When Does the Time Limit For Starting a Lawsuit Begin?

The Time Limit For Starting a Lawsuit, Generally, Begins When a Harmed Person Discovers Sufficient Details to Start a Lawsuit. The Discovery of Such Sufficient Information Is Called Discovery Principles.

Understanding the Discovery Principles That Generally Delay the Start of a Time Clock Until a Wrong Becomes Known

Generally, statutory limitation periods involve the discovery principle whereby the time limit clock will begin to run only when the cause of action, cause of action meaning the incident giving rise to a right of action, becomes known, or ought to become known through reasonable diligence, to a potential Plaintiff.  Essentially, the discovery principle provides that a limitation period may only begin when a potential Plaintiff obtains sufficient knowledge of the wrongdoing as is required to commence a legal proceeding.

The Law

Limitations laws often prescribe the basis upon which a person is deemed to discover the details sufficient to commence litigation and thus sufficient to start the limitations clock.  For example, the Limitations Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 24, Schedule B, states:


Discovery

5 (1) A claim is discovered on the earlier of,

(a) the day on which the person with the claim first knew,

(i) that the injury, loss or damage had occurred,

(ii) that the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission,

(iii) that the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is made, and

(iv) that, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy it; and

(b) the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause (a).

Presumption

(2) A person with a claim shall be presumed to have known of the matters referred to in clause (1) (a) on the day the act or omission on which the claim is based took place, unless the contrary is proved.

While limitation statutes will prescribe applicable discovery conditions, deeper interpretations of discovery principles are regularly addressed within judicial decisions as case law.  For example, within the following cases, discovery principles were explained as:


[73]  Prior to the enactment of s. 5(1)(a)(iv) of the Limitations Act, 2002, the judge-made discoverability principle governed the commencement of a limitation period. The discoverability principle stipulated that a limitation period begins to run only after the plaintiff has the knowledge, or the means of acquiring the knowledge, of the existence of the facts that would support a claim for relief.[12] The discoverability principle conforms with the idea of a cause of action being the fact or facts which give a person a right to judicial redress or relief against another.[13]

[74]  Subject to the adjustment made by s. 5(1)(a)(iv), which adds the element that a proceeding is an appropriate means to seek a remedy, for the basic limitation period of two years under the Limitations Act, 2002, a claim is “discovered” on the earlier of the date the claimant knew - a subjective criterion - or ought to have known - a modified objective criterion - about the claim.[14]

[75]  Under the discoverability principle, a limitation period commences when the plaintiff subjectively discovers the underlying material facts or, alternatively, when the plaintiff ought to have discovered those facts by the exercise of reasonable diligence.[15] When a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the plaintiff would acquire facts to become knowledgeable about the claim, the limitation period does not stop running if the plaintiff takes no steps to investigate whether he or she has a claim.[16] The modified objective test applies only if a plaintiff does not have actual subjective knowledge of the claim.[17] The date upon which the plaintiff can be said to be in receipt of sufficient information to cause the limitation period to commence will depend on the circumstances of each particular case; it is a fact-based analysis.[18] What a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances of the plaintiff knew or ought to have known is a question of fact.[19]

[76]  Pursuant to s. 5(2) of the Limitations Act, 2002, unless the contrary is proven, it is presumed that a claimant will know of the matters of his or her claim on the day that the act or omission took place. When a limitation period defence is raised, the onus is on the plaintiff to provide evidence to show that its claim is not statute-barred and that he or she behaved as a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances using reasonable diligence in discovering the facts relating to the limitation issue.[20]

[77]  The discoverability of a claim for relief involves the identification of the wrongdoer, and also, the discovery of his or her acts or omissions that constitute liability.[21] It is not enough that the plaintiff has suffered a loss and has knowledge that someone might be responsible; the identity and culpable acts of the wrongdoer must be known or knowable with reasonable diligence.[22] Discovery means knowledge of the facts that may give rise to the claim, and the knowledge required to start the limitation period is more than suspicion and less than perfect knowledge.[23] If the plaintiff does know "enough facts", which means knowing the material facts, then the claim is discovered and the limitation period begins to run.[24]

