How Late is Too Late: Understanding the Statute of Limitations

Statue of justice

In the neighboring country of The United States, the statute of limitations and how it applies to certain court cases is often a hot button issue. In recent cases concerning celebrities and sexual assault, a lot of the victims have no chance of telling their stories in criminal court because the statute of limitations had run out. Crimes in America that don’t have statutes of limitations are typically ones that are considered heinous or that are murder charges, although some cold case murders have been dismissed due to America’s constitution decreeing everyone has a right to a speedy trial.

Many Canadian Ajax citizens don’t understand how Canada’s own statute of limitations works. Does Canada have them? Are they different depending on the crime being committed? As a citizen of Ajax, knowing this kind of basic legal information is imperative, especially if you find yourself to be the victim of a personal injury in the future. You can ask your local Ajax injury law firm about specific Canadian law regarding the statute of limitations, but here’s some basic information to keep in mind.

Canadian Statue of Limitations Laws

You can breathe a sigh of relief. Unlike America, the Canadian statute of limitations much favors the victim. As a general rule in Canada, any crimes that are above a summary offense or a misdemeanor have no statute of limitations. This means that in the case of murder, rape, or major theft, a suspect can be tried at any time in the future, be it two years down the road or 80. Canadian law does offer a statute of limitations on lesser crimes that lasts for a six-month period prior to the crime being committed. After this point in time, the Canadian government cannot prosecute any defendant for the crime. Uncollected debt also has a statute of limitations, and this means future debt could not extend beyond a 10 year period.

Depending on the severity of your personal injury and the means in which it was sustained, you can either fall under the statute of limitations or not. Discuss with your Ajax injury lawyer the exact stipulations of your injury to better see if your case falls under the statute of limitations or not.

Ontario’s Limitations Act

In 2002, the Ontario courts set out a law that states a misdemeanor claim must be brought to the attention of a legal entity within two years of discovering the need for the claim. The Limitations Act defines “discovery” as when a person discovers they have suffered a loss, a new incident contributed to the first unknown act, they discover that the person who originally committed the act, or when a lawsuit would be considered appropriate to address the claim.

This is extremely important for those who plan on filing a claim for personal injury. If you have been injured and wish to bring someone to court for the damage, starting the litigation process as soon as possible means you have a better chance of not falling outside the statute of limitations for your injury. Your North York personal injury lawyer should brief you specifically on the Limitations Act and what all it means for your case.