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Ontario’s Divisional Court confirms a two-step approach to common issues on certification

The Ontario Divisional Court’s decision in Kuiper v. Cook (Canada) Inc. offers the latest appellate determination on a debate about what, precisely, the “some basis in fact” standard requires of class action plaintiffs who are seeking to demonstrate that their claims raise “common issues”.

A three-judge panel unanimously determined in Kuiper that despite recent uncertainty in the jurisprudence, a “two-part test still governs the commonality inquiry” on certification. That is, a proposed representative plaintiff must show some basis in fact that both: (1) the proposed common issue actually exists, and (2) the proposed issue can be answered in common across the entire class. In reaching this conclusion, the Divisional Court rejected the contention that only the second requirement was a requisite for certification of a proposed common issue.

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Reprinted by permission of LexisNexis Canada Inc., from the Class Action Defence Quarterly, Copyright 2020.

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