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Limitations Act - Meaning of 'Claim'

. Gordon Dunk Farms Limited v. HFH Inc.

In Gordon Dunk Farms Limited v. HFH Inc. (Ont CA, 2021) the Court of Appeal considered the meaning of 'claim' (here the issue was wrt s.4-5 of the Ontario Limitations Act):
[26] The meaning of “claim” in the Act was explained by this court in Kaynes v. BP p.l.c., 2021 ONCA 36, 456 D.L.R. (4th) 247, and confirmed most recently by the Supreme Court of Canada in Grant Thornton LLP v. New Brunswick, 2021 SCC 31, in respect of the New Brunswick Limitation of Actions Act, S.N.B. 2009, c. L-8.5 (the “N.B. Act”). In Kaynes, the court explained that while the Act no longer refers specifically to a cause of action, instead it sets out universal criteria for the commencement of the limitation period in respect of a claim: at paras. 50-58. A claim is pursued in a court proceeding to obtain a remedy for a loss that the defendant caused the plaintiff to suffer by its act or omission. To obtain a remedy in a court proceeding, a person must assert a cause of action.

[27] In Grant Thornton, Moldaver J. rejected the argument that there was a meaningful distinction between “claim” and “cause of action” in the context of the N.B. Act (which is similar but not identical to the Ontario Act), stating at para. 37:
I recognize that the distinction between “claim” and “cause of action” could be meaningful in some circumstances; but in my view, it is not so here. In fact, the LAA’s own wording shows that the use of “claim” does not rule out a shared meaning with “cause of action”. Section 1(1) defines a claim as a “claim to remedy the injury, loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act or omission”. In short, s. 1(1) indicates that the legislature’s use of the term “claim” focuses on a set of facts giving rise to a remedy, which is the same meaning that Grant Thornton attributes to the term “cause of action”.


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