Skip to main content

Bill 51 The Limitations Act

 On Wednesday March 24th, I asked questions and spoke on Bill 51 The Limitations Act which puts limits on the length of time after the event, or discovery of the event that court actions can be brought forward.  It will now generally be two years.  My questions and comments (from Hansard) are below. 

Bill 51–The Limitations Act


Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): To the minister: I have had concerns raised with me with  regard to individuals who already have claims before the courts and for a claim that has, for instance, a 10-year limitation currently, it will move to a two‑year limitation.

      The individual is very concerned that the two-year limitation will prevent him from proceeding with his claim in court because, when you change the limitation period, you change the ability for somebody to bring an action forward.

Mr. Friesen: The legislation makes clear that this–that when it comes to actions that are currently under way, there is no prejudice; there is no negative impact to claims that are currently under way. In other words, it is–there is no retroactivity to the bills. 

Mr. Gerrard: Yes. Just–first of all, a follow-up to last time: this is not a bill which is going to be retroactive, but at what stage in the court proceedings will the action have to have progressed to? Will it be sufficient for an individual to have filed a claim, or it must be a claim which is more advanced than that?

Mr. Friesen: I believe that an action, at any point, is not prejudiced or negatively impacted in any way by the proposed legislation.



Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): I want to say a few words with regard to Bill 51, The Limitations Act.

      And, specifically, I want to speak with concerns that these changes, while it may be necessary to bring the limitation period more closely into alignment, I think these changes need more public discussion. This is a fairly sweeping change, in terms of shortening The Limitations Act. There are some major issues, which–that minister was not able to answer satis­factorily, at least to me, with regard to the implications with regard to the environment.

      I see that there are potentially many, many areas which can be affected, and I think we really need to hear from people who've had experience with various court actions in the past and just to be sure and com­fortable that when we limit this to a two-year period, this is going to work adequately and really protect people adequately.

      I know that for a number of health claims, it's often complex enough. It's difficult for people to file within two years, sometimes just because of the amount of work that it takes and because there are sometimes significant delays in getting access to records, even though these should be fairly readily accessible when people request them.

      I–there are, of course, matters that have to be publicly–or, have to be carefully interpreted, in terms of the health record, and we've seen a year, for example, during COVID when, in fact, COVID has made things much more difficult to get information in time to be able to assess things because it's harder to meet in person.

      And so I look forward to the discussion which occurs at committee stage, but we have some sig­nificant concerns with a drastic reduction in the period for limitations for many, many areas of court action in Manitoba, and really feels this needs to have more work.

      We understand that Indigenous land claims are excluded. We have clearly experienced–for example, with Métis land claims, which are not treaty so much, but Métis land claims which go back more than a hundred years. In fact, these may go back, at this point, close to 150 years.

      And so it is important that we are not going to limit legitimate claims, actions, concerns. Those long delays may apply sometimes in terms of environ­mental or health issues. I mentioned in question period the example of opioids, and the govern­ment has said that, you know, the Crown will be able to have no limitation under certain circumstances.

      But surely, if the Crown has no limitation with regard to, for example, environmental actions, that members of the general public should also have no limitations with regard to environmental actions.

      I speak because it's not entirely clear where such environmental actions currently have–or are limited in time. Certainly, it has taken many years for us to have an understanding of some of the pollution that has happened in the past, to understand and discover that, and, in some instances, one could say that we should have known that for a long time. There was evidence of it, and therefore it is not newly discovered.

      A good example would be, in fact, the adverse environmental impact of lead, and there are many–and have been many–court actions in other jurisdictions with regard to lead, and we should have known for many, many years of the adverse health effect in lead. And if we'd look to other jurisdictions where such actions have taken place, then you know, we should have–you can say, well, we should have known, however many years ago, that there was a problem.

But it just wasn't–there was no action because people in Manitoba weren't on top of this.

      So, I have some major reservations with this legislation as it's put forward at the moment. I look forward to the discussion at the committee stage, and look forward to further debate and discussion as we move forward.

      Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.


Popular posts from this blog

Comparison between Manitoba and South Dakota shows dramatic impact of Physical Distancing

Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March.  South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory.   The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions.   This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14.  Manitoba ( red line )  started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then.   South Dakota ( blue line )   has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4.  Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations

Standing up for Seniors

Yesterday in the Legislature I  asked the Minister of Health questions about the care of seniors in personal care homes in Manitoba.   I specfically called for the Minister to increase the training and staffing requirements for personal care homes in Manitoba to bring them up to date.   My questions, the Minister's comments and the Speaker's interjection are below:  Personal-Care-Home  Improvements - Need for Upgrades to Standards and Training Hon. Jon  Gerrard   (River Heights): Madam Speaker, we're very concerned this government is not adapting to the reality of caring for seniors who are living longer. Seniors living in our personal-care homes today have much more challenging health-care conditions than those who were in similar homes even five years ago, and yet the staffing formula, or minimal personnel requirement, is over 20 years old. Too few care aides and nurses are adequately trained to look after residents with dementia and multiple chronic health conditi

I cried today when I heard the report on the Maples Care Home disaster

Today the Pallister  government released the report on the tragedy which occurred at the Maples personal care home in October  to December 2020.   There were far too many people infected with COVID-19 (73 staff and 157 residents) and far too many deaths (56).  It did not have to be this way.  The central finding of the report was: "The review found that while pandemic plans had  been prepared and were in place, the site was not prepared for the significant reduction in available staff once they had been  exposed to COVID-19  and were required to self-isolate.  In addition, the urgency of requests for additional on-site staffing supports were not  fully understood until the situation became critical.   While additional staff were brought in, many were not skilled in providing long-term care services and  lacked training in infection prevention and control and specialized housekeeping skills."    Five  months before, Manitoba Liberals had warned the Premier three times that pre