Limitation Act

The new Limitation Act came into force June 1, 2013. The act replaces and repeals the former Limitation Act, makes the law easier to understand, and brings B.C.’s law more in line with other provinces.

The Limitation Act outlines the set period of time that people have to start a proceeding to sue someone in the civil justice system. While many other laws set limitation periods, the Limitation Act sets the default regime, which means that unless another law sets the applicable limitation period, the Limitation Act applies.

The Limitation Act was reformed for a number of reasons, including:

  • It had not been comprehensively updated since its introduction in 1975
  • Independent law reform bodies in B.C. recommended reform in 1990 and again in 2002
  • Individuals and organizations had been calling for change
  • The act was out of step with limitations statutes in other provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick) that have modernized their limitations laws
  • The Uniform Law Conference of Canada put forward a model limitations statute as a suggested framework to develop a harmonized (consistent) approach to limitations law across the country

Key Changes

Key changes include:

  • Moving from a variety of basic limitation periods, based on the type of legal action, to a single two-year basic limitation period for all civil claims. Exceptions to this are civil claims that enforce a monetary judgment, exempted claims and actions that have limitation periods set by other statutes
  • Moving from a general 30-year ultimate limitation period to a single 15-year ultimate limitation period
  • Changing the commencement model of the ultimate limitation period from an “accrual” model to a model in which the clock starts running based on when an “act or omission” occurred, and
  • Transition rules

Watch this video for an overview of the new Limitation Act.

Transition Information

The resources below have been developed to help the legal community and the public transition to the new Limitation Act. They are not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon for those purposes.

The New Limitation Act Explained

This document details the new Limitation Act. Where the section replaces, changes or carries over a section of the current Limitation Act that information is included. Each heading links to the corresponding heading in the new Limitation Act. This document can be downloaded by Part (below) or as an entire document.

Limitation Act Transition Videos

For more information on transitioning to the new Limitation Act, watch part 1 and part 2 of our transition rules video.

Other Resources