Modifications have recently been made to the Civil Code of Quebec with regards to certain prescriptive periods in civil liability actions.

Where an act causing bodily injury could constitute a criminal offence, the prescriptive period which would otherwise have been prescribed by three years, has now been modified to a prescriptive period of 10 years that runs from the time where the victim becomes aware that the injury suffered is attributable to that act.

With regards to injuries resulting from sexual aggression, violent behavior suffered during childhood or the violent behavior of a spouse or former spouse, the prescriptive period is now 30 years.

It is to be noted that when either the victim or the author of the criminal offence dies, the prescriptive period will be reduced to 3 years from the date of death.

It should be noted as well that the prescriptive period applicable to these actions does not run against a minor or a person of full age under curatorship or tutorship.

These new prescriptive periods apply to existing situations taking into account the time already elapsed.

From now on, when assessing a claim you should take into account whether the event causing bodily injury could be considered as a criminal offence, a sexual aggression, violent behavior suffered during childhood or domestic violence, in order to determine the prescriptive period that is applicable.