In 2012, the government of B.C. passed legislation that would eliminate any limitation period previously applicable to actions to recover the costs of environmental remediation under the Environmental Management Act, S.B.C. 2003, c. 53 (the EMA). This legislative change was discussed in a prior article on the Bennett Jones Thought Network (Limitation Periods for Environmental Cost Recovery Claims in BC Abolished).
The legislation, which proposed an amendment to the EMA to effectively provide that actions to recover costs for remediation of contaminated sites would not be subject to any limitation period, was originally set to come into force on June 1, 2013, but has been put on hold for now.
The amendment generated significant concerns amongst industry, academic and legal practitioners about the potential uncertainty that would result. On February 27, 2013, the B.C. Legislature enacted an Order in Council providing that the amendment will no longer come into force on June 1, 2013. While existing limitation periods for cost recovery actions will remain in place, new provisions in the new Limitation Act coming into force on June 1, 2013, may impact these existing limitation periods, including the ultimate limitation period applicable to cost recovery actions.