LAW: Looking Forward: Canadian Class Actions In 2018 – Class Actions



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Looking Forward: Canadian Class Actions in
2018

The past year saw another flurry of Canadian class action
activity. Courts across the country rendered significant decisions
that should give companies doing business in Canada cause for both
concern and optimism. While the risk of facing a Canadian class
action expands, new tools are emerging to deal with claims and
limit exposure. The need for comprehensive yet practical strategies
to avoid and defend complex Canadian class actions has never been
greater.

Bennett Jones continues to be involved in some of the most
significant class actions in Canada. Our practice group has earned
its reputation as a nationwide leader. By coupling unsurpassed
depth and breadth of experience with our unparalleled knowledge of
procedure, we remain committed to helping clients defend all stages
of high-stakes class proceedings and achieving results aligned with
business priorities.

In the pages of this guide, we look forward to the Canadian
class action landscape in 2018. We address heightened risk factors
for companies that do business in Canada and abroad. Companies are
more likely than ever to face global class actions brought in
Canadian jurisdictions by foreign claimants.

Plaintiffs are increasingly seeking aggregate damages and
finding receptive audiences in Canadian courts. Technological and
political forces are fueling a rise of class actions in hot button
areas of cybersecurity, workers’ rights and the environment. We
anticipate these trends will continue into next year.

Still, there is good news for companies doing business in
Canada. Defendants are using existing tools more effectively and
pushing to develop new tools capable of blunting even aggressive
plaintiffs’ counsel tactics. While third parties may still fund
class claims, enhanced judicial scrutiny of funding arrangements
appears likely to provide meaningful limitations on those
arrangements. Increasing resort to mass tort claims create
opportunities to avoid certain drawbacks of class actions. So too
do direct-to-consumer settlements, which provide companies with the
chance to rebuild (and even strengthen) consumer relations while
avoiding or minimizing protracted class proceedings.

One thing is clear: creativity will be key as class actions
march forward in 2018 and beyond.

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.

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