IADC Submissions on Class Action Reform in Quebec, Canada

October 4, 2021 12:03 PM

On September 30, 2021, the IADC filed submissions with the Government of the province of Quebec in Canada, in response to a public consultation that it launched in April 2021 in the context of an eventual reform of the class action regime in Quebec. These submissions were supported and adopted by Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ), the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), DRI Center for Law and Public Policy - The Voice of the Defense Bar (DRI), the Canadian Defence Lawyers (CDL), and the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC). The submissions were developed by a number of IADC members in Quebec – Francis Rouleau (Blakes), Myriam Brixi (Laverys), Joséane Chrétien (McMillans), and Sylvie Rodrigue (Torys) - with support and encouragement from members of the IADC Canadian Class Actions Task Force that prepared a similar set of submissions some years back for the Ontario Law Commission.

The impetus for the Quebec government’s consultation was a set of reforms proposed by the Université de Montréal’s Laboratoire sur les actions collectives (Laboratory on class actions) that proposed new case protocols to speed up an already expedited class authorization (certification) process, moving the authorization process into the main proceeding rather than keeping it as a preliminary gatekeeping step, and eliminating the color of right criteria, among other things.

The IADC submissions explain, among other things, why new case protocols are not necessary. Instead, they advocate for plaintiffs being required to succinctly state the causes of action asserted, limiting the types of allegations (facts known to the named plaintiff only) that will be presumed true without evidence, and defense evidence being admitted on agreement of counsel to lessen the risk of delays of court hearings on admissibility. They advocate for retaining and strengthening the existing preliminary authorization process, maintaining and even expanding the color of right test to allow a fuller preliminary merits assessment, incorporating expressly a proportionality analysis for all of the authorization criteria and adding a preferability requirement to avoid needless class actions for those who have had no or de minimis loss.

A complete copy of the IADC submission in French can be found here. Substantively similar submissions were made by the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (French; English) and other industry organizations.

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