Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that the following is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
1. How does a class action lawsuit work?
A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit commenced by one or more people who are seeking to represent a group (or “class”) of people who have suffered a similar harm. After the plaintiffs commence a proposed class action lawsuit, a judge decides whether to permit the lawsuit to proceed as a class action, in a process called certification.
As part of certification, the judge will set a class definition which determines who is included in the class. If a class action is certified in Ontario, any person who fits in the court-ordered class definition is automatically included as a class member. If a class member does not want to be part of the class action lawsuit, they can follow the court-ordered procedure for opting out of the class action. More information about opting out will be posted if and when certification is ordered.
Also as part of certification, the judge will appoint one or more people to act as representatives for the others in the class. The representative plaintiffs take an active role in the litigation, including instructing counsel on behalf of the class members.
2. What is this class action lawsuit about?
This class action is brought by fourteen plaintiffs against all twenty-four of the Ontario colleges which have cancelled classes as a result of the OPSEU faculty strike commencing October 16, 2017. The plaintiffs have proposed the following class definition: “all persons who were enrolled in one or more programs or classes at one of the colleges during the academic term when the strike commenced on or around October 16, 2017”.
The Notice of Action asserts claims in breach of contract and breach of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, and seeks damages equivalent to the value of lost instruction and associated costs incurred (e.g. fees paid for meal plans which have not been honoured).
3. How do I participate in this class action?
Please register here: https://charneyclassaction.com/colleges-strike/. Registration helps us to determine the total number of people who are affected, and helps us to understand the scope of the losses which have been suffered. Registration also means that we will notify you by email of all important developments in the class action. Registration does not mean that you are a client of the firm nor does it mean that a lawyer/client relationship exists. There is no deadline to register. There are no financial obligations associated with registration.
If you do not want to register, you can still participate in the class action if it is certified, so long as you do not opt out.
If you are interested in acting as a proposed representative plaintiff, please register and indicate your interest at the appropriate question. If we are seeking additional proposed representative plaintiffs, we may contact you.
4. I heard classes will be resuming at the colleges. Can I go back to class if I registered online for this class action?
Yes. Registering with us does not, in any way, prevent you from returning to class. Please note that all your information provided through the registration form will be kept strictly confidential.
5. What if a third party (e.g., OSAP, parents) paid for my tuition and/or fees?
What if I am enrolled in a joint university/college program?
What if I incurred fees/expenses other than meal plan fees and housing fees?
These questions and all similar questions relate to the issue of damages. At this preliminary stage, we are gathering all the facts and cannot provide any comment on the scope of entitlement to damages. We encourage you to register if you fall within the proposed class definition (“all persons who were enrolled in one or more programs or classes at one of the colleges during the academic term when the strike commenced on or around October 16, 2017”).
6. Do I have any financial obligations to pay for legal fees?
There is no financial obligation to any individual class member to pay legal fees.
If the class action is certified and you do not opt out, then our firm will be paid a contingency fee out of any successful recovery in the class action (i.e. a settlement or judgment in favour of the class members). Our firm’s legal fees will be billed as a percentage of recovery (typically in the range of 25-33%) before claims are paid out to class members, or they may be paid directly by the defendants. All legal fees in a class action are subject to court approval as being fair and reasonable.
7. Do I have to drop out of college if I do not opt out of the class action?
No. Resuming your program and returning to class does not prevent you from participating in this class action. The fact that you are a class member has no bearing on your ability to continue with your college studies. If you elect to continue with your studies, you likely will not be able to recover a full refund but may still be able to claim a refund for the time lost and other expenses.
8. What is the expected timeline for the class action?
We intend to take a “wait-and-see” approach for the first few weeks – if and when the strike ends and the colleges agree to provide fair compensation to the students for their losses, the class action may resolve quickly.
If the strike ends and the colleges do not come up with a fair compensation plan, it could take months or years to resolve the class action.
9. Who are the lawyers working on this class action?
Our firm, Charney Lawyers, is a litigation law firm located in Toronto with extensive experience in class actions. You can read more about our firm and our class action experience here: http://www.charneylawyers.com/Charney/index.php.
10. Will my registration information / particpation be kept confidential?
Yes. Your information from the registration form and participation in this class action will never be revealed to the colleges or other parties without your consent.
11. What if I have more questions?
If you have a question about the class action lawsuit, please ensure that you have read this FAQ carefully. If your question is not answered by this FAQ, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the extremely high volume of emails received, it may be several days before you receive a response.