Why the Limitations of Actions Act Matters

When it comes to filing a claim, timing is crucial. Depending on the type of incident, and where the wrongful conduct occurred, your window of opportunity to take legal action can vary substantially. This period of time is known as the limitation period and is in accordance with each province’s and territory’s Limitation of Actions Act.


The Act

The Limitation of Actions Act is meant to equally balance the rights of the plaintiff and defendant when it comes to a claim. The limitation period is designed to be long enough to ensure that the plaintiff can adequately use the civil justice system, but short enough so that the defendant doesn’t have to worry about legal action being taken against them over unreasonable periods of time.

For example, medical malpractice claims within New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Alberta all have a limitation period of two years. But claims involving long term disability (LTD) differ by province. In Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, a notice of the LTD claim must be provided in 60 days.  Limitation periods vary so drastically that the nature of each claim comes into play. Action regarding insurance claims in NS linked specifically to accidents or sickness must be reported within 1 year.

New Limitation of Actions for Nova Scotia

Limitation of Actions also change, and Nova Scotia’s new Act is in effect as of September 1st, 2015. The new Act is similar to other provinces’, such as Alberta’s and Ontario’s, and among a host of important amendments and updates, there are four key changes being implemented:

-A two-year basic limitation period for all civil claims

-A 15 year “ultimate” limitation period

-Exemptions of certain claims (such as sexual assault) from any limitation period

-Additions to the principle of discovery in regards to claims

The two-year limitation period is now the standard for all civil claims, unless there are special circumstances associated with a particular claim. This time period starts after “discovery” of a legal claim being valid, which, for example, could be the moment when you experience concussion symptoms after a slip and fall.

The “ultimate” limitation period is in reference to the exact date of the incident in question (in this case, the date of the actual slip and fall). This means that Nova Scotians have 15 years after an act of negligence or omission to discover any claims, and then two years to begin a civil lawsuit.

Any claims that involve assault, battery, or misconduct of a sexual nature do not observe time restrictions when filing claims. The new Act can be viewed in its entirety, here.

Claims can vary as drastically as their limitation periods, which is why we urge everyone who’s posturing to file a claim to first consult with a lawyer. The right law firm will be as invested in winning your case as they are in helping you to understand your options.

Below this article you will find a table that outlines the limitations of actions for personal injury claims in the Maritimes. We hope this resource is a valuable insight into how much time you have to file a claim after a wrongdoing. If you have any questions regarding claims, or believe you have the right to a claim, don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us, at 1-888-434-0398.

Important links for more information on limitation periods:

Nova Scotia:

Prince Edward Island:

Newfoundland & Labrador: