otherwise, a proceeding shall not be commenced in respect of a claim after the second anniversary of the day on which the claim was discovered”

When reading this, an interesting question comes to mind, in that, when does the limitation period expire, exactly?

I reviewed some of the cases that interpreted this provision (and there are well over 1,000 reported decisions that address it) and found a few interesting cases:

  • In the decision of Winmill v Woodstock Police Services Board, 2017 ONSC 2528, the Court addressed the question of a limitation period in the context of an altercation with the police that occurred on June 1, 2014. The Court found that the two year limitation period expired on June 1, 2016 – meaning exactly two years from the date of the incident.
  • In the case of Seenergy Foods Ltd v Ready Go Transport Inc, 2019 ONSC 4562, the Court addressed the question of whether the moving party was out of time to add a defendant to an ongoing action. For context, an examination for discovery took place on January 26, 2018 and the name of the proposed defendant was provided by way of an answer to an undertaking on November 12, 2018. The Court found that the limitation period did not expire earlier than January 26, 2020 and most likely not until November 12, 2020. In this case, the Court was also of the position that the limitation period expires exactly two years from the date that the claim was discovered.
  • In Prescott v Barbon, 2015 ONSC 7689, the Court addressed whether the plaintiff was out of time to pursue a claim relating to a motor vehicle accident that took place on December 28, 2008. The Court found that because December 28, 2010 was a holiday, the limitation period did not expire until the end of December 29, 2010. It is important to consider that the Court made its decision in reliance on whether or not the Court was opened so that the plaintiff could issue the claim. In light of that, I read this decision to suggest that the two year limitation period expired on December 29, 2010 at 5 p.m.

Thanks for reading!

Kira Domratchev

Find this blog interesting? Please consider these other related posts:

How to Deal with the Two-Year Limitation Period under Section 38(3) of the Trustee Act

Incapacity, Limitation Periods and Litigation Guardians: Complications Galore

Trustee Act – Limitation Periods and Discoverability