What is a class action?A class action is a type of lawsuit where one or more plaintiffs sue a defendant or a number of defendants on behalf of a group, or class, of people who have the same interests and claims. A class action allows the claims of many people to be resolved in a single proceeding, instead of having each person file a separate lawsuit. A class action in Canada is initiated by an individual who goes to a lawyer with a complaint of harm caused by another. The class must be represented by a lawyer who normally gets paid a percentage of what the class wins if the case settles or goes to trial. A class action in Canada must be certified by a court before it can proceed. The court must determine that the case meets certain criteria, such as having a common issue among the class members, having an identifiable class, having a suitable representative plaintiff, and having a preferable procedure for resolving the claims. Some examples of class actions in Canada are lawsuits against companies for defective products, privacy breaches, consumer protection issues, environmental accidents, mass personal injury, institutional abuse, and labour and employment issues.
What does it mean when an action in Canada is certified as a class proceeding?When an action in Canada is certified as a class proceeding, it means that a court has approved the case to proceed as a class action. Certification is a procedural step that does not decide the merits of the case, but rather determines whether the case meets certain criteria to be handled as a class action. The criteria for certification vary slightly depending on the jurisdiction, but generally include: A cause of action has been stated There is an identifiable class of at least two individuals The class members’ claims raise common issues A class action is the preferable procedure for resolving the claims There is a suitable representative plaintiff who can fairly and adequately represent the class Certification is usually contested by the defendants, who may challenge the validity of the claim, the existence of a class, the commonality of the issues, the suitability of the representative plaintiff, or the preferability of a class action. The court must weigh these arguments and decide whether to certify the action as a class proceeding. If the court certifies the action, it will also appoint a representative plaintiff and define the scope and membership of the class.
What if I have a question not covered above?If you have a question not covered above, you can email us at email@example.com, message us on twitter or facebook (links above), or call us at (604) 639-3680.
August 23, 2019: The plaintiff filed the notice of civil claim against the defendants.
June 1, 2021: The court approved the settlement agreement with Vita Health Products Inc. and Sisu Inc.
July 16, 2021: The court certified the action against WN Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Natural Factors Nutritional Products Limited, but not against Jamieson Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
November 1, 2021: The court certified the action against Jamieson Pharmaceuticals Ltd. after the plaintiff filed supplemental evidence.
February 15, 2023: The BC Court of Appeal affirmed the certification decisions.