The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has been aware for some time of initiatives under way in other Canadian jurisdictions to make major reforms to the legislation governing the limitation of actions. In the last several years, the initiatives have moved from the recommendations of law reform bodies to the legislative chambers of four Canadian provinces, and have resulted in some dramatic changes to their legislative regimes.
This report concerns itself with a review and discussion of The Limitation of Actions Act. While this Act is not the sole source of statutory limitation provisions in Manitoba, it is the single most important one. The Commission has not undertaken a review of specific limitations provisions in other statutes, but it makes a recommendation regarding such a review in order to ensure that Manitoba's entire limitations regime is as consistent and coherent as possible.
The most important proposal is for the abolition of the various categories of claims set out in the current Act, and their replacement with a single, basic two year limitation applicable to all claims unless they are otherwise dealt with. This two year limitation would begin running when the existence of a claim was discovered or discoverable, instead of when the cause of action arose. There would be exceptions in areas such as claims arising out of sexual assaults or assaults in intimate or dependent relationships, claims of aboriginal title, proceedings for a declaration of existing rights if no consequential relief is sought, and proceedings to recover fines or taxes owing to the Crown.