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Toronto Litigation and Appeals Law Blog

Supreme Court of Canada Advances Management of Cross-Canada Class Actions

By Joel Rochon and Suzanne Chiodo

On October 20, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Endean v. BC, in which it held that class actions judges could, in certain circumstances, sit outside their jurisdiction. The decision opens the door to addressing the management of multi-jurisdictional class actions in Canada. Many issues regarding cross-provincial class actions remain, including the management of overlapping actions and carriage disputes which, as Vioxx and other class actions demonstrated, can lead to unnecessary delays in class proceedings and affect access to justice.

Breast-fed babies could be harmed by codeine

If you're breastfeeding your child, it's important to pay attention to what you put into your body at all times. Studies have shown that what you consume can be transferred to the child, and, when taking drugs and medications, this can be quite dangerous.

One study looked at the impact of the popular painkiller codeine. In the group studied, 100 percent of the mothers took codeine, and 25 percent of the children showed symptoms after breast feeding. Specifically, they had varying degrees of central nervous system depression.

A contact lens solution could create permanent vision loss

The solution you use on your contact lenses is supposed to clean them and disinfect them, helping to prevent irritation and infection. With millions of people using contact lenses every day, it's very important for it to work properly.

If you've used a solution called AMO Complete All-In-One Moisture Plus, though, it could have been doing exactly the opposite. It's no longer being sold due to the serious issues that arose, but it was produced by a company called Advanced Medical Optics, Inc., which sold it across Canada.

The Neglected State of Whistleblower Laws in Canada

Truly robust whistleblower legislation in Canada is essential to preserving the integrity of our capital markets. As is too often the case, the United States has again out shone Canada in implementing legislation which protects employees of private and public corporations.

Since the adoption of the first whistleblower protection laws in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Congress has expanded such protections for federal and certain private-sector employees through numerous federal statutes including the False Claims Act, Whistleblower Protection Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). Most U.S. states have now have parallel legislation designed to protect public employees and several states have extended such protection to private employees. In turn, U.S. courts have further developed a public policy exception to extend protection to whistleblowers from the private sector. The SEC in the U.S. has had whistleblower programs in place since 2010 and paid out in excess of US $50 million. Further, the SEC offers leniency to whistleblowers who are involved in the improper activities they uncovered.

Helping First Nation and Aboriginal victims of sexual assault

Sexual assault is one of the most heinous crimes a victim can ever experience. The psychological trauma of sexual assault can create emotional scars that can last a victim for a lifetime. In the worst cases, sexual assault victims are forced to endure abuse at the hands of people they trust, or people they rely on for their well-being. This creates situations where many abuse victims simply remain silent about the abuse due to fears of losing their residences or their primary means of support.

This is especially true in cases involving First Nation and Aboriginal victims who happen to rely on governmental or religious organizations for critical services. Sexual predators working for these types of agencies can sometimes abuse their influence and authority to engage in the abusive behaviour.

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