Statute of Limitations in Canada for Assault

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Statute of Limitations in Canada for Assault

In this article, we will discuss everything about the statute of limitations in Canada for assault. Most people are not well aware of it because they don’t face these issues often. However, it is beneficial to know, so you can use this knowledge whenever you face cases related to assaults.

Every country has different laws regarding filing lawsuits. Limitations law or statute of limitation is one of the most important ones here. This law is a time limitation for filing lawsuits for different cases.

It is not the same for all cases and all countries. However, everyone needs to know about this, especially victims who want to file a claim. That is why this article will give you the lawyers’ guide on the statute of limitations in Canada.

Here, we will share the information regarding the statute of limitations in Canada that we have got by working in this sector for a long time. So, let’s start.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Canada?

From our experience, we can say one thing, and there have many people who don’t even have any idea about the statute of limitations. That is why, at first, we are going to give you the basic information about it.

A statute of limitation is a law that gives both parties a maximum time to start legal proceedings from exactly the date when the accident or crime happened. A victim may not be able to take legal action for many reasons at the beginning. In this regard, this law allows the victim to take legal action even after many years.

For this statute of limitation law, they can legally do that after a long time. But this law will allow the convict or wrongdoer to move to another jurisdiction. It is actually not a big deal. The convict will definitely have punishment wherever s/he is.

In most cases, this law applies to civil cases like medical malpractice, and the statute of limitation is two years. Maybe you are a victim of medical malpractice. Here you have to take legal action within precisely two years. Even if you want to sue the guilty person after two years and one day, you will not be able to do that. You have to meet the deadline here.

On the other hand, criminal cases also have a statute of limitations in most countries. Like, in the case of sexual violence where minors are involved, kidnapping, hijacking, and so on have some statute of limitations in most states. But most serious cases like murder haven’t any maximum statute of limitations. Here you will be able to take legal action at any time you want.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Canada for Assault?

You may often hear that someone is coming forward after some years of being abused and disclosing what happened to her. At that time, the most common statement is, why is she taking legal steps after a huge time? Isn’t there any statute of limitations for this case?

The answer is no. There is no statute of limitation for these kinds of serious cases in the Canadian jurisdiction. The limitation laws of Canada don’t prevent any legal proceedings for these cases.

The convict will be under the law till their death. But there have some cases where the statute of limitations will be applicable.

Here we will give you some cases so you can be more explicit about this. These are as follows:

Personal Injury Cases

There have different types of personal injury cases that are being filed in court every day. Among them, motor vehicle accident cases are the most common. Here, the statute of limitation is four years.

Medical Malpractices

If any medical practices occur anywhere for the doctors’ negligence, in that case, you will have two years to file a lawsuit or take any other legal options. But if the result of that malpractice is severe, there is no statute of limitations in that case.

Sexual Abuses by Minor

Sexual abuses are a very serious case. As we have said, there is no statute of limitations for such severe cases. But, if sexual abuse is done by a minor, in that case, you will get 4 to 5 years to take legal action.


There have two types of contracts, as we all know, oral contract and written contract. In the case of a verbal agreement, the statute of limitation is four years in Canada. In the written contract case, you will get one more year ( i.e., 5 years) to take action.

Property Damages

Property damages also have a statute of limitations. You will get four years here to file the lawsuit against the culprit.

These are mainly the most common crimes that have a statute of limitation. There have been a lot of similar cases where you will get more or less the same statute of limitations.

Learn: How to Beat an Assault Charge in Canada?

Is there a Statute of Limitations in Canada for certain Criminal Offences?

As opposed to common perception, Canadian criminal law has no universal statute of limitations. In other words, after a certain period of time has passed, any specific law does not prohibit the police from charging someone with all offences. Usually, charges can be brought against someone years after the claimed offence was committed. There are, however, some limitations.

A limitation period established by Section 786(2) of the Criminal Code now prohibits filing a summary conviction prosecution if more than 12 months have passed since the alleged offence. Other pieces of legislation may also contain a defined limitation time and include a variety of summary conviction offences.

There are three types of offences in Canada: indictable, summary conviction, and hybrid.

Indictable Offences:

The most serious criminal offences are frequently those that fall under the category of “indictable offences,” which are those that can only be pursued through an allegation.

This kind of offence is free from the statute of limitations. Years or even decades after an indictable offence was committed, a person may still be charged with it.

Summary Conviction Offences:

Summary Conviction Offenses are the least serious and should be handled quickly. These offences are punished quickly. A judge tries them without the option of a jury.

This type of offence is limited to the statute of limitations. Once the 12-month limitation period has passed, a person cannot be charged with a pure summary conviction offence. In criminal law, there are just a few of these offences.

Hybrid Offences:

Depending on how the prosecution proceeds, hybrid offences can be punished through summary conviction or indictment. The prosecution might choose which alternative to follow by analyzing the circumstances of the alleged offence and the individual involved.

If the crime was serious, such as if it resulted in property damage or bodily harm, the prosecution may be more willing to choose to proceed as an indictable offence with the possibility of a longer sentence. If the circumstances are minor, the prosecution can decide to proceed with a summary conviction.

Learn More: How Long Do the Police Have to Charge You with a Crime in Canada?

Some Exceptions of Statute of Limitations in Canada

There have some exceptions in the case of having a statute of limitation in Canada. These areas are as follows:


The statute of limitations is not applicable if the victim is a minor. According to our country’s law, minors can’t take any legal decision even if the case is not severe.

Physically or Mentally Unable

Another exception is that if the victim is physically or mentally unable to take any legal steps, the limitations law will not apply to him/her. S/he or the legal guardian can do it at any time before the wrongdoer’s death.

Learn More: Canadian Criminal Code

Final Words: Statutes of Limitations in Canada

In Canada, there is no statute of limitations for severe cases like murder, and so on. You may get a statute of limitations for sexual abuses for two years or, in some provinces, five years most. Besides, you can get the limitation for medical malpractice for two years. You should know all of this information for being a good citizen here and for your cases.

Who can say that you will not be the victim of an accident tomorrow? No one. So, for your better should know all the legal advantages of our country’s laws. In that case, our article can help you a lot.

We have conducted a detailed discussion of the statute of limitations in Canada.  Do you have anything to know regarding this topic? Let us know in the comment section.

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In this following section, find answers to relevant queries regarding this topic.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

A law that ends a party’s ability to file a claim after a long time has passed. Depending on the sort of claim or offence at issue, state and federal statutes specify various time frames.

Is there a Statute of Limitations on Assault in Canada?

In Canada, there is no specific statute of limitations for assault. Police can charge someone with all offences, including assault, after a specified amount of time has passed.

What Crimes have a Statute of Limitations in Canada?

No fixed crime in Canada has a statute of limitations. Eventually, noticing the offence, anyone can contact the police even after passing so many years. No fixed crimes are there to have burned by limitations.

Is there a Statute of Limitations on Domestic Violence in Canada?

On domestic violence, reporting should be done instantly. In case of delay, the court will take the application. Consequently, make the proper review of the crime. So, there is no statute of limitations that comes into play in question of domestic violence in Canada.