I received electronically the latest issue of the Ontario Reports today and it includes a decision of the Superior Court that has held that the basic two year limitation period applies to the enforcement of foreign judgments in Ontario. What is interesting is that the Limitations Act 2002 provides that there is no limitation period for the enforcement of any order of the Court or any other order that can be enforced the same way as an order of the Court (such as a decision of an administrative tribunal or even a decision of a private arbitrator in many instances). However, what the decision has determined is that this provision only applies to orders of an Ontario Court or to administrative tribunals that are covered by Ontario legislation.
In the Access Rigging Services decision, Justice McLean held that if the Ontario government had wanted to include foreign judgments in the exemption from limitation periods it could have easily added wording to this effect. Since it did not, the normal two year limitation period applies.
Why does this matter? It can matter because two years is not a long time and if you have sued someone from Ontario in a different province/country/state and then you try to locate them in Ontario but do not find them in time, it’s could be too late. It can also matter because the limitation period can be different. Ontario also has the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act which establishes a procedure for fairly easy recognition of judgments from other provinces in Canada as well as the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (UK) Act which covers judgments obtained in the United Kingdom. More importantly, though, both of these acts establish a six year limitation period (and not the usual two year limitation period) for bringing proceedings to enforce non-Ontario judgments. Therefore, the question is whether you have only two years or up to six years. As of today (May 18, 2011), the six year period would apply if your judgment comes from any of the other provinces or territories in Canada EXCEPT Quebec or if it comes from the United Kingdom. If, for example, your judgment is from New York State or elsewhere in the U.S., you only have the two years and should act quickly.
Something to think about.