[78]  Ignorance of the law does not postpone the commencement of the limitation period; if the claimant knows or ought to know the constituent elements of his or her cause of action, the circumstance that he or she may not appreciate the legal significance of the facts does not postpone the running of the limitation period.[25] Similarly, knowledge of the full extent of the damages is not required to trigger a limitation period.[26]

[79]  The discovery of a claim does not depend upon the plaintiff knowing that his or her claim is likely to succeed, which is the matter that will be determined by his or her lawsuit;[27] the limitation period runs from when the prospective plaintiff has or ought to have had, knowledge of a potential claim,[28] and the later discovery of facts which change a borderline claim into a viable one does not give rise to the discoverability principle.[29] For the limitation period to begin to run, a plaintiff need not know the exact act or omission that caused him or her to suffer a loss; all that the plaintiff need know is that the defendant committed some act or omission that caused the loss or damage.[30] For the limitation period to begin to run, it is not necessary that the plaintiff know the full extent or quantification of his or her damages; rather, the period begins to run with the plaintiff’s subjective or objective appreciation of being damaged, i.e., of being worse off than before the defendant’s conduct.[31] The question is whether the prospective plaintiff knows enough facts to base a cause of action against the defendant, and, if so, then the claim has been discovered and the limitation period begins to run.[32]

[80]  The question is whether the prospective plaintiff knows enough facts to base a cause of action against the defendant, and, if so, then the claim has been discovered and the limitation period begins to run.[33] For the limitation period to begin to run, it is enough for the plaintiff to have prima facie factual grounds to infer that the defendant caused him or her harm, and certainty of a defendant’s liability for the act or omission that caused or contributed to the loss is not a requirement.[34]

[81]  In Grant Thornton LLP v. New Brunswick,[35] which concerns New Brunswick’s Limitation of Actions Act,[36] which has statutory language that is similar to sections 4 and 5 of Ontario's Limitations Act, 2002, Justice Moldaver, for the Supreme Court, discussed the measure of knowledge necessary to begin the commencement of a limitation period, and he stated at paragraph 42 that a claim is discovered when a plaintiff has knowledge, actual or constructive, of the material facts upon which a “plausible inference of liability” on the defendant’s part can be drawn. The Grant Thornton LLP decision has been adopted and followed in Ontario.[37]

[82]  At paragraphs 45-47 of the judgment, Justice Moldaver illuminated the meaning of plausible inference of liability as follows:

45. Finally, the governing standard requires the plaintiff to be able to draw a plausible inference of liability on the part of the defendant from the material facts that are actually or constructively known. In this particular context, determining whether a plausible inference of liability can be drawn from the material facts that are known is the same assessment as determining whether a plaintiff "had all of the material facts necessary to determine that [it] had prima facie grounds for inferring [liability on the part of the defendant]" (Brown v. Wahl, 2015 ONCA 778, 128 O.R. (3d) 583, at para. 7; see also para. 8, quoting Lawless v. Anderson, 2011 ONCA 102, 276 O.A.C. 75, at para. 30). Although the question in both circumstances is whether the plaintiff's knowledge of the material facts gives rise to an inference that the defendant is liable, I prefer to use the term plausible inference because in civil litigation, there does not appear to be a universal definition of what qualifies as prima facie grounds. As the British Columbia Court of Appeal observed in Insurance Corporation of British Columbia v. Mehat, 2018 BCCA 242, 11 B.C.L.R. (6th) 217, at para. 77:

As noted in Sopinka, Lederman & Bryant: The Law of Evidence in Canada, some cases equate prima facie proof to a situation where the evidence gives rise to a permissible fact inference; others equate prima facie proof to a case where the evidence gives rise to a compelled fact determination, absent evidence to the contrary. [Citation omitted.]

Since the term prima facie can carry different meanings, using plausible inference in the present context ensures consistency. A plausible inference is one which gives rise to a "permissible fact inference".

