The Class Actions Controversy

The Origins and Development of the Ontario Class Proceedings Act


Winner of the 2019 Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History

The Ontario Class Proceedings Act, 1992 represented a major innovation in civil procedure. Suzanne Chiodo’s book is the first to analyze comprehensively the history of this highly significant legislation. It looks at the origins of representative proceedings in equity, the rise of modern-day class actions around the world (particularly in the United States and Quebec), and at the debates about the Ontario legislation. The book presents an in-depth analysis of the political and social influences that shaped this momentous legal change. It explains for the first time how the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee Report in 1990 pulled together so many divergent interests where previous attempts had failed. With the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Act upon us, and the Law Commission of Ontario currently reviewing it, this is a timely contribution to a current debate as well as an instructive historical analysis.


“The publication of this book could not be more timely. . . . In this groundbreaking publication, Suzanne Chiodo provides the first in-depth analysis of the history of the Class Proceedings Act, 1992 and the political and social influences that shaped it. . . . As an experienced class actions lawyer, Ms Chiodo provides important and practical insights that will better inform our understanding of the current law and the reforms that are required. . . . It is a must-read for class actions lawyers and judges, and, indeed, anyone interested in public policy and civil litigation. . . . [A] seminal publication.”

Justice Edward P Belobaba, Superior Court of Justice — Ontario (From the Foreword)

“Chiodo puts all these events in their full social and political context, and the reader can sense the excitement of the legal activists who saw class action design. . . . [She] writes . . . with a terrific ‘you are there’ immediacy. . . . [H]er obvious regard for her audience reflects this, as does the breadth and depth of her research.”

Craig E Jones, QC, barrister and professor of law at Thompson Rivers University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Overview
Chapter 2: Class Actions in England, North America, and Australia
Chapter 3: The Early Campaign for Reform and the OLRC Report
Chapter 4: The Report of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Class Action Reform (1985–1993)
Chapter 5: Comparing the Reports of the Ontario Law Reform Commission and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee
Chapter 6: Class Actions Twenty Five Years On
Table of Cases
About the Author

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