Government of Saskatchewan
Quick Search:
Sunday, February 07, 2016
Saskatchewan Justice

Limitation law consists of the rules, applied in civil judicial proceedings, that limit the time that one person (the plaintiff) can bring a civil action against another person (the defendant). Limitation statutes recognize that a legal system cannot allow a person who is aware of a legal claim to do nothing for many years and then bring an action after the person against whom the action is brought may no longer be in a position to make a defense. Limitation periods are intended to ensure that defendants have a fair opportunity to contest claims; they are not intended to enable defendants to simply avoid liability. 

Limitation of actions legislation attempts to balance the interests of the plaintiff with those of the defendant. Society is interested in providing a fair and orderly process to obtain a remedy for injuries suffered by the plaintiff. The defendant is interested in being able to mount a reasonable defense to any claim made.  

The Limitations Act came into force on May 1, 2005. 

It replaces The Limitation of Actions Act, which was largely a collection of individual provisions in English statutes enacted between 1623 and the late 1800s, combined with some new initiatives. Special limitation periods found in many other statutes increased the chance that a limitation period would be missed. Ideally a limitation statute should include as few limitation periods as possible. This contributes to clarity and predictability for the parties. Most of the limitation periods in other statutes were eliminated when The Limitations Act came into force. 

The Act provides a standard two year limitation period for civil legal actions.  The two year period for actions starts to run when the person bringing the action first knew, or ought to have known, that:

  • the injury had occurred;
  • was attributable to the defendant's conduct; and
  • warranted bringing a proceeding.

This is referred to as the discoverability principle. 

The new legislation includes an ultimate limitation period that bars all actions after 15 years after the events that gave rise to the action. This prevents an action being postponed for an indeterminate time due to the discoverability principle.

The legislation includes provisions for special circumstances.  It retains Saskatchewan’s current provision postponing the running of a limitation period for minors or persons who lack capacity  who are not represented by a personal or property guardian.  It provides that where a defendant fraudulently conceals the fact that injury occurred, the ultimate limitation period is suspended.  In addition, it includes a provision that allows parties to contractually extend the limitation period.  The Act provides that there is no limitation period for a proceeding where the claim results from sexual assault, and from assault where the parties are in an intimate or dependant relationship.

© 2016 Government of Saskatchewan. All rights reserved.