For many years, Canadian class actions lawyers could agree that Quebec was clearly the Canadian class actions haven, the province most encouraging of class action plaintiffs and their cases.  Though a case can still be made for Quebec, British Columbia is now giving Quebec a run for its money. Consider the following:

  • B.C.’s Class Proceedings Act provides a no-cost regime at certification.
  • In recent years, B.C.’s certification rate for cases with published reasons has approached 100%.
    • For example, in two recent product liability cases involving the same product, certification was refused in Quebec but granted in B.C.  (MacMillan v. Abbott Laboratories, 2012 QCCA 1684, aff’d 2013 QCCA 906 and Charlton v. Abbott Laboratories Ltd., 2013 BCSC 712 respectively).

What does this mean for Canadian class actions defendants?

  • Defendants should expect to be sued in Quebec or B.C. – or both.
  • In B.C., defendants should carefully consider their strategy at certification.  Disputing the form of certification order may be more beneficial than opposing certification altogether, and in some cases, it may be best to save the fight for the common issues trial.