Bill could allow unlimited time for assault civil claims
Monday, Mar 20, 2017 06:00 am
Victims of sexual and domestic assault could have unlimited time to submit a civil claim if a bill introduced by Premier Rachel Notley’s government is passed.
The provincial government announced the tabling of Bill 2: An Act to Remove Barriers for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence, March 7 in the provincial legislature.
“By eliminating limitation periods, we are making space for survivors of sexual and domestic violence to come forward when they are ready,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Granley. “We respect the time it may take to do this. If passed, Bill 2 will improve the lives of these Albertans.”
Previously, victims were required to bring forward a civil claim within two years from the offence.
The bill received first reading in the provincial legislature March 7. Second reading was adjourned March 9.
Bill 2 would remove limitation periods for three types of crimes: sexual assault, sexual misconduct involving a minor, intimate relationship or dependant and non-sexual assault involving a minor, intimate relationship or dependant.
According to a release issued by the province, the inclusion of crimes that occur within intimate relationships would be unique to Alberta in Canada.
Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt said MLAs have been assured by the government the removal of limitations on filing a civil suit would not clog up the courts.
“They’ve done similar legislation in other provinces and there hasn’t been a large increase in the amount of people filing civil claims,” she said.
The NDP announced March 9 it would be hiring an additional 35 crown prosecutors and 30 support staff. The province is currently recruiting an additional 15 crown prosecutors. Once all positions have been filled, Alberta will have a total of 360 crown prosecutors, up from the current 310.