46. The plausible inference of liability requirement ensures that the degree of knowledge needed to discover a claim is more than mere suspicion or speculation. This accords with the principles underlying the discoverability rule, which recognize that it is unfair to deprive a plaintiff from bringing a claim before it can reasonably be expected to know the claim exists. At the same time, requiring a plausible inference of liability ensures the standard does not rise so high as to require certainty of liability (Kowal v. Shyiak, 2012 ONCA 512, 296 O.A.C. 352) or "perfect knowledge" (De Shazo, at para. 31; see also the concept of "perfect certainty" in Hill v. South Alberta Land Registration District (1993), 1993 ABCA 75 (CanLII), 8 Alta. L.R. (3d) 379, at para. 8). Indeed, it is well established that a plaintiff does not need to know the exact extent or type of harm it has suffered, or the precise cause of its injury, in order for a limitation period to run (HOOPP Realty Inc. v. Emery Jamieson LLP, 2018 ABQB 276, 27 C.P.C. (8th) 83, at para. 213, citing Peixeiro, at para. 18).

47.  In my respectful view, endorsing the Court of Appeal's approach that to discover a claim, a plaintiff needs knowledge of facts that confer a legally enforceable right to a judicial remedy, including knowledge of the constituent elements of a claim, would move the needle too close to certainty. A plausible inference of liability is enough; it strikes the equitable balance of interests that the common law rule of discoverability seeks to achieve.

[83]  As noted above, the Limitations Act, 2002 added the s. 5(1)(a)(iv) stipulation that a limitation period does not commence until a proceeding is a legally appropriate means for the plaintiff to seek a remedy.[38] Subparagraph 5(1)(a)(iv) of the Limitations Act, 2002 can have the effect of delaying the commencement of the running of limitation period. Where a person knows that he or she has suffered harm and the material facts for a cause of action, the delay lasts until the day when a proceeding would be a “legally appropriate” means to remedy the harm having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage. However, to have this delaying effect, there must be a juridical reason for the person to wait; i.e., there must be an explanation rooted in law as to why commencing a proceeding is not yet appropriate.[39] When resort to litigation would be appropriate is a fact-based inquiry that depends on the specific factual or statutory setting of each individual case, including taking into account the particular interests and circumstances of the plaintiff.[40]

[84]  While there may be other situations where delaying a lawsuit may be legally appropriate, the case law interpreting s. 5(1)(a)(iv) has recognized two situations where delay may be legally appropriate.[41]

[85]  One situation is where the plaintiff instead of suing the defendant, justifiably relied on a defendant’s superior knowledge and expertise to fix the problems, especially where the defendant took steps to mitigate the loss.[42] To justify a delay in suing the defendant, the defendant must be making efforts to resolve the underlying problem of the dispute and the plaintiff must be relying on those efforts.[43]

[86]  The second situation is where the parties are waiting for the completion of an alternative dispute resolution process that offers an adequate remedy for the claim.[44] The alternative procedure must be one that would resolve the dispute between the parties and, if successful, obviate the action.[45] When the plaintiff relies on other processes as suspending the running of the limitation period, the duration of the process must not be open-ended; the resolution or termination of that process must be reasonably certain or ascertainable by the court.[46]

[87]  It is not legally appropriate to delay commencing an action because the plaintiff knows that he or she has been harmed by the defendant but is uncertain that he or she will be able to marshal evidence to prove the claim or is unsure whether the measure of damages makes litigation economically worthwhile; i.e., whether the scale of the loss will make an action remunerative.[47] There is no general principle that a limitation period will not begin to run when an alternative process might resolve the plaintiff’s claim and whether the alternative dispute resolution process will suspend the running of a limitation period will depend upon the facts or statutory background of each particular case.[48]


[8]  Justice Perell in Nicholas v McCarthy Tetrault, [2008] O.J. No. 4258 (S.C.J), affirmed, 2009 ONCA 692 (CanLII), [2009] O.J. No. 4061 (C.A.), leave to appeal to the S.C.C. refused, [2009] S.C.C.A. No. 476 at para 26 states:

The discoverability principle governs the commencement of a limitation period and stipulates that a limitation period begins to run only after the plaintiff has the knowledge, or the means of acquiring the knowledge, of the existence of the facts that would support a claim for relief:  Kamloops v Nielson (1984), 1984 CanLII 21 (SCC), 10 D.L.R. (4th) 641 (S.C.C.); Central Trust Co.  v  Rafuse (1986), 1986 CanLII 29 (SCC), 31 DLR (4th) 481 (S.C.C.); Peixeiro v Haberman, 1997 CanLII 325 (SCC), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 549.  Thus a limitation period commences when the plaintiff discovers the underlying material facts or, alternatively, when the plaintiff ought to have discovered those facts by the exercise of reasonable diligence.

