In AIC Ltd. v. Fischer, 2013 SCC 69 (Can. 2013) (No. 34738), the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the standards for class certification under a statute providing that “a class proceeding would be the preferable procedure for the resolution of the common issues.” The court analyzed this “preferability” requirement in light of the principal goals of class actions: judicial economy, behavior modification of defendants, and access to justice. To analyze the access to justice issue, the court instructed that the courts should determine what barriers to justice exist, the potential for class proceedings to address those barriers, alternatives to class proceedings, the extent to which the alternatives address barriers to access to justice, and how the two proceedings compare. Applying those standards, the court concluded a class was the appropriate means to resolve this dispute.
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