Manitoba: The Court of Appeal sets out the s. 15(2) test

In Laing v. Sekundiak, the Manitoba Court of Appeal defined the test under section 15(2) of the The Limitations of Action Act.

Manitoba’s limitation scheme is semi-reformed.  It doesn’t have a general limitation period, but it does have a codified discoverability rule.  It’s a curious rule in that a plaintiff can apply (pursuant to section 14(1) of The Limitations of Action Act to the Court for leave to begin or continue an action up to twelve months after the discovery of “material facts of a decisive character upon which the action is based”.

Section 15(2) sets out the evidentiary requirements to obtain leave on a section 14(1) application:

Where an application is made under section 14 to begin or to continue an action, the court shall not grant leave in respect of the action unless, on evidence adduced by or on behalf of the claimant, it appears to the court that, if the action were brought forthwith or were continued, that evidence would, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, be sufficient to establish the cause of action on which the action is to be or was founded apart from any defence based on a provision of this Act or of any other Act of the Legislature limiting the time for beginning the action.

There has been some uncertainty as to the test created by this section.  The Court has held at times that the evidence must be sufficient to establish a reasonable chance of success, a prima facie case, and a reasonable prospect of success.

In the view of Justice Hamilton, these were merely different ways of saying that same thing: “[T]o be successful, an applicant seeking leave must adduce sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case and that means demonstrating a case that has a reasonable chance of success.”