In the early days of the pandemic, Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General issued a Ministerial Order suspending limitation periods in a number of enactments from March 17, 2020 to June 1, 2020. This Order expired on June 1, 2020 and limitation periods have resumed effect since that date.
Limitation periods are the periods of time in which court claims must be started. If a limitation period expires before a court claim begins, the person seeking to start a claim loses their right to pursue their claim. Limitation periods vary depending on the type of claim being made. Limitation periods may be set out in the specific legislation, regulations or bylaws that govern the type of claim being made, or may be set out in Alberta’s Limitations Act.
Any legal matter that had a limitation period running between March 17, 2020 and June 1, 2020 will be impacted by this Ministerial Order. This includes situations where the limitation period would have started running during this suspension period, situations where the limitation period would have expired during this suspension period, as well as situations where the limitation period would not have started or expired within the suspension period but would have been running during the suspension period.
In family law, limitation periods may impact a claim for adult interdependent partner support, a claim for division of property between unmarried couples, and a claim for division of property between married couples who are divorced. This is not a complete list, and it is important to get legal advice as soon as you discover you may have a claim to ensure your rights are protected.
Calculating the correct limitation date will require consideration of the impact of this Ministerial Order in the months and years to come. Given the significant importance of identifying the correct limitation period we recommend obtaining legal advice on this issue.