A while back, I wrote a series of articles about how long a debt is enforceable in the different provinces, and in turn the Credit Institute of Canada was kind enough to ask me to write a summary article for their online newsletter. However, as with many areas of law, the landscape is constantly changing, as laws are reinterpreted or revised.
The British Columbia government has announced that as of June 1, 2013, their new Limitation Act comes into effect, altering the original Limitation periods set out originally in 1975. This brings British Columbia, as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick into a mostly unified set of provincial statutes surrounding civil claims.
The basic limitation period for civil claims will be two years going forward, dating from “discovery of the claim”. An ultimate limitation period of 15 years will be in place as well. Any claims with debts incurred prior to June 1, 2013 may still fall under the old Limitation Act. Discovery has it’s own interesting terminology, and is not as simple as the language of some other provinces.
As many other Limitation Acts, this does not exempt or supersede other provincial statutes that may specifically spell out different limitation periods for matters involving possession of land, provincial offenses, and other specialized matters.
So what this means for creditors is that small claims court actions will need to be initiated within two years of the debt being incurred, or from the last date of payment. However, debts older than two years can still be reported to the credit bureau as either a trade line or a registered item.
If you would like further information regarding these changes, I would encourage reading the following bulletins posted by the Government of British Columbia:
If you have any questions regarding provincial limitation periods or initiating a civil claim in relation to a debt incurred, whether you are a creditor, a collection agency, or a consumer, please feel free to contact myself at Kingston Data and Credit in Cambridge, Ontario, at 226-946-1730.
Kingston Data and Credit – www.kingstondc.com