Ever watched an exciting hockey game?  You see the Forward streaking toward the opposing goalie!  She's got a clear shot on the net!  But the Forward waits…....she thinks she has a better chance if she just gets a little closer …she's not worried about those other players chasing her…....she holds off!...she's really close now!  Then, the goalie jumps forward and pokes the puck out of the Forward's control and into the corner.

That Forward waited too long; the chance was lost.  The same principle don't delay can have a major impact on legal issues that affect so many of us.

For example, if you get a $25.00 parking ticket, make sure you pay it within the 60 days allowed;  if you don't, it may jump to a $57.96 fine.  If you wait too long to pay the $57.96 fine, Service Nova Scotia may request that the Federal Government deduct the $57.96 fine from your income tax refund or your HST rebate. 

The Registry of Motor Vehicles may also refuse services to you - refuse to renew your license, allow you to transfer ownership of a vehicle, etc. - until the $57.96 is paid.  Only after that fine is paid will the Registry extend service to…Oops! Only after you have paid both the $57.96 fine AND another $36.62 administrative fee to the Registry will you get services again.  

Your $25.00 parking ticket has nearly quadrupled in size because you waited too long!

There are hundreds of other similar situations in law.  Time matters.  For example, you have:

  • 15 days to file an answer to the divorce petition you just got in Nova Scotia

  • 30 days to notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles that you just moved and your address changed

  •  30 days to appeal  the Small Claim's Court decision you lost

  • 6 months to file a complaint with Nova Scotia Labour Standards because your employer has not paid you for work done

  • 12 months from the time of an incident to file a formal complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission if you believe you have been discriminated against

  • 1 year from when your lease ended to apply to Nova Scotia Residential Tenancies to get your security deposit back

  • 3 years to sue if you are in a motor vehicle crash.

Waiting too long may mean you lose out on rights or remedies you might otherwise have had, or that you end up facing more serious penalties.  Waiting usually just makes a tough situation worse. 

That is why it is always wise to consult a lawyer or other reliable source about your situation as soon as you have a problem, even if you don't think that there are time limits to worry about.   Don't wait until it is too late.