Canadian Standards Association v P.S. Knight Co. Ltd., 2015 ONSC 7980

The Ontario Superior Court has declined to stay a defamation action pending the outcome of a copyright, trademark and competition action proceeding in the Federal Court.

Canadian Standards Association ("CSA") commenced an action in the Federal Court in 2012, suing Gordon Knight and his corporation P.S. Knight Co. Ltd. for copyright infringement and for breach of s. 7(a) of the Trade-marks Act, and s. 52 of the Competition Act.

In this action in the Superior Court of Justice, CSA sues Mr. Knight and his corporation for defamation.

After the action for copyright infringement in the Federal Court was commenced, Mr. Knight and his corporation began to operate a website under the name "RestoreCSA," which, among other things, discussed the copyright litigation in the Federal Court between CSA and Mr. Knight and his corporation. The CSA alleges that the commentary was false and defamatory. In 2013, CSA then issued an Amended Statement of Claim alleging that Mr. Knight and his corporation were knowingly or recklessly making false and misleading statements that tended to discredit the wares, services or business of CSA contrary to s. 7(a) of the Trade-marks Act and were knowingly or recklessly making false and misleading representations to the public contrary to s.52 of the Competition Act.

On April 23, 2015, CSA commenced a defamation action in the Ontario court against P.S. Knight Co. Ltd. and Mr. Knight with respect to the alleged to be defamatory statements posted on the RestoreCSA website and in Restore CSA Issues Summary Re: Canadian Standards Association, a publication.

Knight sought to have the defamation action dismissed or permanently stayed or in the alternative temporarily stayed until the conclusion of the Federal Court action. 

The Superior Court held that there is no unfairness in having the proceedings proceed in tandem. The defamation action has different substantive elements and different remedies available to CSA assuming it were successful. Rather than staying the Ontario proceeding, the Court found that the Ontario proceedings should just be fairly managed to continue to make progress in tandem with the further advanced Federal Court proceedings.