As the province continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Supreme Court, Provincial Court and Court of Appeal have been updating and changing their operations and procedures.
On April 15, 2020, a new Ministerial Order regarding limitation periods came into effect, replacing the previous order made on March 26, 2020.
As provided by the previous Ministerial Order, all mandatory limitation periods and other mandatory time periods established by an enactment or law of British Columbia are suspended in the Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
Mandatory timelines in civil (i.e., non-criminal and non-family law) matters are established by the Supreme Court Civil Rules, which provide timeframes within which a party must bring certain legal proceedings or perform certain acts within an already commenced claim. These statutory limitations periods are also suspended at this time.
While the Ministerial Order states that the suspension of the mandatory timelines will remain in force until the state of emergency is cancelled or expires, the Supreme Court of BC has announced that its operations are suspended until May 29, 2020 after which they will resume.
Importantly, the suspension of timelines in the Ministerial Order does not apply to the mandatory limitation periods and any other mandatory time periods established under the following enactments:
This means that all claims dealing with a builders’ lien must be commenced in compliance with the Builders Lien Act and/or the Strata Property Act, as applicable.
The new Ministerial Order can be found here.
As the government and the courts continue to update and change the protocol frequently, to ensure that a limitation period and/or mandatory time period is not missed, you should take care to ensure that any potential claim is filed, if possible, prior to the suspension being lifted.
If you are unsure of how the new changes affect your claim or if you require assistance in preparing a claim, KZEL remains committed to navigating through your legal matters with you. We are continuing to work through these unique circumstances and are here to provide you with advice, support and representation. Please feel free to contact us.