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The Limitations Act, 2002 came into effect on January 1, 2004. Print our Table of Limitation Periods and commentary for your quick reference.


Insurance Act*

Claim for fire insurance

148 (con. 14)

1 year

Damage to automobile


1 year

Accident benefits dispute


2 years

* See the case of Boyce v. Co-operators General Insurance Co., 2013 CarswellOnt 5736, 2013 ONCA 298, 228 A.C.W.S. (3d) 834, 116 O.R. (3d) 56, 307 O.A.C. 28, 22 C.C.L.I. (5th) 1, [2013] O.J. No. 2568 (C.A.) for clarification of the enforceability of contracts of insurance which purport to shorten the two year limitation period set out in s. 4 of the Limitations Act, 2002.  The Court of Appeal clarifies s. 22 of the Limitations Act, 2002, which is the general rule (and exceptions to it) which forbids “contracting out” of the general two year limitation provision found at s. 4.  The Appeal Court held firstly that a term purporting to shorten the limitation period must “in clear language” describe the limitation period, identify the scope of the application of it, and exclude the operation of other limitation periods.  Unless the term is in the contract and meets those requirements, the two year limitation period will apply.  Secondly, the “business agreement” exception will not apply to persons defined as "consumers" in the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, who enter into agreements for personal, family or household purposes.  In those situations, the two year limitation will apply.  Note, leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was refused: 2013 CarswellOnt 14166; [2013] S.C.C.A. No. 296 (S.C.C.).

Kassburg v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, [2014] O.J. No. 6222, 2014 ONCA 922 (C.A.) is a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal which applied Boyce, supra to determine whether a contractual limitation period failed for uncertainty/ambiguity.  The Court of Appeal agreed with the motions judge that the one year limitation period in an LTD insurance policy was ambiguous and thus unenforceable, as it expressed the limitation period differently in two different places.  The Contract Document provided that time started to run from "the end of the time period in which proof of the claim is required", and the Booklet provided it ran from "after the date [the insurer] must receive [the insured's] claim forms".  The insurer further argued that the limitation period began to run in 2008 when the plaintiff was first denied her benefits, and thus the claim (issued in 2012) was statute-barred no matter which limitation period applied.  Again, the appeal court found no reason to disagree with the conclusion of the motions judge that the two year limitation period began to run when the plaintiff was advised, in 2011, that her claim for benefits was denied at the “third and final appeal level”.

Also of note, the Supreme Court of Canada in Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada v. Schmitz, [2014] S.C.C.A. No. 143 dismissed the application for leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Schmitz (Litigation guardian of) v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada, [2014] O.J. No. 531, 2014 ONCA 88, 315 O.A.C. 187, 31 C.C.L.I. (5th) 1, 118 O.R. (3d) 694, 237 A.C.W.S. (3d) 484, 2014 CarswellOnt 1177.  This case involved the underinsured coverage under OPCF 44R.  At issue on appeal was whether the 12 month limitation period applied as per s. 17 of OPCF 44R, or whether the two year period applied as per s. 4 of the Limitations Act, 2002.  Also at issue was when the period of time commenced.  The motion judge held that the period of two years applied, and that it commenced when the claimant made a request for the compensation provided for by OPCF 44R.  The Court of Appeal dismissed the insurer’s appeal, but made a minor amendment to the Order, holding that the time began to run the day after the demand for indemnification is made, as the insured only suffers a loss once the insurer has failed to satisfy its legal obligation.