[12]  The present state of the applicable law to this fact situation for this motion is clearly and succinctly summarized by Justice Rasaiah of this Court in Webb v. T.D. Waterhouse Canada Inc. [2016] O.J. No. 5937, as follows:

8  Section 4 of the Limitations Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 24, Schedule B, (“Limitations Act”) sets out the basic limitation period.  It states:

4.  Unless this Act provides otherwise, a proceeding shall not be commenced in respect of a claim after the second anniversary of the day on which the claim was discovered.

9  Section 5 of the Limitations Act states:

Discovery

5. (1) A claim is discovered on the earlier of,

(a)    the day on which the person with the claim first knew,

(i)  that the injury, loss or damage had occurred,

(ii)  that the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission,

(iii)  that the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is made, and

(iv)   that, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy it; and

(b) the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause (a).

Presumption

(2)   A person with a claim shall be presumed to have known of the matters referred to in clause (1) (a) on the day the act or omission on which the claim is based took place, unless the contrary is proved.

10  In Fennell v. Deol, 2016 ONCA 249 (CanLII) at paragraphs 20 and 21, the court summarized the following:

The basic two-year limitation period begins to run on the day the claim was discovered. The date of discovery is the earlier of the two dates under s. 5(1) – when (a) the person with the claim had knowledge of, or (b) a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have had knowledge of, the matters referred to in s. 5(1)(a)(i) to (iv). If either of these dates is more than two years before the claim was issued, the claim is statute-barred.

Section 5(1)(a) considers when the person with the claim had actual knowledge of the material facts underlying the claim. Unless the contrary is proved, under s. 5(2), the person is presumed to have known of the matters in s. 5(1)(a)(i) through (iv) on the date of the events giving rise to the claim.

11  Based on the above, central to the application of the “discoverability rule” is when the Plaintiff acquired or ought to have reasonably acquired knowledge of the facts on which his claim is based.

12  The test under subsection 5(1)(a) of the Limitations Act is a subjective test. It requires a determination of when the claimant had actual knowledge of the material facts constituting the cause of action. The focus is on the Plaintiff’s actual knowledge of the facts enumerated under the provision: Ferrara v. Lorenzetti, Wolfe Barristers and Solicitors, 2012 ONCA 851 (CanLII), paragraph 33.

13  The test under subsection 5(1)(b) of the Limitations Act is an objective test. It requires a determination of when a reasonable person in the claimant's position would have been alerted to the elements of the claim: Ferrara v. Lorenzetti, Wolfe Barristers and Solicitors, 2012 ONCA 851 (CanLII), paragraph 33.  It requires considering the "abilities and... circumstances" of the person with the claim and then to decide whether that person "ought to have known of the matters" giving rise to that claim: Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers Marketing Board v. Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Inc. 2016 CarswellOnt 10558, 2016 ONSC 3939 (CanLII), 269 A.C.W.S. (3d) 52, (Div. Ct.) paragraph 51.

14  In Arcari v. Dawson, 2016 ONCA 715 (CanLII) at paragraph 9, the court wrote:

When a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim ought to have known of the matters described in clause 5(1)(a) is a question of fact: Lima v. Moya, 2015 ONSC 324 (CanLII), at para. 76, aff’d on appeal 2015 ONSC 3605 (CanLII), 2015 ONSC 3605 (Div. Ct.), at para. 19.

15  In Fennell v. Deol, 2016 ONCA 249 (CanLII) at paragraphs 23 and 24, the court stated:

Due diligence is not referred to in the Limitations Act, 2002. It is, however, a principle that underlies and informs limitation periods, through s. 5(1)(b). As Hourigan J.A. noted in Longo v. MacLaren Art Centre Inc., 2014 ONCA 526 (CanLII), 323 O.A.C. 246, at para. 42, a plaintiff is required to act with due diligence in determining if he has a claim, and a limitation period is not tolled while a plaintiff sits idle and takes no steps to investigate the matters referred to in s. 5(1)(a).

