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On July 17, 2019, the LCO released its final report, Class Actions: Objectives, Experiences and Reforms.
The LCO report is the first independent, comprehensive assessment of Ontario’s Class Proceedings Act (CPA) in 27 years. Since that time, class actions have grown dramatically in volume, complexity and impact in Ontario and across Canada.
The LCO’s project had two main objectives:
- Survey the experience with class actions in Ontario; and,
- Provide an independent and practical analysis of class actions from the perspective of their three primary objectives: access to justice, judicial economy, and deterrence.
The LCO report makes 47 recommendations to reform the CPA and related policies. The recommendations address a broad cross-section of issues, including the process for initiating a class action, certification, settlement approval and distribution, counsel fees, costs and reporting on class actions.
The report’s major themes include:
- The CPA needs wide-ranging reforms to better fulfill class actions’ promise to improve access to justice, foster judicial efficiency, and promote behaviour modification;
- The CPA should be amended to reflect contemporary class action issues and practice;
- The speed and cost of class actions should be improved significantly;
- Dormant, copycat, de minimis and extortionate class actions should be weeded out;
- Class members’ interests should be better protected;
- Counsel fees and settlements should be scrutinized and justified more effectively;
- Certification should become more streamlined and decided quickly and efficiently;
- Class action cost rules should be amended;
- The justice system – and the public – needs new tools to ensure class actions are effective, transparent and legitimate.
The LCO project is based on the most extensive research and comprehensive consultations of class actions ever undertaken in Canada.