When does a cause of action for negligent misrepresentation
crystalize such that it triggers the running of the applicable
limitation period? The British Columbia Court of Appeal
addressed this issue recently in Weldon v. Teck Metals Ltd., 2013 BCCA
The pertinent facts of the Weldon case are as follows. The
employees of the defendant Teck participated in a defined benefit
pension plan. The defendant Teck offered the employees the
option of transferring their pensions from the defined benefit plan
to a newly-established defined contribution pension plan, effective
January 1, 1993. The plaintiffs chose to do so.
However, the plaintiffs subsequently alleged that Teck (along with
its consultants) provided them with inaccurate and incomplete
information regarding the risks and benefits of transferring their
pensions, and ultimately commenced legal proceedings in 2009 and
2011, respectively. The employees' claims were framed in
negligent misrepresentation (among other causes of action).
If the cause of action for negligent misrepresentation accrued in
1993, the employees' claims were time-barred under the
governing B.C. Limitation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 266.
The employees alleged that their cause of action for negligent
misrepresentation did not accrue until they became eligible for
payments under their respective pension plans. They asserted
that when a negligent misrepresentation exposes a plaintiff to a
loss or liability that is contingent, the cause of action does not
accrue until the contingency is fulfilled. The defendants asserted
that the employees' claims for negligent misrepresentation
crystallized when the transfer of the pension took place on January
1, 1993, The chambers judge ruled in favour of the
On appeal, the B.C. Court of Appeal, after citing prior
appellate cases from B.C. and Manitoba, (see also the Ontario Court
of Appeal's decision in Metcalfe) ruled that "[t]he
deprivation that grounds the [employees'] claims is the change
from one type of pension plan to another. That change occurred on
January 1, 1993. It is on that date that the [employees']
cause of action arose." Accordingly, the decision of the
Court below was affirmed in this regard.
The B.C. Court of Appeal decision distinguished English and
Australian authorities which have recognized a distinction between
immediate (but not yet quantifiable) losses, and contingent losses,
when determining when a cause of action for negligent
misrepresentation crystallizes. The appellate Court also
affirmed that, in any event, the loss in the instant case was
"immediate and not contingent" because the present value
of a pension plan which exposes beneficiaries to greater risk or
uncertainty would be discounted to reflect that risk.
The Weldon case represents a cautionary tale which highlights
that, in Canada, when a misrepresentation causes a victim to
receive something less than what was represented to him or her, the
limitation period begins to run immediately. It may be too
late to wait for the contingency at the heart of the
misrepresentation to materialize before commencing a claim.
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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