Limitation periods and procedural deadlines in Ontario have been suspended since March 16, 2020 pursuant to Ontario Regulation 73/20 (the “Suspension Order”) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, RSO 1990, c E.9 (the “Act”).
Further to our blog post dated June 7, 2020, the Suspension Order was extended to September 11, 2020, which was the maximum renewal period allowed under the Act.
Ontario is gradually reopening its businesses, services, and public spaces. The Ministry of the Attorney General has therefore decided to revoke the Suspension Order. Limitation periods and procedural timelines will resume running on Monday, September 14, 2020 in accordance with Ontario Regulations 457/20 and 458/20 made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, SO 2020, c 17.
Limitation periods and procedural timelines will have been suspended for 182 days (i.e., 26 weeks). The Suspension Order operates like a tolling agreement. For example, if one is dealing with the basic two-year limitation period and a claim was discovered on March 16, 2019, then the limitation period will expire on September 14, 2021 (because the 182 days between March 16, 2020 and September 14, 2020 are excluded from the calculation of the two-year limitation period that would have otherwise expired on March 16, 2021).
To be clear, the Suspension Order only applies to Ontario limitation periods. The Suspension Order does not impact limitation periods and procedural timelines under federal laws, which are covered by a different regime, discussed in an earlier blog post, and the Suspension Order never applied to contractual limitation periods.
As we bid farewell to the Suspension Order, lawyers should be careful in calculating the dates on which any relevant limitation periods and procedural timelines are set to expire and diarize those dates accordingly.