Start Your Clocks! Limitation Periods Start to Run on March 25, 2021

The suspension of limitation periods has almost been in effect for one year (which oddly feels like it was just yesterday, but also feels like ages ago, blame the “pandemic time warp”). On March 26, 2020, the government initiated a suspension of limitation periods. Previously, the suspension was tied to the provincial state of emergencies; however, that is no longer the case., Iit is now a one year suspension with a definite end date … and that end date is coming up.

The suspension of limitation periods ends on Thursday, March 25, 2021. There will be no further transition or grace period after this date, so it’s important to be aware of any potential limitation periods coming up and file accordingly.

The suspension of limitation period applies to every mandatory limitation period and any other mandatory time period that is established in an enactment or law of British Columbia that governs when a civil or family proceeding, claim, or appeal must be commenced in the Provincial Court, Supreme Court, or Court of Appeal. The only exception to the suspension is builders’ liens, which were only suspended until April 14, 2020.

The ending of the suspension periods means that time starts running again for any effected limitation periods. Here are some examples to help understand what this could mean for you:

  1. If the cause of action arose before the suspension started (before March 26, 2020), you can add 1 year to the expiry of your limitation period.

For instance, if your cause of arose on October 3, 2018, the limitation period would have expired on October 3, 2020, but with the suspension it now expires on October 3, 2021.

This also applies to claims that would not have expired during the suspension, for example, if your cause of action arose on August 1, 2019 and would have expired on August 1, 2021, you still add a year and the limitation period now expires on August 1, 2022.

  1. If the cause of action arose during the suspension (between March 26, 2020 and March 25, 2021), then the limitation period expires on March 26, 2023.

For instance, if a cause of action arose on January 8, 2020, the limitation period would normally expire on January 8, 2022;, however, since limitation periods were paused when the cause of action arose they begin to run again on March 26, 2021 and you now have until March 26, 2023 to initiate your proceeding.

  1. If the limitation period had already expired before the suspension (before March 26, 2020), the suspension period has no effect and the limitation period remains expired.

This post was co-authored by Richard Bereti and Nicola Virk. If you are unsure whether your claim (or potential claim) is affected by the suspension of limitation periods, reach out to Richard, Nicola, or anyone else listed on the authors page as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss any limitation periods that could affect your ability to pursue legal remedies for your claim.