Governed by the Limitations Act, 2002 (“Limitations Act”) in Ontario, a limitation period is the time within which one party must commence an action against another.
The standard limitation period is two years from the date of the loss or the date the loss was discovered. Failure to commence an action within the prescribed limitation period will usually result in an action being dismissed and that party is forever barred from advancing their claim.
But in 2016 the Limitations Act was amended to carve out an exception for sexual assault cases. As a result, there is no longer a limitation period for these types of claims.
What that means is limitation periods no longer exist for matters based on any other misconduct of a sexual nature if, at the time of the misconduct, the person with the claim was a minor, or if the relationship is one of authority, dependence or trust. Additionally, limitation periods have been removed for matters of physical assault if, at the time of the assault, the person with the claim was a minor, if the parties had an intimate relationship, or there was a relationship of dependence.
These amendments to the Limitations Act also apply retroactively. In other words, individuals can advance such claims even if the limitation period that was previously in place has expired. However, a party cannot advance a claim if it was previously dismissed by a court or has been settled between the parties.
The elimination of the limitation period for claims based on sexual assault is an important development, expanding upon necessary protection for victims. For a variety of reasons, survivors may take years to come forward with their claims, and this amendment allows them the time to do so.
If you have experienced sexual assault, you may be entitled to compensation, even if it happened years ago. Advancing such a claim can be an emotional and complicated process, but you don’t have to go through it alone. We offer free, confidential consultations where we will listen to your story, answer your questions and guide you through your legal options.
Anna Stoll practices with the Siskinds Personal Injury Law department. If you have questions about the information contained within this article or any other personal injury questions, please write to [email protected] or call 519-660-7832.