The running of the ultimate limitation period for a minor - no “minor matter.”

author by Jeffrey Avrum Perlmutter on Apr. 27, 2023

Lawsuit & Dispute Litigation 

Summary: The running of the ultimate limitation period for a minor, does not toll for that minor unless, at the time, the minor already has a "claim" in existence.

Per recent C.A. decision:

[1]  At issue in this appeal is the interpretation of s.15(4) of the Limitations Act.. provides that the ultimate 15-year limitation period established under s. 15(2) of the Act does not “run during any time in which…the person with the claim is a minor and is not represented by a litigation guardian in relation to the claim”.. [emphasis JP’s]

[2] ..negligence claims involving building permits from 1987..permits were issued in relation to defective construction carried out on their home prior to the respondents’ purchase..the respondents commenced their action in 2021, well after the expiry of the 15-year ultimate limitation period under s.15(2) of the Act on January 1, 2019.


[4] The motion judge determined that the ultimate limitation period under s. 15(2) did not run from 2004, when the Act was passed..until Ms. Wong reached the age of majority on July 11, 2006. Her action against the appellant was therefore not statute-barred – she had commenced her action on July 7, 2021, less than 15 years after July 11, 2006.


[35]  .. the motion judge’s approach..defines a limitation period entirely by the plaintiff’s age without regard to when the claim actually arises. This is inconsistent with s. 15(2) that provides for the commencement of the ultimate limitation period from “the day on which the act or omission on which the claim is based took place." It is not subject to discoverability principles.. 


[44] Ms. Wong was born on July 11, 1988. She ceased to be a minor when she turned 18 years of age on July 11, 2006..

[45] Ms. Wong did not have standing to assert any claim until she purchased the property on August 9, 2019. She was an adult (31 years of age) when she purchased the property in 2019. She was an adult (almost 33 years of age) when she commenced her action against the appellant in 2021.


[49] ..the limitation period for the respondents’ claims in relation to the 1987 building permits expired on January 1, 2019 with the result that those claims are statute-barred..

Wong v. Lui, 2023 ONCA 272 (CanLII), <>

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