Jean Saint-Onge

Ad. E.

Senior Counsel

Montréal
JSaintOnge@blg.com
514.954.2551

A highly accomplished class actions lawyer, Jean Saint-Onge has extensive experience as defence counsel representing private and public sector clients, including multinational companies, particularly in multi-jurisdictional and cross-border class actions. He is known for his ability to find practical and sustainable solutions in cases that are frequently complex and involve several defendants.

Jean's expertise extends across a number of fields of law, including:

  • competition
  • product liability
  • environmental law
  • consumer law

He draws on his experience to further enhance the strategic direction and management of class actions in which the firm is involved. He has acted in numerous matters and has successfully argued several precedent-setting cases. He is consistently recognized as one of Canada's leading class action lawyers in publications such as Lexpert, Chambers Canada, Chambers Global and Benchmark.

Jean is a certified mediator of the Barreau du Québec, and a member of the Institut de médiation et d'arbitrage du Québec (IMAQ).

Since 2004, Jean has organized and hosted the National Conference of the Barreau du Québec on Class Actions, the largest continuing professional training activity in the field in Canada. He has also been Chair of the Class Actions Committee of the Barreau du Québec since 2006.

Jean is the recipient of the Prix de la justice du Québec 2007, Québec's highest honorary distinction in the field of law.

Strongly involved in the community, Jean was president and director of the Marie-Vincent Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping children and teenagers victims of sexual violence (1987-2012). He was also a director and treasurer, from 2010 to 2015, of the Fondation Lafontaine-Cormier – Preservation of Québec’s legal and judicial heritage.

Experience

  • Represented numerous life insurance companies in participating life insurance and universal life premium offset class action litigation.
  • Represented Cash Store in a multijusridictional securities class action – Mariane Dessis vs. Cash Store Financial Services Inc. et al. (2016).
  • Represented the AEPC in a class action related to laundry expenses in private and public nursing homes (CHSLD) – Conseil pour la protection des malades (CPM) c. CHSLD Manoir Trinité et al. (2015).
  • Represented St-Hubert Airport (DASH-L) in a noise nuisance class action – Comité anti-pollution des avions – Longueuil (CAP-L) c. Max Aviation Inc. (2015).
  • Represented Intact Insurance in a dispute dealing with compensation for additional living expenses connected with the 1998 ice storm – Lavergne c. Union canadienne et al. (2014).
  • Represented Toyota in the class proceeding related to the sudden acceleration of certain automobiles – Schachter c. Toyota Canada (2013).
  • Represented Research in Motion Ltd. in a service interruption class action – Blackette c. Research in Motion Ltd. (2013).
  • Represented NUMMI and Toyota Canada Inc in the class action litigation related to the Anti-Lock braking system (ABS) of certain hybrid vehicles (2012).
  • Acted as defense counsel at the authorization stage and trial on the common issues in the trichloroethylene (TCE) water contamination class action in Shannon, Québec (2012).
  • Represented Pfizer in litigation involving the prescription drug Neurontin – Option Consommateurs v. Pfizer Canada inc.(2011).
  • Represented Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in a class action relating to certain foods contaminated by listeriosis – Melvin c. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (2009).
  • Represented Menu Foods in the pet food contamination class action – Sirois c. Menu Foods Income Fund (2008).
  • Represented Toyota in a competition law class action concerning the "Access Toyota" program – Harmegnie c. Toyota Canada (2008).
  • Represented Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) in an airport noise nuisance class action – Citoyens pour une qualité de vie/Citizens for a Quality of Life c. Aéroports de Montréal (2007).
  • Represented James McClaren Inc. and other parties in a class action relating to a problem of soil erosion along the banks of the Le Lièvre River – L'Association des résidents riverains de La Lièvre inc. c. Procureur général du Québec (2006).
  • Deshaies c. FCA (2019) – Represented FCA in a product liability class action related to the SCR system of certain vehicles.

Beyond Our Walls

Professional Involvement

  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (LCA)
  • President, Barreau du Québec's Selection Committee of Advocatus Emeritus (Ad. E.) (2008-2014)
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Class Actions Defence Quarterly, Editorial Committee
  • Member, Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Member, Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario (AJEFO)
  • Member, Canadian Defence Lawyers
  • Chair, Barreau du Québec's Class Actions Committee
  • Member, The Advocates' Society

Community Involvement

  • President and board member, Marie-Vincent Foundation (1987-2012) - Support and services for children victims of sexual abuse)
  • Director and Treasurer, Board of Directors, Fondation Lafontaine-Cormier (2010-2015) – Preservation of Québec's legal and judicial heritage

Awards & Recognitions

  • Recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2006) of Best Lawyers in Canada® (Class Action Litigation). Also recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2017) (Bet-the-Company Litigation). Also recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2017) (Corporate and Commercial Litigation). Also recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2017) (Product Liability Law)
  • Recognized in the 2021 edition (and since 2016) of Chambers Canada® Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Dispute Resolution: Class Action [Defence]).
  • Recognized in the 2019 and 2018 editions of Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Class Actions, Litigation - Product Liability). Also recognized in the 2017 and 2016 editions (Dispute Resolution).
  • Recognized as a leading litigator in the 2018 edition of the Lexpert®/Report on Business Litigation Special Edition.
  • Recognized as the "Montréal Class Actions Lawyer of the Year" in the 2013 and 2018 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada®.
  • Recognized in the 2017 edition (and since 2013) of Chambers Global The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Dispute Resolution: Class Actions [Defence]).
  • Recognized in the 2017 edition of Benchmark Canada The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys as a "Local Litigation Star: Québec" and a "Litigation Star: Arbitration, Class Action, Competition, General Commercial, Product Liability".
  • Recipient of the Prix Lambertois – Humanitarian Commitment, the Ville de Saint-Lambert, 2008.
  • Recipient of the Prix de la justice du Québec, 2007.
  • Recipient of the Mérite Award, the Barreau du Québec, 2007.
  • Named Advocatus Emeritus (Ad. E.) of the Barreau du Québec, 2007.
  • Recipient, Pro Bono Award, The Canadian Bar Association (Québec Division), 2003.

Bar Admission & Education

  • Québec, 1981
  • LLB, Université de Montréal, 1980