With the coming into force of the new Code of Civil Procedure on
January 1, 2016, some interesting changes have been made to the
rules governing class actions in Quebec.
Nearly 40 years after the introduction of the class action into
Quebec law and more than 10 years after the last major revision of
the rules pertaining to it, the début of the NewCode of Civil Procedure (the "NCCP") is bringing
about some interesting changes that will have an impact on current
practices in this area of the law.
While the essence of the current class action regime, the
authorization test and the procedural rules pertaining to such
disputes remain unchanged, the rights of the parties take on some
new aspects and some new concepts are introduced with the NCCP. The
new class action provisions are set out in articles 571 to 604 of
Some of the changes tend to harmonize Quebec's class action
regime with that of the other Canadian provinces and will bring
Quebec closer in line with certain common law jurisdictions in that
The major changes and innovations in the class actions area
brought in by the NCCP are summarized below. They are listed as
they appear numerically in the new Code, and not by order of
Class Membership for Legal
Persons, Partnerships and Associations Employing More Than 50
Employees (Article 571 NCCP / Article 999 current
Currently, legal persons, partnerships and associations that had
more than 50 people in their employ during the 12 months prior to
the filing of a motion for authorization to institute a class
action cannot be class members.
The NCCP does away with this exclusion, such that any legal person,
partnership or association will now be able to a member of the
class action group, and consequently eligible to act as
representative of the group.
The possibility for large corporations to be members of a class
action could give rise to alternative remedies not geared towards
awarding monetary damages to individuals, and could lead to
increases in quantum.
Setting up a Website
(Article 576 NCCP / Articles 1004 and 1005 current CCP)
In the judgment authorizing a class action, the Court may now order
that a website be set up to make information on the class action
available to members. The NCCP does not specify who shall bear the
costs associated with the website.
Multijurisdictional Class Actions (Article 576 NCCP)
The NCCP affords greater protection to the rights and interests of
Quebec residents in connection with multijurisdictional class
Courts can no longer suspend an action instituted in Quebec on the
grounds that the Quebec class members are covered by an action
pending outside the province. The Court is now required to have
regard for the protection of the rights and interests of Quebec
residents when such a motion for suspension is filed. The Court may
also authorize another representative to carry on the proposed
class action involving the same subject matter if it is convinced
that the class members' interests would thus be better
The interaction between these new provisions and those of the
Civil Code of Quebec on international lis pendens
and the recognition of foreign judgments will be of great
Respondent's Right of
Appeal of a Judgment Authorizing a Class Action (Article
578 NCCP / Article 1010 current CCP)
This is probably the most significant development for class actions
under the NCCP. The respondent may now appeal the judgment
authorizing the class action, with leave from a judge of the Court
The test for granting leave is not defined in the NCCP, so the
Court of Appeal's initial rulings on this point are going to be
A judgment denying authorization can still be appealed as of right
by the Petitioner.
Members (Article 579 NCCP / Articles 1006 and 1046 current
The NCCP provides for the possibility of notifying members
individually of the authorization of the class action. This is a
much more direct and personalized mode of notice, provided of
course that the class members have been identified.
Disbursements of the
Representative (Articles 593 and 598 NCCP)
Hitherto not allowed by the courts, the disbursements of the
representative plaintiff in connection with the class action may
now be recovered through an indemnity awarded by the Court, in
addition to court costs and lawyers fees. All of the foregoing are
payable out of the amount recovered at the outcome of the class
Generally speaking, the case law pertaining to the current class
actions regime should continue to apply, mutatis mutandis, under
The new provisions, however, promise to yield interesting
jurisprudential developments, which are sure to give litigants and
practitioners new ways and means to navigate the waters of Quebec
class actions law.
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 Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This paper discusses contract law issues including decisions of relevance to commercial lawyers and business leaders giving a snapshot of particular principles of interest that arose in case law over the past 12 months.
In the case Cantin c. Ameublements Tanguay inc., 2016 QCCS 4546 (the "Cantin Case"), the Superior Court of Quebec granted authorization of a proposed class action by consumers against various respondents...
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).