British Columbia’s new Limitation Act came into force on June 1, 2013. The Limitation Act sets out the time limits for filing a civil lawsuit. The new Act has been substantially amended to streamline limitation periods, to make them more simple, clear and certain. The new Act contains a single basic two year limitation period for most civil claims, with certain exceptions such as causes of action that have limitation periods set by other statutes. In addition, the new Act reduces the former 30 year ultimate limitation period to a 15 year ultimate limitation period for claims that are not discovered when the act or omission giving rise to the claim occurred.

Transitional rules contained in the new Act dictate whether a claim will be governed by the former Act or the new Act. If the act or omission that gave rise to the claim occurs after June 1, 2013, the claim is governed by the new Act. For claims arising prior to June 1, 2013, where a court proceeding was commenced prior to June 1, 2013, the former Actwill apply. For those claims arising prior to June 1, 2013, where a court proceeding has not been commenced prior to June 1, 2013, and the limitation period under the former Acthas not expired, the applicable Act will be determined by when the claim was discovered. If the claim was discovered before June 1, 2013, the former Actwill apply; if not, the new Act will generally apply subject to certain exceptions.

A helpful flow-chart setting out the transitional rules can be found at:

http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/limitation-act/pdf/LAFlowchart.pdf

A copy of the new LimitationAct can be obtained here:

http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_12013_01

A copy of the former Limitation Act can be obtained here:

http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/limitation-act/pdf/LimitationAct_REPEALED.pdf