Commission de la Construction du Québec v Access Rigging Services Inc., 2010 ONSC 5897 (Enforcement of Foreign Judgments)

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In Commission de la Construction du Québec v Access Rigging Services Inc., 2010 ONSC 5897, a single judge of the Superior Court of Justice confirmed that the two-year limitation period under the Limitations Act, 2002, applies to the enforcement of foreign judgments. 

The applicants brought an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to enforce a Quebec default judgment against the respondent in Ontario. The applicant obtained a default judgment against the respondent in November 2005 in Quebec.  In July 2010, the applicant applied to enforce the judgment in Ontario. The respondent took the position that the application was statute barred.

The application judge dismissed the application on the basis that the two-year limitation period applied to bar the applicant’s application to enforce a Quebec judgment.  The judge found that the Quebec judgment is a foreign judgment for the purposes of enforcement in Ontario.  The judge held that had the legislature intended that the standard two-year limitation period not apply to foreign judgments it could have easily specified this intention in the Act.  Section 16(1)(b) of the Act provides for an exception for proceedings to enforce an order of a court, but the judge held that there was no indication that the legislature meant to include foreign judgments within its scope.

Access Rigging is not likely to have a significant effect on the enforcement of judgments made in Canadian jurisdictions other than Quebec. The Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. R.5, sets out a system where judgments rendered in reciprocating provinces and territories can be enforced in Ontario through a simple registration system. Such judgments can be registered in Ontario within six years of the date the judgment was given. Quebec is the only province or territory that does not have reciprocating legislation in place.

Access Rigging provides confirmation of the different limitations periods that apply to enforcement proceedings in Ontario, depending on where the original judgment was rendered: 

  • Ontario: There is no limitation period on “domestic” enforcement proceedings under section 16(1)(b) of theLimitations Act, 2002 (i.e. those where the judgment to be enforced was originally rendered by the Ontario courts).
  • Provinces and territories other than Quebec: A judgment for a sum of money can be enforced in Ontario within six years of the judgment being made. Enforcement is accomplished by a simple registration system under the Reciprocal Enforcement Act, R.S.O 1990, c. R5.
  • Quebec and other jurisdictions: Except as modified by other legislation, proceedings to enforce judgments rendered in Quebec and other foreign jurisdictions are subject to the basic two-year limitation period set out in the Limitations Act.