Class Action Reform in Ontario

Trillium flower in a forest

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) released its long-awaited report, Class Actions: Objectives, Experiences and Reforms last Wednesday.

The report is the work of the LCO’s Class Actions Project which was launched back in October 2017, with a mandate “to research class actions in Ontario and to conduct an independent, evidence-based, and practical analysis of class actions from the perspective of their three objectives: access to justice, judicial economy, and deterrence”.  The project represents the first comprehensive review of the province’s Class Proceedings Act, 1992.

While the act itself has not changed in the past 27 years, there has been a significant increase in the volume and complexity of class actions. In recent years approximately 100 new class actions are filed annually in Ontario according to the LCO.

A 2018 consultation paper identified the general areas of inquiry for the project and sought public input. The LCO received 32 written submissions from individual and organizational stakeholders.  

The final report makes 47 recommendations to update the Class Proceedings Act, increase scrutiny of counsel fees and settlements, streamline the certification process and tackle concerns over rising costs orders, copycat class actions and carriage disputes between law firms.  A full list of the recommendations appears in Appendix A of the report.

Further reading on the LCO’s recommendations:

For guidance in researching class action law, see the Great Library’s Research Guide – Getting Started: Class Actions.