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Class Actions

Class Actions
Class Actions

The firm provides excellent service on these sophisticated matters. They are practical, business-oriented, strategic and effective.

Dispute Resolution Class Action (Defence): Band 1, Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2023

Class actions remain top of mind for most businesses with operations or interests in Canada. Blakes is at the forefront of class actions defence and has one of the most experienced teams in the country. For nearly four decades since the advent of class actions in Canada, we have defended clients in hundreds of class actions across the country, including precedent-setting cases with industry-wide implications and multijurisdictional cases requiring global coordination. We have had notable class-action success at trial and in dispositive applications and motions. Developing an appropriate strategy to mitigate risk and manage the defence of a class-action claim is vital, and a keen understanding of our clients’ businesses and industry sectors allows us to be pragmatic in the advice we give.

Our Class Actions group is comprised of skilled trial lawyers and advocates that defend clients at all levels of courts and are skilled in strategic planning, mediations, arbitrations and negotiated settlements. A key advantage is the experience of our integrated and coordinated national team of leading litigators who have deep knowledge and experience in each of the major Canadian jurisdictions. This platform ensures that we are able to expertly advise about class actions law and effectively coordinate cases across the country.

Our Class Actions team draws on the strength of other leading practices within our Firm, including Competition & Antitrust; Environmental; Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation; Financial Services; Insurance; Employment & Labour; Cybersecurity; Life Sciences; Product Liability; Technology; Privacy & Data Protection; Anti-Spam; Consumer Protection; Franchising; Intellectual Property; Capital Markets; and Climate Change. We are also supported by our dedicated E-Discovery & Document Management and Blakes inSource teams. Our in-house innovative service delivery and advanced technologies significantly reduce the time and cost associated with large document cases. Additionally, we work with a broad range of independent experts, including doctors, scientists, economists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and others, to assist in the presentation of a case and provide evidence at trial.

We also regularly work with U.S. and international law firms, advisers and experts to ensure effective coordination of claims that are international in scope and extend into Canada. Through our cross-border experience, strong communication and collaboration, we help ensure the best representation for our clients, making Blakes a leading Canadian class-action law firm.

As recognized leaders in this area, our litigators regularly participate in initiatives to improve class-action procedures across Canada, such as the Canadian Bar Association’s National Task Force on Class Actions, the International Association of Defense Counsel Canadian Class Action Task Force and the Ontario Bar Association's Class Actions Law Section Executive. We are often invited to speak about topics related to class actions. We have also assisted a number of industry groups with submissions to the Law Commission of Ontario, the Ontario Attorney General and the Legislative Standing Committee, leading up to the 2020 amendments to the Ontario Class Proceedings Act. Additionally, we have made submissions to the Government of Quebec in answer to its public consultation for an eventual class action reform in Quebec.

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Recent Experience
  • Kobe Steel Ltd. in a national class action alleging misrepresentations that metal products used in automobile manufacturing met certain specifications or standards.

  • Labatt Breweries of Canada LP in defence of claims asserted for approximately C$1.4-billion in anti-trust class action proceedings in the Ontario Supreme Court brought against the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Brewers Retail Inc., Labatt and two other major breweries.

  • Horizons ETFS Management (Canada) Inc. in a securities class action seeking damages for the decrease in value of units of Horizons’ BetaPro S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Daily Inverse ETF (the “ETF”).

  • Visa Canada Corporation, a subsidiary of Visa Inc. which is the world’s largest global payments network, in a multi-billion-dollar class action against Visa, MasterCard and major Canadian financial institutions.

  • BDO Canada LLP in opposing certification of a class action arising from alleged misconduct by the managers of a now-insolvent group of investment funds.

  • CHC Casinos Canada Limited and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in defence of class actions arising out of a cyber-attack against Casino Rama.

  • A number of leading multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies in multi-provincial class proceedings, alleging product liability (negligence in design, manufacture or warnings). Active class actions that Blakes is currently handling relate to pelvic repair systems with transvaginal mesh, hip replacement products, pain medications, antipsychotics, and other medicines and medical devices.

  • St. Jude Medical in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to a defence verdict in Canada. The case went on for 146 days in trial and was awarded “Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year” in 2013 by LMG Life Sciences: The Definitive Guide to the Leading Life Sciences Firms and Attorneys in North America.

  • Celestica Inc. and two of its former officers in the successful defence of a secondary-market securities class action in Ontario. 

  • Coca-Cola Ltd. in successfully opposing certification of class actions concerning alleged misleading advertising and labelling of vitaminwater® in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

  • Amway Canada Corporation in its successful defence of a class action seeking certification of a national class of Amway distributors, based on alleged misrepresentations regarding the level of income they could achieve under the Amway plan and that it operated a pyramid scheme, in violation of the Competition Act. 

  • Nestlé Canada Inc. in successfully having a purported class action concerning the recycling of bottles dismissed at summary trial. Blakes further was successful on appeal with leave to appeal being refused by the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • A multinational manufacturer of consumer products in successfully opposing certification of class actions in Quebec and British Columbia, alleging false and misleading representations regarding children's cough and cold medicines. 

  • CIBC Trust Corporation in successfully opposing certification of a class action brought by residents of the Piikani Nation, alleging breach of trust arising from the administration of the C$65-million trust for the Piikani Nation. 

  • Union Tank Car Company, a lessor of rail tank cars, in the defence and settlement of a proposed class action brought against more than 40 defendants following the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic in June 2013 that killed 47 people and destroyed most of downtown Lac-Mégantic.

  • Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Canada in class actions that claim Microsoft breached various competition laws in the sale of software products throughout Canada.

  • Multiple defendants in employment terminations and retiree benefits class actions.

Awards & Recognition

Members of our Class Actions group are recognized as leaders in the most recent editions of the following publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 1 in Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence), Litigation: General Commercial, Competition/Antitrust, Litigation: Products Liability and White Collar Crime and Government Investigations

  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 1 in Dispute Resolution, Class Action (Defence) and Competition/Antitrust

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Recognizes Blakes as a leading firm with several offices and individuals ranked in the most frequently recommended category for Class Actions

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys – Class Actions, Competition Litigation, Environmental, Product Liability, Securities and White Collar Crime

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Litigation: Class Actions, Competition Law, Litigation: Product Liability, Litigation: Securities, and Pensions & Employee Benefits

  • The Legal 500 Canada – Dispute Resolution, Competition and Antitrust 

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

  • Who’s Who Legal: Global – Leader in Class Actions, Product Liability and Life Sciences

  • Best Lawyers in Canada – Class Action Litigation

Members of our group have also received the following awards:

  • Benchmark Canada Awards – Class Action Litigator of the Year and Product Liability Litigator of the Year for several years in a row.