Canada: G20 Class Action Certification Motion Dismissed

Last Updated: July 30 2013
Article by Lisa C. Munro

Co-authored by Andrew Sprung, Student-at-law

In Good v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 ONSC 3026, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a motion to certify a proposed class action brought on behalf of a class of persons defined as individuals who were arrested or detained by police in Toronto during the G20 Summit in June, 2010.  The plaintiff alleged the following causes of action: "systemic" negligence; false imprisonment; assault and battery; conversion and trespass to chattels; abuse of public office; and various Charter breaches as against the governmental bodies responsible for four police forces (Toronto Police Services, RCMP, OPP, and Peel Regional Police), which acted as an Integrated Security Unit and operated under a unified command.  Ultimately, Justice Horkins found that many of the pleaded causes of action were flawed and that there was a fundamental lack of commonality of issues which resulted in an unwieldy and unmanageable group of claims.  

Justice Horkins's analysis of the five-part test for certification in s. 5(1) of the Class Proceedings Act was as follows.

(a)  whether the pleading discloses a cause of action:  The essence of the claims against the police was that, in their "planning, preparing, directing and overseeing the G20 security operations", they "deliberately intended to violate the fundamental rights of class members" or, alternatively, that in adopting a specific model of policing, they "intentionally or negligently failed to put adequate measures in place to ensure that these rights would be protected".

She dismissed the systemic negligence claim on the basis that the plaintiff could not demonstrate that the police owed a private law duty of care to the class members.  The courts have recognized such duties of care only in certain circumstances: the duty to take reasonable care for the safety of a person in police custody; the duty to a particular subject under investigation; and the duty to specific individuals or groups that are at particular risk of becoming victims of crime.  However, none of these duties was supported on the facts as pleaded.  Further, no new duty of care should be recognized under the test set out in Anns v Merton London Borough Council, [1978] A.C. 728 H.L., since it is clear that the legislative regime under which each of the police services operates provides that police owe their duties to the public at large and not to individual members of the public.   

In addition, Justice Horkins found that it was plain and obvious, on the face of the pleading, that the claim of abuse of public office would fail and must be struck.  She found that the plaintiff had properly pleaded the torts of assault and battery and conversion and trespass to chattels and the infringement of Charter rights – but only as against Toronto Police Services, which did not dispute that false imprisonment had been properly pleaded against it.

Justice Horkins struck the action as against all the defendants, except the Toronto Police Services, on the ground that there is no basis in law to claim that the other police services are responsible for policing in the City of Toronto.  While the Integrated Security Unit consisted of representatives from all four police forces, it was not a legal entity with any statutory authority.

(b)  whether there is an identifiable class:  The proposed class included all individuals in the City of Toronto who were arrested and/or subjected to mass detention by police and who were subsequently released without charge and/or imprisoned.  These class members were to be further divided among eight proposed subclasses: six based on police action in different locations; a residual subclass for those arrested outside of those six locations; and an "overlapping subclass" comprised of all those who were held at the Eastern Avenue Detention Centre.  It was Justice Horkins's view that there were a number of difficulties with the proposed class and subclass definitions – they were unclear, arbitrary, and overly broad.  She found that the plaintiff "seeks to certify as one class, eight distinct groups of claims with no common link", which "presents significant hurdles to the manageability of this proceeding".

(c)  whether the claims raise common issues:  Justice Horkins found that the majority of the proposed common issues were problematic for a variety of reasons - either because there was no acceptable subclass to which they applied or they would not advance the litigation for the group.  Only the issues relating to the subclass of individuals held at the Eastern Avenue Detention Centre had sufficient evidence of commonality to meet the common issues criterion; those common issues focussed on the common set of circumstances and conditions in the detention centre and not the variety of circumstances that led to the detention of each individual.

(d)  whether a class action is the preferable procedure:  In addition, Justice Horkins found that a class action would not be a fair, efficient, and manageable method of advancing the claim because the "impermissible use of eight subclasses creates an unwieldy group of claims".  She found that there was no single class that shares substantial common issues.  Rather, the common issues were "subsumed by a plethora of individual issues" and the "result would be unmanageable litigation punctuated by numerous individual inquiries, and full trials for each class member".  Such a class action would impede, rather than further, the goal of judicial economy.  Further, a class action was not necessary for behaviour modification, since there were a number of other proceedings in which the conduct of police officers during the G20 Summit was already being reviewed, including Complaints to the Office of the Independent Review Director, independent investigations by the Special Investigations Unit and others, criminal charges and disciplinary action against some police officers, reviews and reports by numerous government and regulatory bodies, and numerous court proceedings.

(e)  whether there was an adequate representative plaintiff with a workable litigation plan:  This criterion also failed, since the representative plaintiff did not personally advance many of the proposed claims; she was never arrested or detained.  Finally, Justice Horkins held that the deficiencies in the class action as a whole meant that no workable litigation plan could possibly be achieved.

The content contained in these blogs is intended to provide information about the subject matter and is not intended as legal advice. If you would like further information or advice on any of the subjects discussed in a blog post, please contact the author.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Lisa C. Munro
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions