What Is A Class Proceeding?

The Class Proceedings Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 6, applies in Ontario to proposed and certified Class Proceedings (also known as Class Actions). Please click here to review a copy of the Act.

A class proceeding is a lawsuit commenced by one persons on his or her own behalf and on behalf of others who have suffered the same loss or damage, arising from the same incident or cause, brought about by the actions of the same person, company or group.

A class proceeding provides an opportunity for many people to bring an action in the courts, without each being responsible for their own action.

A Judge must ultimately determine if the lawsuit can proceed as a Class Proceeding and who can properly be a member of the class.

A person who fits within a specific definition of the class, which must be approved by the Court, is automatically included in the class proceeding unless he or she follows the instructions the court gives on how to be excluded.

If the Court approves of the lawsuit proceeding as a Class Proceeding, it will appoint one or more persons to act as the representative for the other members of the class. The representative plaintiff will instruct counsel on behalf of the class members.

Class Counsel often agree to prosecute a class proceeding on the basis that they will be paid for their services only if the class action is successful. Individual class members are not personally liable to pay counsel for prosecuting the common issues in the class proceeding nor are they liable to pay any costs if the Judge does not permit the lawsuit to proceed as a class proceeding or if the class proceeding is not successful.