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Quebec tables bill to abolish time constraints for civil cases related to sexual assault

Quebec Justice Minister and Minister Responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie Sonia LeBel tabled the bill on Thursday. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec is seeking to lift time constraints for filing civil suits related to sexual assault with long-awaited legislation.

Justice Minister Sonia LeBel tabled Bill 55 on Thursday, saying she was proud to do so. It will allow survivors to pursue justice against their alleged perpetrators regardless of when their complaint was made.

READ MORE: Quebecers experiencing sexual violence, workplace harassment can get free legal aid from Juripop

Advocates have long called for abolishing statutes of limitation for civil cases. While there is no time limit for criminal cases related to sexual assault, there is a 30-year limit in Quebec for civil suits.

Quebec and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces to have time limits for crimes of sexual assault.

If passed, Bill 55 will modify the province’s civil code. It would also include an article stipulating that an apology is not an admission and may not be submitted into evidence.

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READ MORE: Alberta introduces bill to remove time limits on sex assault lawsuits

LeBel is hoping for the bill to pass before the province’s National Assembly breaks for summer on June 12.

Opposition parties have agreed they want the bill to be adopted quickly.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for Quebec Solidaire, said there were “too many women who have been waiting for too long for this bill to be adopted.”

With files from the Canadian Press

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