​​Understanding General Class Actions

The following is a list of commonly asked questions and answers that help explain the terminology used in class actions.

  • ​In a class action, one or more people - called the representative plaintiffs - sue on behalf of other people that have similar claims. All these people together are called a "class" and individually each is called a "class member".

    A class period is a specific time period during which a company is alleged to have been improperly conducting its business.

  • ​A class action gives individuals the ability to seek damages that would otherwise be too small, legally difficult, or costly to pursue individually. In most cases, it also allows individuals to do it without incurring legal fees. Class actions also give individuals the ability to hold companies accountable through the courts for unlawful and/or injurious activities. You may receive compensation for a wrong, injury, or loss that you sustained. Finally, by participating, you demonstrate to the court that the alleged harm done was substantial and impacted a large number of people.

    It is impossible to know what, if any, recovery might be possible. Some cases go to trial while others will settle. Others may be dismissed by the court. A settlement can involve a payment into a common fund to be distributed to all members of the class in proportion to the amount each is determined to have lost. For specific details of your case, please review the notice of settlement.

    Generally, no legal fees are paid unless a class action is successful. Should there be a successful resolution to a case, legal fees are typically drawn from the settlement proceeds before a distribution to class members. Please review the notice for specific details of your class action(s).

    If you do nothing, you will not receive any benefits from the settlement but you will be bound by its terms and you will give up your right to start a lawsuit against the Defendants about the legal issues resolved by the settlement.

  • ​This depends on the case you're referring to. It's best to visit the case website, review the FAQs available on the page and see the specific criteria listed in the official court documents.

  • ​We will acknowledge receipt of your claim by mail or email within 90 days. Your claim is not deemed fully filed until you receive an acknowledgement postcard. If you do not receive a postcard within 90 days please contact us.

  • How you receive payment depends on the individual class action. Some cases allow for direct deposit but in the majority of cases, eligible class members receive compensation by cheque or email transfer.

    ​Depending on the number of claims, this process can take six to twelve months after the claim deadline. Updates are available on the case specific website (found on the notice and the claim form). Typically, class actions involve hundreds or thousands of claimants. Each claim needs to be reviewed individually to determine eligibility and damages in accordance with the settlement agreement.

  • ​The representative plaintiff is a person or entity appointed by the court to stand in for and act on behalf of the other class members in the litigation. The representative plaintiff will work with class counsel to determine the course and direction of the litigation.

  • ​It is your responsibility to inform the claims administrator of your new address.

  • Unless otherwise noted, non-government cheques are considered stale-dated after six months.

  • ​To opt-out of a class action is to exclude yourself from the class action. If an individual opts-out they will not be eligible to receive any settlement benefits that a court may approve. They will, however, be able to pursue their own claim on an individual basis.

    If a person does not opt-out of a class action they will be bound by the terms of the class action whether they submit a claim in the matter or not.

    Objecting is telling the court that you don't like something about the settlement. Depending on the settlement, you may do this in writing or by appearing in person at the settlement approval hearing. Excluding yourself or opting out is telling the court that you don't want to be part of the settlement class. If you exclude yourself or opt out, you give up your right to receive any benefits recovered through the settlement.

  • Class counsel is the group of lawyers appointed by the court to represent the class.

    If there is a successful resolution to a case, class counsel will ask the court to approve the payment of their fees and reimburse their expenses in these lawsuits. The amounts that the court approves will be paid out of the settlement fund.

  • Generally, in the event class members submit valid claims in an amount greater than the funds available in the settlement fund, most settlement agreements stipulate that the benefits be reduced pro rata (payments are reduced in the same proportion as everyone else's benefits).

​Understanding Securities Class Actions

The following is a list of commonly asked questions and answers that pertain to securities class actions.

  • ​You need to file a separate claim form for each account in which the relevant security was held.  If you are an eligible claimant, you will receive a separate cheque for each approved claim.

  • You need to file a separate claim form for each account in which the relevant security was held. If you are an eligible claimant, you will receive a separate cheque for each approved claim.

  • The payee on the cheque will be John Doe RRSP.

  • Please check the other box in the Claimant Identification section of the claim form and write the name of the account in the blank space provided e.g. margin account.

  • A security claimant who acquired securities and held the certificate(s) in their name is the beneficial purchaser. If, however, the certificate was registered in the name of a third party, such as a nominee or brokerage firm, the securities claimant is the beneficial purchaser and the third party is the record purchaser of the securities.

  • Trade date is the date the order is executed in the market. Settlement date is the date on which a trade settles. That is, the actual day on which transfer of cash or assets is completed.