A new Limitation Act came into force in British Columbia on June 1, 2013, which imposes a general two year limitation period on most claims (with some exceptions) and also introduced a two year limitation period for third party claims for contribution and indemnity. 

The new Limitation Act applies to any claims for which the underlying act or omission occurred on or after June 1, 2013.  Therefore, June 1, 2015 marks the first date on which the limitation period will expire for a claim falling under the new Limitation Act.

Personal injury lawyers are accustomed to a 2 year limitation period, but most commercial claims prior to the new Limitation Act coming into force enjoyed a 6 year limitation period so particular caution should be paid to any possible commercial claims arising since June 1, 2013.

The new Limitation Act also imposes a two year limitation period for claims of contribution and indemnity, which form the basis for most Third Party Notices. This applies to any claims for contribution and indemnity where the underlying act or omission occurred on or after June 1, 2013. For such claims, the limitation period begins to run on the later of the date the claimant is served with a pleading on which the claim for contribution and indemnity will be based and the date the claimant knew or reasonably ought to have know that a claim for contribution and indemnity existed.

Contribution and indemnity claims for which the underlying act or omission occurred prior to June 1, 2013 will continue to be governed by the previous Limitation Act.

Lawyers and insurers should be particularly cautious of the new two year limitation period for contribution and indemnity claims and ensure their clients and insureds do not have any such claims that need to be filed before June 1, 2015.