Due diligence is part of the evaluation of s. 5(1)(b). In deciding when a person in the plaintiff’s circumstances and with his abilities ought reasonably to have discovered the elements of the claim, it is relevant to consider what reasonable steps the plaintiff ought to have taken. Again, whether a party acts with due diligence is a relevant consideration, but it is not a separate basis for determining whether a limitation period has expired.

16  In analyzing the extent of knowledge of the material facts, in Brown v. Wahl, 2015 ONCA 778 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal refers to Lawless v. Anderson, 2011 ONCA 102 (CanLII):

…  The question to be posed is whether the prospective plaintiff knows enough facts on which to base an allegation of negligence against the defendant.  If the plaintiff does, then the claim has been “discovered”, and the limitation begins to run: see Soper v. Southcott (1998), 1998 CanLII 5359 (ON CA), 39 O.R. (3d) 737 (C.A.) and McSween v. Louis (2000), 2000 CanLII 5744 (ON CA), 132 O.A.C. 304 (C.A.).

17  The evidentiary burden is on the Plaintiff to rebut the presumption set by section 5(2) of the Limitations Act: Unegbu v. WFG Securities of Canada Inc., 2015 ONSC 6408 (CanLII) aff’d 2016 ONCA 501 (CanLII).

18  In Nicholas v. McCarthy Tétrault, 2008 CanLII 54974 (ON SC), 2008 CanLII 54974 (ONSC) at para. 27 aff’d 2009 ONCA 692 (CanLII), the court set out:

The circumstance that a potential claimant may not appreciate the legal significance of the facts does not postpone the commencement of the limitation period if he or she knows or ought to know the existence of the material facts, which is to say the constitute elements of his or her cause of action. Error or ignorance of the law or legal consequences of the facts does not postpone the running of the limitation period: Coutanche v. Napoleon Delicatessen (2004), 2004 CanLII 10091 (ON CA), 72 O.R. (3d) 122 (C.A.); Calgar v. Moore, [2005] O.J. No. 4606 (S.C.J.); Milbury v. Nova Scotia(Attorney General) (2007), 2007 NSCA 52 (CanLII), 283 D.L.R. (4th) 449 (N.S.C.A.); Hill v. South Alberta Land Registration District (1993), 1993 ABCA 75 (CanLII), 100 D.L.R. (4th) 331 (Alta. C.A.).

19  In Unegbu v. WFG Securities of Canada Inc., 2015 ONSC 6408 (CanLII) aff’d 2016 ONCA 501 (CanLII), the plaintiff commenced a claim for negligence, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and deceit, with respect to an investment arrangement she entered into and that arrangement failing.  In this case, the plaintiff argued that she was unaware that a proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy her losses.  She also argued that her motivations and actions impacted the analysis and in particular that she attempted to limit her losses being incurred through the failing investment.  The court at paras. 22 and 23, set out:

The facts of this case could hardly be more different. On the plaintiff’s own evidence, she believed the defendants had committed a wrong. There was no need for any advice of a technical nature to inform her that she had a cause of action. Even if I were to accept that the plaintiff did not realise that she could launch legal proceedings to recover her losses, the limitation period commences on the day upon which a reasonable person with the plaintiff’s abilities and in her circumstances ought to have known of her remedy through a court action. I find that any reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position ought to have known by May 2009, at the very latest, that a cause of action existed within the meaning of s. 5 of the Act. For the same reason, the plaintiff cannot rely on her ignorance of the law to postpone the commencement of the limitation period: see Tétrault, at paras. 27-28; and Boyce v. Toronto (City) Police Services Board, 2011 ONSC 53 (CanLII), at paras. 23, 37.

The plaintiff further argued that her motivations and actions impact the analysis in identifying the start date of the limitation period. She asserts that, from the outset, she attempted to limit the losses being incurred through the failing investments rather than recover her money. A reasonable person in her position therefore would not have turned her mind to commencing an action to recover the monies. I reject this argument for three reasons. First, it is undermined by the plaintiff’s own evidence at the discovery hearing that when she called Ashebiode, in late 2008, she did so because she wanted her money back. Secondly, there was no bar to the plaintiff from seeking to limit her losses and recover the lost funds by commencing a legal action, something that a reasonable person in her circumstances ought to have known and considered. Finally, the plaintiff’s motivation for delaying the commencement of legal proceedings is irrelevant in the context of the limitation period.

