Sexual assault: Quebec legislates with a view to abolishing the period of limitation

Agressions sexuelles: Québec légifère en vue d'abolir le délai de prescription

Agressions sexuelles: Québec légifère en vue d'abolir le délai de prescription

The minister of Justice, Sonia LeBel, filed Thursday, bill 55, a piece of legislative awaited which will have the effect of abolishing the period of limitation imposed to bring a civil action against an alleged abuser.


June 4, 2020 15h04

Updated at 16h23


Sexual assault: Quebec legislates with a view to abolishing the period of limitation

Jocelyne Richer

The Canadian Press

Victims of sexual assault will soon be able to claim that justice, even if the acts complained of occurred more than 30 years.

The period of limitation was three years, until 2013, when the pq government has chosen to move it to 30 years.

With the Île-du-Prince-Édouard, Quebec is the only canadian province to maintain a limitation period for this type of crime.

The abolition of the statute of limitations had claimed over the years, especially by elderly victims, including those who had had to suffer the repeated aggression of pedophile priests during their childhood.

The project was part of the electoral commitments of the CAQ in 2018.

The civil Code should be amended to echo the expectations of the many victims so far left out of account.

Section 4 of bill 55 will therefore change the article 2926.1 of the civil Code and will state that any person may initiate legal action “if the injury is the result of a sexual assault, of the violence suffered during childhood, or the violence of a spouse or a former spouse, and this, without regard to any period of limitation applicable before the entry into force of this act”, without any time limit.

However, if the abuser is deceased, the victim will have three years after his death to bring an action for the estate of the deceased.

The law will even be applied retroactively. Thus, if a lawsuit past has been rejected by the tribunal solely because the limitation period expired, the victim will have three years to return to the charge.

Of abuse suffered during childhood, number of studies and reports have shown that it may be difficult for the victim to remember the traumatic events experienced long ago. Decades may also be necessary before you find the strength to face them to the court for an attacker.

In many cases, the mere fact of “ask for compensation can be extremely difficult,” agreed Thursday that minister LeBel.

She characterized the filing of its piece of legislation, which reflects a consensus among the elected officials, “gesture extremely important” to the justice and the company.

This last was committed to file a bill prior to the adjournment of the work of this parliamentary session, on June 12. It will, therefore, have kept his word, but almost at the last minute.

The opposition parties have immediately welcomed the initiative of the government, on Thursday morning, saying wish to adopt without delay the draft law 55.

But even if this bill only has six articles, it remains to be seen whether elected officials will have the time required to drive the initiative forward, so that there remains only five days before the end of the parliamentary session. All the more that we would like to also conduct consultations.

Questioned at a press conference whether it was realistic to think that the law could be adopted in any steam here on 12 June, the minister said that the idea to proceed quickly was desirable. “Realistic? We’ll see”, she added.

Mp pq’s Véronique Hivon, who fights for years to make progress on this issue, has expressed its willingness to “proceed to a swift adoption of this bill-there, so that finally justice for those victims of sexual assault”.

Le Soleil

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