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If you are a party residing in Ontario and believe that you have valid grounds for a claim against another party or entity, you may be able to sue them for damages. It is important to keep in mind however that once the event occurs; there is a timeline during which you may proceed to file for a civil claim. 

The following is an overview of civil litigation and its limitation periods. 

What is the limitation period?

Although there is no limitation period in Canada for criminal proceedings, there are limitations for civil proceedings. This is a time period in which you may sue for damage, loss, or injury that has occurred by an act or omission of another party. 

Basic limitation period of civil litigation in Ontario

Under the Limitations Act, 2002, the basis limitation period is of two years. This means that a lawsuit must be commenced in respect of a claim within two years of the day the claim was discovered or faced.  It is important to note however that there are some important exceptions to this Limitation period. For example, claims against the province or against a municipality must be made within ten days of the occurrence. 

In some cases, the limitation period is not counted from the exact date of the occurrence, but could be from the time that the loss or injury is first discovered, or from the time that it becomes clear that the other party has contributed to or caused the injury. 

Other exceptions to the limitation period in Ontario can occur if the injured party was a minor at the time of the incident or if the injured party was physically or mentally unable to file the claim within the basic limitation period. 

Ultimate limitation period in Ontario

Besides the basic limitation period of two years, the law also prescribes an ultimate limitation period. This is 15 years after the act has taken place. Even with the ultimate limitation period however, there are again some exceptions. 

Limitation period for family members

For family members who sue on behalf of loved ones, they have the same limitation period as the victim. That being said, their limitation period may not be from the date of the occurrence but rather from:

  • The day that they knew of the claim.
  • When loved ones or the guardian came to know of the claim. 

Family members may typically pursue claims in the following circumstances:

  • Wrongful death claims.
  • When the person has become disabled as the result of a serious injury.
  • When the victim is a minor.
  • When the victim is unable to pursue the claim due to physical, mental or psychological disability. 

Notice of possible claim

If your limitation period is likely to run out before your lawyers can put enough evidence together for a claim, your lawyer may file something called a notice of possible claim.  This will prevent your limitation period from expiring before you can file a lawsuit.  The notice of claim must be filed in writing and contain the following: 

  • A description of the injury or loss. 
  • A description of the act or omission that led to the injury or loss. 
  • The extent to which the person being sued is responsible for the injury or loss. 
  • A statement that any claim that the other person has could be extinguished because of the expiry of a limitation period; and
  • The issue person’s name and address.

Contact Minhas Lawyers today

If you believe that you have a valid civil litigation claim against another party, it is imperative that you begin proceedings before the limitation period runs out. To speak to a civil litigation lawyer, contact Minhas Lawyers today to book a consultation! 

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Minhas Lawyers Professional Corporation is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.

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