On February 20, 2014, the new Québec Code of Civil
Procedure ("C.C.P.") was adopted.
This new C.C.P. will come into force on January 1, 2016 and will
introduce important changes to the previous procedural rules
governing class actions in Québec. Essentially, three major
changes will take place.
First, it will no longer be the case that only a natural person,
a legal person, partnership or association of 50 or less employees
can become a member of a class (article 571 C.C.P.). Since
Québec is an opt-out regime, institutions and public
corporation will automatically be class members if indeed these
fall under the definition of the class that is authorised by a
Superior Court. Therefore, if these wish to institute separate
proceedings, they will have to opt-out of the class (article 580
C.C.P.). The Legislator also removed the reference to the fact that
a legal person, partnership or association who wants to be a member
of a class has to stay at arm's length with the representative
of the class (article 571 C.C.P.).
Secondly, a legal person established for a private interest, a
partnership and an association not endowed with juridical
personality, may now be the representative or petitioner of a
class, despite not being per se a member of the class.
This will be possible if the following criteria are met:
1) at least one administrator, partner or member of the
association is a member of the class on behalf of which the entity
is seeking to institute a class action; and,
2) the interest of the administrator, partner or member of the
association is related to the purposes for which the entity was
constituted (article 571 C.C.P.).
Consequently, entities like Option Consommateurs can
now institute class actions and be the representative of same
without having to name a natural person as a representative.
Finally, it will now be possible to appeal a judgment on
authorization, not only when the authorization is denied, but also
when it is granted. However, permission from the Court of Appeal
will be required when authorization is granted (article 578
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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