November 30, 2011
Class actions first came to Canada in 1978, when Quebec introduced class action legislation. Ontario enacted its own class action law—the Class Proceedings Act—in 1992. Since then, all of the provinces, except for Prince Edward Island, have enacted their own Class Proceedings Acts. But unlike the U.S., and very recently Mexico, Canada doesn't have a national class action law.
"The Class Proceedings Act, which is a procedural statute that doesn't convey any substantive rights, is a matter of provincial jurisdiction," says Crawford Smith.
Crawford and other experts say the Canadian government isn't likely to develop a federal class action law because the Canadian constitution dictates that provincial courts, not federal courts, have jurisdiction over almost all civil litigation. But that constitutional rule has left provinces with overlapping class action proceedings and disagreeing judges.
"There's a big issue about whether the courts in one jurisdiction should respect the orders of another jurisdiction with respect to class composition," Crawford says.
Read the full article here.