Canada: Impact Of The New Code Of Civil Procedure On Class Actions, Part #1: Protection Of The Rights And Interests Of Québec Class Members In Multi-Jurisdictional Class Actions

On February 20, 2014, the Québec legislator amended the rules applicable to class action proceedings as part of its broader reform of the Code of Civil Procedure ("CCP"). The new CCP is to come into force on January 1, 2016. This series will examine the changes, or lack thereof, brought about by the new CCP to the class action landscape in Québec, starting with the new article 577 CCP which provides:

577. The court cannot refuse to authorize a class action on the sole grounds that the class members are part of a multi-jurisdictional class action already under way outside Québec.

If asked to decline jurisdiction, to stay an application for authorization to institute a class action or to stay a class action, the court is required to have regard for the protection of the rights and interests of Québec residents.

If a multi-jurisdictional class action has been instituted outside Québec, the court, in order to protect the rights and interests of class members resident in Québec, may disallow the discontinuance of an application for authorization, or authorize another plaintiff or representative plaintiff to institute a class action involving the same subject matter and the same class if it is convinced that the class members' interest would thus be better served.

The interpretation of this article, unprecedented in the country, should be followed closely by class action practitioners as it could lead to a multiplicity of proceedings or the exclusion of Québec class members from national and international class action proceedings instituted outside of Québec.

In his comments, the Minister of Justice states that this article is new law and establishes rules meant to protect the interest of Québec class members when a multi-jurisdictional class action exists outside of Québec. The Québec Bar opposed the adoption of article 577 CCP stating that it would only "codify powers that courts already possess" and expressed the concern that the article would be the "source of significant debate", while bringing forward constitutional and jurisdictional challenges.

What is new about article 577 CCQ?

First paragraph

Article 1003 of the current CCP provides that a court must authorize the bringing of a class action if the criteria listed therein are met. These criteria do not include the existence of a multi-jurisdictional class action pending outside of Québec. As such, the first paragraph of 577 CCP does not add anything to the authorization criteria as they exist today.

Second paragraph

Multi-jurisdictional class actions under way outside of Québec are taken into consideration in the three following circumstances:

  • Forum non conveniens: When a party asks the Court to decline jurisdiction because the authorities of another state are in a better position to decide the case (article 3135 Civil Code of Québec ("CCQ"));
  • Litispendence: When a party asks the Court to stay the proceedings due to the existence of parallel proceedings in another jurisdiction (article 3137 CCQ); or
  • Res judicata: When a party seeks the dismissal of the action because it has already been decided by another Court of competent jurisdiction, often accompanied by a request to enforce the foreign judgment (articles 2848 and 3155 CCQ).

Paragraph 2 of article 577 CCP does not change anything regarding res judicata. It purports, however, to add a new criteria relating to the protection of the rights and interests of Québec residents to the discretionary exercise of forum non convenience and litispendence.

The factors considered in the application of forum non conveniens, recently reiterated by the Supreme Court in Breeden v. Black, must be considered globally, as none of them are individually determinative. The forum non conveniens factors already include considerations related to the protection of the rights and interests of Québec residents, including the following:

  • the place of residence of the parties and witnesses;
  • the location of evidence;
  • the applicable law;
  • the advantage conferred on the plaintiff by the forum of his choice; and
  • the interest of the two parties.

With respect to litispendence, Québec judges have been even more explicit in holding that their discretion should be exercised with a view to protecting the interests of Québec class members. However, this is just one of the many factors that orient judges' discretion. In fact, the Consolidated Uniform Class Proceedings Act, of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, which the Minister of Justice relied on, provides for several other factors, like the interests of all the parties and the ends of justice, including the risk of irreconcilable judgments and judicial economy.

Third paragraph

Article 1016 of the current CCP provides that the discontinuance or amendment of a class action is subject to the permission of the court on the "conditions it deems necessary". Thus, the courts already have an oversight role in allowing the discontinuance and will only allow it if they deem the interests of the Québec members are protected. The same holds true in application of article 1024 of the current CCP, where a representative can be substituted if it is no longer in a position, in the opinion of the court, to represent the members adequately.

Given the fact that Courts were already taking into consideration the protection of the rights and interests of Québec residents when faced with multi-jurisdictional class actions instituted outside of Québec, it will be interesting to see how this new article will be interpreted by the Courts. Will it be interpreted as giving precedence to the interest of Québec class members over other, well established, criteria? If so, this could be a step back in terms of private international law, leading to duplication of proceedings and contradictory judgments, which the rules of jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are meant to avoid.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
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