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Alberta Provincial Court Civil Limitation Period & COVID-19

Alberta Provincial Court Civil Questions AnsweredMany of our clients are calling as their two-year limitation period is approaching and were unaware of the COVID-19’s impact on the Alberta Provincial Court (Civil).

First, what is a Limitation Period in Provincial Court Civil?

Quite simply it how long you can wait to file your claim in Alberta Provincial Court Civil a.k.a Small Claims Court.  

When it comes to calculating your limitation period, it is typically two (2) years from the date of the event that caused damages or the default of repaying of a loan. However, some actions can require a more in-depth calculation of dates is required and can change the limitation period’s start and end dates.

An example of a limitation period would be if you have a simple unpaid debt. You can usually rely on the date of the last payment or the date of an issued invoice, to calculate the start of the limitation period. However, in some cases it may start earlier, and there are a few instances when it can be extended.

How did COVID-19 affect Alberta Provincial Court Civil Limitation Period?

In the Alberta Provincial Court (Civil) there was a ministerial order that was issued that suspend limitation periods from March 17, 2020 through to June 1, 2020. Essentially, this ministerial order stopped the limitation period “clock” from running during the 75 days following March 17, 2020 and resumed on June 1, 2020. In most cases this added an additional 75 days to the limitation date.

The Law Society of Alberta shared a couple examples of how it would impact the calculation of limitation periods, and are as follows:

  1. If a limitation period was originally set to expire on March 18, 2020, then the plaintiff would have been required to file the claim by June 1, 2020;
  2. If a limitation period was originally set to expire on May 31, 2020, then the plaintiff will have until August 14, 2020, to file the claim;
  3. If a limitation period was originally set to expire on June 2, 2020, then the plaintiff will have until August 16, 2020, to file the claim;
  4. If a two-year limitation period was originally set to expire on November 1, 2021, then a plaintiff will have until January 15, 2022, to file the claim.

There is an exception to counting all 75 days of the suspension period where the limitation period began running during the suspension period. For example, if a motor vehicle accident occurred during the suspension period, the limitation period would begin to run on June 1, 2020. Simply put, a limitation period that began running on or after March 18, 2020, and up to and including May 31, 2020, will expire on June 1, 2022. For more information, you can check it out here:  https://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/post-pandemic-limitation-periods-in-alberta/

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have questions regarding a Provincial Court Civil limitation period? If so it is best to contact us for a free 30 minute Alberta Provincial Court Civil consultation.

Brent Nyznyk
Vice President | Court Agent
Precision Paralegal Services Inc.

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