The recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision in Chatfiled v Saskatchewan Telecommunications
has emphasized the need for corporations entering into consumer
contracts to be mindful of provincial legislation affecting
the enforceability of arbitration clauses.
In Chatfield, the Court followed the Supreme Court of
Canada's reasoning in Seidal v TELUS Communications Inc
(covered here), which held that some claims of class
members bound by an arbitration clause were excluded from a class
action. Despite following the Supreme Court of Canada's
reasoning, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal arrived at a different
result. In TELUS, the arbitration clause could not
prohibit a class action relating to particular provisions of
British Colombia'sBusiness Practices and Consumer Protection
Act, which provisions were interpreted as preventing
consumers from waiving their rights to legal remedies including
class actions. In Saskatchewan, where no such consumer protection
legislation exists, the Court upheld the arbitration clause.
The regime differences in British Colombia and Saskatchewan are
reflective of the broader Canadian landscape surrounding whether
arbitration clauses may prohibit class actions.
Just prior to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Dell Computer Corp v Union des
consommateurs, which allowed an arbitration clause to
be enforced, Quebec amended its Consumer Protection Act to better protect
consumers in this regard. Under section 11.1 of this
Act, arbitration clauses that restrict a consumer's right to
bring or participate in a class action, are prohibited.
Alberta straddles the line between the broad consumer
protections afforded in Ontario, and the lack of protections seen
in Saskatchewan. In Alberta, the Fair Trading Actprevents consumers from suing
in court to enforce their rights under the Fair Trading
Act only if they have contracted into an arbitration clause
and the arbitration agreement has been approved by
the Minister responsible for the Act.
Each province has its own unique legislative regime affecting
the interaction between an arbitration clause and a class
action. Knowledge of the different statutory regimes is
important to deal with any disputes that may arise regarding the a
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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