Supreme Court of Canada Rules that Commonality Requirement in Class Actions is Broader and more Flexible in Quebec

January 24, 2014

On January 16, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) rendered its decision in Vivendi Canada Inc. v. Dell’Aniello, concluding that the commonality requirement in Quebec civil procedure for the authorization of a class action is broader and more flexible than it is in the common law provinces. In a unanimous decision, the SCC ruled that it is not necessary that the common questions lead to common answers to meet this criterion. All that is needed is the existence of an identical, related or similar question of law that, once answered, will resolve a portion of the litigation. The SCC also confirmed that once the four criteria for the authorization of a class action in Quebec are met, the authorization must be granted. The principle of proportionality must be considered when assessing the four authorization criteria and does not constitute a separate authorization criterion.

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By Sylvie Rodrigue, Geneviève Bertrand and Marie-Ève Gingras