One of the challenges faced by defendants in class actions is
when the same claim is brought multiple times in different
provinces. This practice is common for class counsel looking to
toll limitation periods or to achieve an advantage by pursing the
action in a plaintiff-friendly province.
One interesting case which is making its way through courts
across Canada involves allegations that a charge by cellular and
wireless telecommunication services providers of "system
access fees" was unlawful (the "System Access
Fees Claim"). Filed in 2004, the same System Access
Fees Claim, brought by the same law firm, on behalf of the same
plaintiffs against the same defendants was filed in 9 of the 10
provinces leaving out only Prince Edward Island (which does not
have class action legislation).
Over the next decade, class counsel then pursued the action in
Saskatchewan (known as the Frey Action),1 seeking a
national opt-in class and proceeded to park, to varying degrees,
the claims filed in the other provinces for the better part of a
decade. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has equated this with
"planting legal cherry trees across the
Only in recent years have the defendants been able to achieve
finality in some, but not all, of the provinces. Courts in
Alberta,3 British Columbia,4
Manitoba,5 Nova Scotia,6 and
Saskatchewan7 have now addressed whether bringing
"carbon copy claims" in their respective provinces
constitute an abuse of process and ought to be struck or
At the superior courts in Nova Scotia8 and Alberta,
9 judges have held there was no abuse of process to
bring multiple similar or the same claims in different
jurisdictions. The superior courts of British
Columbia,10 Manitoba,11 and
Saskatchewan12 found it was an abuse of process to do
so. Two appeals are pending in Manitoba and Alberta, and the Nova
Scotia Court of Appeal has reversed the decision below denying a
stay, and instead granted an unconditional stay in relation to the
System Access Fees Claim in that province.13
We will continue to keep you informed as the law relating to
multijurisdictional proceedings evolves. Given the number of
appellate courts involved, it may be that the Supreme Court of
Canada will be called upon to revisit its comments on national
class actions and the problems they present.14
 Frey v BCE Inc, 2008 SKQB 70 aff'd 2011 SKCA 136
leave to appeal to SCC denied  SCCA No 42.
 Gillis v BCE Inc, 2015 NSCA 32 ("Gillis
 Turner v Bell Mobility Inc, 2015 ABQB 169
("Turner"); see also Pappas v BCE Inc, 2014 ABQB
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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