Written by Bennett Jones Class Action Litigation Group
As we start 2017, uncertainty abounds. Donald J. Trump’s ascension to the Presidency and populist movements in Europe and Britain are set to upend global norms and challenge the status quo. Serious questions are being raised about an array of issues with the potential for widespread impact on business and legal regimes in the U.S. and around the world. Class action litigation is not immune to these changes: in early February, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee voted to introduce the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, which, if passed, may lead to very significant legislative changes to U.S. class actions.
In contrast stands Canada’s class action regime. In 2016, significant decisions were rendered in class proceedings that provide clarity on how Canadian courts intend to interact with each other, domestic and foreign litigants, and courts internationally going forward. Recent trends towards the globalization of Canada’s class regime have continued. Canadian courts appear primed to accept global classes, apply creative solutions to address complex cross-border class proceedings and take jurisdiction over claims even where a defendant’s connections to Canada are limited. Canadian courts have also taken on claims paralleling those originally seen south of the border, including significant decisions addressing unpaid overtime and, with echoes of the high profile Trump University case, deceptive marketing.
Bennett Jones was involved in some of the most important cases of 2016. Our active and expanding class actions practice group maintained its hard-earned reputation as a leader in the Canadian legal market. By leveraging our practical experience, litigation expertise, and unparalleled knowledge of procedure, we helped clients achieve meaningful results that aligned with their business objectives.
With the additional clarity provided by recent decisions, the stage is set for continued Canadian class action activity in 2017. What follows is our discussion of recent Canadian class action trends and our look forward at how we anticipate those trends will impact strategies for defeating class actions or potentially avoiding them altogether.