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Intervening for Extended Opt-Out Rights: Johnson v. Ontario

By Katie Pfaff, MSW, JD. On March 30, 2022, the Class Action Clinic intervened at the Ontario Court of Appeal in the case of Johnson v Ontario, 2022 ONCA 725. The Clinic advocated for a new test to extend a class member’s time to opt-out after the designated deadline. These submissions were largely accepted by…

Whose Interest is it Anyway?: Intervening in the Waldron case

By Elizabeth Yan, 2L A class action settlement is approved by the court when it is determined to be fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the entire class. Key considerations for settlement approvals include looking at whether an agreement sufficiently compensates for the relinquishment of each individual class member’s litigation rights and whether…

“Forever Chemicals” and the Potential for Toxic Torts Class Actions in Canada

By: Jacklyn Barrios In 1948, manufacturer 3M invented a chemical known as Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used to prevent substances from clumping during production. Three years later, United States chemical company, DuPont, began purchasing PFOA from 3M to use in the manufacturing of Teflon, the non-stick coating on their cookware. PFOA was used in Teflon until…

Common Obstacles Class Members Face In Settlement Claims Processes

By: Khawla Khalifa To many players who are involved in legal actions, the word ‘settlement’ echoes sentiments of relief and the end of an ordeal. However, to class members of settled class actions, reaching a settlement could mean the beginning of yet another uphill battle. Although judges consider whether the settlement is in the best…

Releases Under Scrutiny: Protecting the Best Interests of the Class

By: Iman Naqvi A broad legal release threatens the principle of access to justice in class proceedings. A release prevents the parties in a lawsuit from pursuing further legal action against the other over the same issue – the plaintiff is compensated by the defendant and in exchange, the plaintiff agrees to release the defendant…

2021: Year in Review

By: Olivia Pomajba The Class Action Clinic has selected the top five most notable class action decisions of 2021. These decisions set important precedents in class action practice, as the Court addressed the power dynamic between plaintiffs, defendants, and class action procedure itself.   Class Actions & the Gig Economy: Heller v. Uber Technologies, 2021 ONSC…

Efficiency Over Fairness: Interpreting the Day School Settlement

By: Katie Pfaff and Jasminka Kalajdzic In April 2020, former Clinic student caseworker Karly Lyons wrote a blog about a pivotal case for class action settlements – JW v Canada (AG), an appeal arising from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). In a three-way split decision, the Supreme Court of Canada established limits on…

Cy-Près Awards to the Class Action Clinic

By Oscar Ramirez On June 17, 2021, Justice Belobaba released his decision approving the proposed settlement in MacDonald et al. v BMO Trust Company et al. In the decision, Justice Belobaba went over the proposed settlement, which included a term that the first $250,000 in cy-près distributions would be paid to the Class Action Clinic.…

The Settlement Claims Process: What Type of Evidence Do I Need?

By: Micheline Chevrier It can be many years before a class action lawsuit is resolved. If a settlement is reached and approved by the Court, the claims process is the final step to concluding the matter. It, too, can also take several months or a few years to complete. The kind and extent of evidence…

Mark Your Calendar! How is a Claims Application Deadline Determined?

Written By: Katie Pfaff. Special thanks to Jonathan Foreman of Foreman & Company for lending his insights in the making of this blog. You have made it. As a class member, you have followed a class action proceeding from its certification all the way to settlement approval, and now, thankfully, you are eligible for compensation…

Pearce v Pillars: What’s the deal with ‘class action waiver’ clauses in contracts of adhesion?

By: Emma Walsh Introduction Class actions can, and often do, serve as a procedural vehicle to aid comparably weaker parties in holding larger organizations accountable. Yet, at the outset of their relationship, larger organizations may require individuals to contractually waive their rights to participate in a class action. The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently…

Francis v Ontario: When is the Government liable for its misconduct?

By: Lyann Ordenes The Ontario Court of Appeal’s (ONCA) recent holding in Francis v Ontario confirms that baseline damages under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be sought in class actions as a measure of compensation, vindication and deterrence. In this case, Charter damages were awarded due to the Ontario Government’s unconstitutional system…

Is a Cy Près Award to Legal Aid Appropriate?

By Lauren Tzogas For many years now, judges have approved the payment of settlement money to cy près recipients when it is impractical or uneconomical to pay the settlement funds directly to class members. These recipients are usually charitable or non-profit organizations, university research initiatives or the Class Proceedings Fund (“CPF”). Cy près distributions can…

Objection, Your Honour! Can class members dispute settlement orders in class actions?

By Daniel MacDonald A feature unique to class actions is that class members are not always happy with settlements. Occasionally, class members object to settlements but judges approve them anyway. Is there recourse for class members when this situation arises? Last month, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that unhappy class members have no right…

Should I Stay or Should I Go: Opting Out of a Class Action

By Braden Adsett Given the exceptional ability of the class action vehicle to aggregate claims and deliver widespread relief, it is subject to unique procedural requirements. One of these procedures is called certification. This is where the court determines if it is appropriate for the class action to proceed based on the five factors articulated…

Defendant Class Proceedings

By Flavia Zaka Class proceedings usually invoke images of a large asymmetry of numbers between parties: multitudes of individuals on the plaintiff side, and relatively few, but powerful, governments or corporations on the defence side. Though this is the most common model, it is not the only one that class action statutes permit. Ontario’s legislation…

Survivors’ Perspectives on Settlement Claims Processes

By Mariam Rajabali From 1920 to 1996, Indigenous children were removed from their families and placed in federally operated Indian Residential Schools. While attending these schools, many children were harmed physically, emotionally and sexually, and all suffered from the ruptures in their families and communities, causing disastrous ripple effects and leading to devastating intergenerational trauma.…

LTC Class Actions and Bill 218 – Navigating a Shifting Legal Landscape

By Flavia Zaka There are 626 Long Term-Care (“LTC”) Homes in Ontario, housing more than 79,000 people. By the end of the first wave of COVID-19, 55% of the LTCs had reported an outbreak.  To date, 1959 residents have died from exposure to the virus.At least 15 proposed class actions against LTCs have been filed…

Cancelled Flights and Lack of Refunds lead to Class Actions

By Mariam Rajabali In the flood of litigation during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increased number of COVID-19 related class actions. Whether the targets are long-term care homes, retailers, insurance companies or airlines, COVID-19 has gone beyond impacting everyone’s day-to-day life. Now, it has forced consumers to consider their loyalty to their favourite…

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