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atively recent. British Columbia enacted the Class Proceedings Act in 1995.
In 1996 the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (“ULCC”) adopted the Uniform
Class Proceedings Act and recommended it to the provinces and territories
for enactment. The Uniform Act was based on the British Columbia Act
and the Ontario statute of 1992. Class proceedings legislation also exists in
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Expanding the Use of Multi-Jurisdictional Class Proceedings in British Columbia
In the spring 2018 legislative session, the British Columbia Class Proceedings
Act was amended to expand the use of multi-jurisdictional class proceedings
in British Columbia. The amendments were based on the Uniform Law
Conference of Canada’s Uniform Class Proceedings Amendment Act of 2006
and came into force on October 1, 2018.
Multi-jurisdictional class proceedings are class proceedings that involve
a class with members who are both resident and non-resident in the certifying
jurisdiction. Given the nature of class proceedings, many class proceedings
will be multi-jurisdictional in nature.
British Columbia had a mechanism for resolving multi-jurisdictional
class proceedings even prior to the reforms that passed last spring, but it
was different. Prior to the amendments coming into force, residents of
British Columbia were automatically included in a class proceeding unless
they took steps to opt out, while non-residents were not included unless
they took steps to opt in. Under the new reforms, all members of a class in
class litigation that starts in this province, whether or not class members are
resident in British Columbia, will be included in the proceeding unless they
choose to opt out.
Consistent with the Uniform Class Proceedings Amendment Act, the
amendments also clarify the processes pertaining to multi-jurisdictional
class proceedings. For example, the amendments provide for matters such
as ensuring that appropriate notice is given to the representative plaintiff of
any class proceeding in Canada with the same or similar subject matter;
allowing the representative plaintiff in a multi-jurisdictional class proceeding
that is proceeding, or is proposed, in another jurisdiction to make submissions
at the certification hearing in British Columbia; and setting out
considerations for the court in determining whether to certify a multi-
jurisdictional class proceeding.
Another important aspect of the amendments are the transition provisions,
which clarify how the new “opt-out” approach for non-residents
applies with respect to class proceedings that were commenced before the
legislative changes came into force. For proceedings that were already cer-