Canada: Plus Difficile De Faire Autoriser Un Groupe Pancanadien À Partir Du Québec?

Last Updated: February 9 2015
Article by Shaun E. Finn

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2018

Dans l'arrêt Amram c. Rogers Communications inc., 2015 QCCA 105, la Cour d'appel du Québec énonce deux principes importants en matière de recours collectifs : a) il n'est pas nécessaire qu'un requérant ait un lien de droit avec chaque partie intimée pour agir à titre de représentant de groupe; et b) un recours collectif multi-juridictionnel ne sera approprié que s'il rencontre les critères de rattachement prévus à l'article 3148 C.c.Q.

I.                    Décision de première instance

En première instance, la requérante, Mme Amram, demande l'autorisation d'un recours collectif contre Rogers Communications inc. et Rogers Communication s.e.n.c. (« Rogers ») et contre Fido Solutions inc. (« Fido »). Selon les allégations de la requérante, Rogers et Fido auraient augmenté de façon unilatérale et illégale les frais des messages photo ou vidéo envoyés du Canada vers une destination internationale incluant les États-Unis. La requérante propose ainsi un groupe pancanadien composé de tous les clients de téléphonie sans fil de Rogers et de Fido

Toutefois, alors que la requérante avait un contrat avec Rogers, elle n'avait conclu aucune entente avec Fido.

Bien que le juge (l'honorable Émery) autorise un recours collectif contre Rogers, il écarte Fido pour le motif qu'il n'existe aucun lien de droit entre cette dernière et la requérante. Il refuse également d'autoriser un groupe national car Rogers n'a pas son siège social au Québec et que la Cour supérieure n'a donc aucune compétence quant aux membres des autres provinces canadiennes.

II.                  Décision de la Cour d'appel du Québec (juges Pelletier, Kasirer et Lévesque)

Dans ses motifs, la Cour d'appel énonce que la question du lien de droit a été tranchée clairement par la Cour Suprême du Canada dans l'arrêt Banque de Montréal c. Marcotte, 2014 CSC 55, dans laquelle les juges Rothstein et Wagner déclarent que « Rien dans la nature du recours collectif ou dans les critères d'autorisation prévus à l'art. 1003 n'exige une cause d'action directe par le représentant contre chaque défendeur ou un lien de droit entre eux ».

La Cour d'appel rejette cependant le pourvoi en ce qui concerne le groupe national proposé par la requérant, se ralliant au raisonnement du juge de première instance (et citant comme autorité un article de notre ancien collègue l'honorable Donald Bisson) :

« [23] Par ailleurs, faute d'un quelconque facteur de rattachement conférant juridiction à la Cour supérieure du Québec, le juge a exprimé l'avis que les règles de droit international privé décrites à l'article 3148 C.c.Q. faisaient obstacle à l'octroi d'une autorisation pour intenter une action collective pour le compte des non-résidents québécois. Selon moi, cette détermination est conforme à l'état actuel du droit sur la question et se trouve donc à l'abri de réformation. »

 III.                L'état du droit en matière de groupes multi-juridictionnels

Il ressort de cet arrêt unanime de la Cour d'appel, qu'un groupe multi-juridictionnel ou pancanadien ne peut être autorisé à partir du Québec que si les critères de l'article 3148 C.c.Q. sont rencontrés. Plus particulièrement, il semblerait qu'il soit maintenant difficilement possible de justifier un tel groupe si l'entreprise ou l'institution intimée n'as pas son siège social au Québec, le lien entre les tribunaux de cette province et les membres non-résidents étant trop ténu.

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