The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 1990 until June 19, 2020 (the previous date was June 9, 2020). This measure has been adopted to protect frontline care workers and the public, as the province gradually reopens. Orders that have been extended until June 19, 2020 include (but are not limited to): Continue reading “Government Extends Emergency Orders Until June 19, 2020”
Due to the COVID-19 declared state of emergency, the province of Ontario has suspended all “limitation periods”, and all “provisions establishing any period of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding (or intended proceeding)”, under any statute, regulation, rule, by-law or Order of the Government of Ontario. Continue reading “Province Suspends Limitation Periods”
Generally speaking, a party that wishes to commence a court action must do so within two years of when he/she first became aware (or ought to have become aware) of the existence of the claim. We call this the “limitation period” and there are a number of factors that go into assessing when the limitation period starts to run. In the case of Presley v Van Dusen, 2019 ONCA 66 [Presley], the Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed that in order for the limitation period to begin to run, a key question that must also be asked in the assessment is: Whether or not a legal proceeding is an appropriate means to seek to remedy the injury, loss, or damage? Continue reading “What Happens If You’ve Delayed In Bringing a Court Claim? Here’s a Case That You Should Know About”
To bring any type of legal action in Ontario, including claims made by condominium corporations, there are generally two relevant dates litigants should be aware of:
• the basic limitation period – two years from the date that you knew, or ought to have known, about the claim; and
• the ultimate limitation period – 15 years from the date on which the act or omission took place, regardless of whether the elements of the claim become known, or are discoverable, during that 15 year period.
The Ontario Superior Court recently confirmed the importance of the principle of “discoverability” when considering claims against potential defendants.
Generally speaking in Ontario, a court claim must be started within 2 years of the date that the claimant knew or ought to have known they had a claim. Whether or not a claimant ought to know about the claim requires that the claimant become aware, or “discover”, that the claim exists. Only when the claimant actually discovers the claim, does the 2-year limitation period begin.
The case of Carone v. Peel Condominium Corp. No. 766 dealt with the principle of discoverability in the context of a claim for damages related to a slip-and-fall accident that occurred as a result of the defendant’s alleged failure to properly clear snow and ice. The plaintiff filed her claim against the defendant condominium corporation within the 2-year limitation period. However, when she filed the claim, she was not aware that at the relevant time the condominium had a contract for snow removal with a third-party contractor. She discovered this fact more than 2 years after the accident, and then took steps to advance her claim against the contractor. The contractor resisted the claim on the basis that the plaintiff ought to have discovered her claim against the contractor sooner. They took the position that the plaintiff failed to make reasonable inquiries to confirm the existence and identity of the contractor involved in snow and ice removal. Had she done so sooner, she could have discovered the identity of the contractor more than 2 years before the claim against the contractor was advanced.
The Court agreed that where a party “fails to make inquiries about possible claims… by not asking any questions, that party might find herself outside a limitation period.” However, the Court ultimately found in this case that the plaintiff did take reasonable steps to determine whether or not a contractor was involved in snow maintenance on the property, and despite the fact that the defendant condominium corporation could have disclosed the identity of the contractor sooner, it failed to do so. The Court found that the plaintiff “should not be deprived of the opportunity to advance a claim” on the basis that the contractor’s identity was not disclosed to the plaintiff by the other defendants.
This case serves as a reminder of the importance of asking reasonable questions regarding the involvement of all possible parties, whenever someone considers making a claim. This of course is also true for a condominium corporation that is considering a claim. While you may not get the answers you are looking for, by asking questions you will ultimately be able to avoid any argument that you could have discovered your claim (and the responsible parties) sooner.
For more information about court claims and limitation periods, contact us.