A Nova Scotia survivor of sexual abuse is applauding the provincial government’s promise to amend the Limitation of Actions Act.
Justice Minister Lena Diab said Thursday that means victims of sexual assault, regardless of when it happened, can sue perpetrators.
While the Act currently removes the statute of limitations for any future victims of sexual assault, legislation passed by the province last fall does not afford the same right for assaults that took place before the legislation passed.
The proposed amendment would allow for retroactive civil lawsuits, Diab said.
The move is what Bob Martin has been hoping to hear from government for years.
The abuse survivor is one of a number of victim’s of Fenwick MacIntosh, a former Nova Scotia businessman currently serving a seven-year sentence in Nepal on a sex charge.
MacIntosh was convicted four years ago of abusing Martin and other young men in Port Hawkesbury, N.S. in the 1970s.
The 17 sex-related convictions against MacIntosh stemming from that era were later thrown out after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the 14-year delay between the allegations and the trial affected MacIntosh’s ability to defend himself.
Reached on Thursday afternoon, Martin applauded the government for being on the right side of the issue.
Better late than never, he says.
“Abuse shouldn’t have a timeline, and other provinces like B.C., Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Ontario do have that luxury and we should be on board with them,” Martin said.
Diab said she too looked to other provinces for examples.
“I’ve looked at the legislation that is across the country, and I plan to do the same thing,” she said.
The minister will amend the Act during the legislature’s spring session.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh