Doug Perras

Limitations Periods for Sexual Assault or Battery ClaimsThe Alberta government has introduced legislation – Bill 2 – that has eliminated limitation periods for claims which involve sexual assault or battery. A limitation period is the time limit for filing a court action after the wrong which gave rise to the action occurred. For most actions in Alberta the limitation period is two years. Elimination of the limitation period means that the injured party can file their action at anytime without restriction.

The same legislation also removed limitation periods for “a claim that relates to any misconduct of a sexual nature, other than sexual assault or battery, if at the time of the misconduct,

  • the person with the claim was a minor,
  • the person with the claim was in an intimate relationship, with the person who committed the misconduct, or
  • the person with the claim was dependent, whether financially, emotionally, physically or otherwise, on the person who committed the misconduct.”

The legislation removed limitation periods – for the above groups – for situations such as sexual harassment, sexting, posting of photographs of a sexual nature and many other similar situations.

In addition to the above, the legislation removed limitation periods for “a claim that relates to an assault or battery, other than a sexual assault or battery, if, at the time of the assault or battery,

  • the person with the claim was a minor,
  • the person with the claim was in an intimate relationship, with the person who committed the assault or battery, or
  • the person with the claim was dependent, whether financially, emotionally, physically or otherwise, on the person who committed the assault or battery.”

Even though there was no sexual involvement the legislation removed limitation periods for situations of assault or battery – for the above groups.  Situations such as a beating at the hands of prison guards, police, school or religious officials come to mind.

It is important to note that, Bill 2 uses the term “assault or battery”.  Wikipedia defines assault and battery as:

Assault and battery is the combination of two violent crimes: assault (the threat of violence) and battery (crime) (physical violence). This legal distinction exists only in jurisdictions that distinguish assault as threatened violence rather than actual violence.

Thus, the legislation includes claims which involve threats of any type of violence, sexual or otherwise, and includes threats to post compromising videos, pictures, or messages of a sexual nature.

It is important to note that the legislation is retroactive. In other words, it does not matter how long ago the assault or battery occurred, there is no longer limitation periods as outlined above.

Links:

Bill 2 – Complete Text

News Articles Relating to Bill 2
Calgary Herald
Global News Calgary