Limitations Act

The Limitations Act (Alberta) provides that, with some exceptions, with some exceptions, legal proceedings to enforce a claim must be started within 2 years after the claimant became aware of its existence, and in any event (again subject to exceptions), within 10 years after the claim arose.

Extension of 10 year rule: The 10 year limitation will be extended and suspended when there is fraudulent concealment of the injury by a defendant, or where the claimant is under legal disability by reason of being a minor who is not in the actual custody of a parent or guardian; being a dependent adult as defined in the Dependent Adults Act; or being under a functional disability.

Minors: The limitation period for a minor will be extended and suspended by the period of minority only where the claim is against a parent or guardian or where the claim is based on conduct of a sexual nature.

Extension of 2 year rule: The 2 year limitation starts running at the time that the claimant reasonably discovered or ought to have discovered that there was a claim, and will be extended or suspended where the claimant is under a disability as described above.

Acknowledgment: Part payment or an acknowledgment in writing of an accrued pecuniary sum will restart the running of both limitation periods. While the Act provides that the parties may agree to extend the limitation period, there is no provision in the Act permitting the parties to reduce the limitation to less than 2 years.

Action required: Even if a defendant cannot be locate or may not currently have any assets with which to satisfy any judgement, it is important any person with a claim institute a court action with respect to that claim within that 2 year limitation period. Otherwise the right to assert that claim will be forever lost.  Instituting a court action will preserve that claim for an additional year, subject to further renewal.