Stikeman Elliott
Litigation and Advocacy
Class Actions
Stikeman Elliott is a leader in class action defence litigation, with practitioners rated by the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as both "consistently recommended" and "repeatedly recommended" in this practice area. The firm has a breadth of experience in defending class actions commenced under many different legal causes of action and for clients who fall within many types of industries. The firm's national presence allows it to respond strategically and comprehensively to cases that are commenced in more than one Canadian jurisdiction. Because many Canadian class actions mirror actions commenced in other jurisdictions outside of Canada, Stikeman Elliott's class action lawyers emphasize a cooperative approach in dealing with our legal colleagues in other jurisdictions, creating integrated legal strategies for the benefit of clients. The Group has established a blog on legal policy developments that can be accessed online at

Class Actions Experience

Stikeman Elliott's class action litigators have the knowledge and experience to identify at the earliest stages the key strategic issues and approaches and to navigate all aspects of defending a class action, from preliminary motions, to the defense of certification, and beyond. The firm's class action counsel have argued some of the leading cases in this developing area of law and have a strong record of success in preliminary challenges and opposing certification of class proceedings. They are also experts in negotiating and implementing complex and creative settlements, including securing court approvals as required across the country. Throughout, our approach is to recognize and frame the business considerations and to achieve the client's objectives in minimizing present exposure and risk of future claims.

Business Law Expertise

Stikeman Elliott's class action counsel can draw on the business expertise of a firm that consistently ranks at the top of Canadian and international surveys. Stikeman Elliott's well-recognized expertise in the substantive areas of the law which often form the basis for class action claims ensures an integrated approach to defending these proceedings. The combination of this substantive legal expertise with comprehensive knowledge of the procedural and strategic aspects of the class action legislation in multiple jurisdictions serves our clients well. The firm's class action lawyers are well-equipped to address claims arising in fields such as securities law, competition law, insurance, product liability, mutual funds, employee pension and benefits, banking, and other commercial matters.

Securities Litigation

With the substantial increase in activity as a result of Ontario's Class Proceedings Act, 1992 and legislative initiatives such as Bill 198, exposure to class actions is a new reality for alleged breaches under the OSA, including allegations of misrepresentations and material non-disclosure. We are able to provide our clients with professional advice as to how they can best avoid civil liability and aggressively represent their interests in all aspects of securities and shareholders litigation on a timely and cost effective basis.

To help our clients adjust to the legal ramifications of Bill 198, the securities litigation practice of Stikeman Elliott published Secondary Market Liability in Canada. This publication has become a standard reference for directors, officers and corporate counsel since the first edition was published in 2005. It sets out key corporate governance requirements for directors and officers in plain language and provides users with tools to review and audit compliance in their business. Also included is the legislation and useful charts that will help users navigate the complexities of secondary market securities legislation in a climate where shareholder class actions and regulatory investigations represent an increasingly significant risk.

Product Liability

The product liability practice members represent a Canadian and international client base that includes manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, end users and their respective insurers. The members bring a wide range of experience to the practice, including defending class action product liability claims, major tort claims, single product claims, designing recalls and drafting product warnings. This experience allows our practitioners to aggressively defend large complex matters, including particularly claims that may threaten the reputation, or even future prospects, of affected clients. In addition to litigation, our product liability lawyers counsel clients regarding the preventative measures they should take to avoid liability claims and provide advice on regulatory compliance, e-commerce and jurisdiction, defective design, advertising and media, insurance issues, and product labelling and warnings.

Competition Litigation

Competition litigation is an increasingly active and complex business reality in Canada. Proposed amendments to the Canadian Competition Act further expand the range of conduct and the seriousness of the consequences to parties in civil proceedings, including cases before the Competition Tribunal and in court. Stikeman Elliott's class action litigators have the experience, knowledge, judgment and skills to represent our clients effectively in this very dynamic and strategically important area. They represent national and international clients in defending class actions, which are typically commenced on a national basis mirroring similar U.S. actions and often following Canadian criminal investigations.

Canada's Cross-Border Specialists

The Group has extensive experience with legal issues that transcend Canada's borders. Stikeman Elliott litigators have earned a reputation as cross-border specialists who work effectively with lawyers and experts from other jurisdictions in the defence of a class action commenced as a follow-on to class actions outside Canada.

Specialty Areas
Key Contacts

Louis P. Bélanger
Pierre J. Dalphond
C. Jean Fontaine
Yves Martineau

David R. Byers
Eliot N. Kolers

Nicholas McHaffie

Michael Mestinsek

David Brown
Hein Poulus, Q.C.

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