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Suspension of limitation periods and Rules time limits

The Ontario government has issued an order suspending the operation of any statute, regulation or rule that sets out a limitation period, or the timing within which a step must be taken to start a court or tribunal case, or any step within it. [You can find the full text here.]

What does this mean?

  • The suspension is in effect until the state of emergency is lifted and is retroactive to March 16, 2020.
  • The presumptive two-year limitation period under the Limitations Act, 2002 (or any other statute, such as the Real Property Limitations Act) has been suspended.
  • Electronic issuance of a claim is possible, so litigants may choose to proceed with issuing claims anyway.
  • Defendants may therefore continue to file Statements of Defence, although they are not required to do so for the time being. As of March 23, 2020, Statements of Defence and crossclaims may also be issued electronically in the Superior Court.
  • It is probable that any requirements to give notice (before commencing a claim, as in municipal claims or defamation actions) is effectively suspended for the duration of the emergency, subject to the discretion of the court.
  • Procedural time limits under the Rules of Civil Procedure (e.g. for filing a Statement of Defence or serving a Statement of Claim) have also been suspended, subject to any court order otherwise.

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