20  The principle of discoverability is designed to avoid the injustice of precluding an action or claim before a Plaintiff is in a position to commence proceedings, a Plaintiff who through no lack of diligence is unaware of his cause of action prior to the natural expiry of the limitation period (Peixeiro v. Haberman, 1997 CanLII 325 (SCC), Kamloops (City of) v. Nielsen, 1984 CanLII 21 (SCC) and Central Trust Co. v. Rafuse, 1986 CanLII 29 (SCC).

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In contract law matters, the discovery date is generally the date in which a contract is breached.  For example, if a contract involving a debt exists, and where there is a schedule for payments, or a specific date, the limitation period begins on the date the contract is breached by a failure to make proper payments.  If the contract is a demand loan, the limitation period begins upon demand of repayment.  In this example, if there is a breach, the right of action to collect the debt will exist for only two years, albeit with a few exceptions.

In tort law matters, the discovery date is generally the date in which the incident giving rise to a cause of action occurred unless the incident occurrence is unknown to the potential plaintiff.  If the incident occurrence is unknown, the limitation period is suspended.  Only when the potential plaintiff learns of the cause of action or should have learned of the cause of action by reasonable diligence, does the limitation period begin.

It is also important to appreciate that reasonable diligence requires an reasonable effort towards discovery.  As said in at Laurent-Hippolyte v. Blasse et al., 2018 ONSC 940 at paragraph 26, "Due diligence is not about information arriving on one's doorstep - it is about actively taking steps outside the door."

Of course, it is also important to bear in mind that when a cause of action is "discovered" is somewhat objective.  There is a considerable volume of case law that helps to define what "discovered" actually means including the case of Consumers Glass Co. v. Foundation Co.  of Canada Ltd., 51 O.R.  (2d) 385 which suggests that more than just some knowledge of the wrong and harm is required before the limitation clock starts ticking; instead, the plaintiff must have sufficient knowledge to bring litigation.  While this makes sense in that it appears reasonably fair that the limitation period clock should start only when the plaintiff could begin litigation, the ambiguity in when the plaintiff has enough to begin litigation can be very frustrating to a defendant.  This concept whereby the clock begins only when the plaintiff obtains enough to begin litigation follows the decision in Sparham-Souter et al. v. Town & Country Developments (Essex) Ltd. et al., [1976] 2 All E.R. 65 wherein Lord Denning stated at page 68:

A statute of limitations cannot begin to run unless there are two things present: "A party capable of suing and a party liable to be sued." It was so stated by Vaughan Williams LJ in Thompson v Lord Clanmorris, [1900] 1 Ch 718 at 729, [1900-03] All ER Rep 804 at 809], and there is good sense in it.  It would be unjust that time should run against a plaintiff when there is no possibility of bringing an action to enforce it.

Accordingly, the operative key phrase from the decision of Lord Denning is, "...  capable of suing ...".  Again, the mere knowledge of a wrong and harm may be insufficient to bring an action.  It would seem that once a plaintiff has knowledge of a wrong and harm, the Plaintiff may also still have time to gather, subject to reasonable diligence, the necessary evidence.

With all the above said, it remains possible that discovery will be deemed as a date other than the first moment of awareness of the wrongdoing and instead allow a reasonable time for a Plaintiff to carefully review the appropriateness of commencing litigation.  In this respect it was said by the Supreme Court in Novak v. Bond, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 808 at paragraph 85:

…Litigation is never a process to be embarked upon casually and sometimes a plaintiff’s individual circumstances and interests may mean that he or she cannot reasonably bring an action at the time it first materializes. This approach makes good policy sense. To force a plaintiff to sue without having regard to his or her own circumstances may be unfair to the plaintiff and may also disserve the defendant by forcing him or her to meet an action pressed into court prematurely.

Summary Comment

With the principles applicable to limitation periods, the safest way to bring litigation is to avoid dancing with the limitations date.  By bringing litigation forward as diligently as possible; however, without such haste as to fail in preparation, the risk of losing a right of action is greatly reduced.

Page 1 - Limitation Statutes Page 2 - Discovery Principles Page 3 - Suspension By Concealment Page 4 - Cause of Action, continuous Page 5 - Settlement Negotiations
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