Toward a Class Action

Photo by Sora Shimazaki

People For Justice Canada are looking earnestly at a Class Action as many of our Members and Participants here share a common and reasonable cause of action related to 2020’s excessive removal of rights and freedoms under our Charter.

The number of Defendants in this action would be numerous without placing undue stress to our public courts.

We’d like you to understand a few things about a class action in Canada, well elucidated by Vincent de l’Étoile, Partner. Langlois Lawyers, LLP.

Class Action Litigation Definition
Unlike in the United States, the Canadian class action landscape features a low bar for the certification (or authorization) of a class action and our courts do not apply a rigorous scrutiny standard at that stage.

In most Canadian provinces, the certification process for a proposed class action involves a similar test that uses the following criteria:

(a) the statement of claim discloses a reasonable cause of action (i.e. one not plainly and obviously doomed to fail), (PFJC meets this threshold)

(b) there is an identifiable class of two or more persons, (PFJC meets this threshold)

(c) the claim raises common issues (the questions of law common to the class must predominate over questions affecting individual members), (PFJC meets this threshold)

(d) a class proceeding is the preferable procedure for the resolution of the common issues (it supersedes other available methods to resolve the issue in dispute); and

(e) the representative plaintiff will fairly and adequately represent the class.

Unlike in other Canadian provinces, Quebec’s class action screening phase is referred to as the “authorization” rather than “certification” stage. (The authorization of a class action in Quebec is subject to meeting different but not unsurmountable criteria.)

Once a class action is certified or authorized, the merits of the case will be assessed in a trial of the common issues, as in any other conventional lawsuit.

Each Canadian province provides for rights of appeal at the various stages of a class action and various regimes for the filing of evidence, preliminary motions, discoveries, and other procedural steps.

In Conclusion

Class action lawyers must have a thorough understanding of the intricacies of class action proceedings and keep abreast of developments in this constantly changing area of the law. Clients facing a proposed class action should seek out firms and attorneys with recognized class action expertise, in addition to knowledge and experience regarding the substance of the claim.

Indeed, this last paragraph is critical to us and we are on this quest at this very moment. We will update you on our progress periodically.

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