April 23, 2018

Viability of umbrella purchaser claims in question

Paul-Erik Veel is quoted in the Law Times article Viability of umbrella purchaser claims in question on April 23, 2018. This article discusses the intensifying debate over the viability of umbrella purchaser claims.


From an international point of view, Paul-Erik Veel, a partner at Toronto litigation boutique Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, says the B.C. line of jurisprudence fits with the European approach to umbrella purchasers, while Ontario’s more restrictive view is reflected in the U.S., where similar claims are increasingly failing at trial.

He says he would rather see umbrella claims blocked, but he adds he would appreciate a Supreme Court ruling on the issue. 

“It’s unusual with these types of cases to see such a stark and clear divergence between courts of different provinces,” Veel says. “Although I’m sympathetic to the very valid policy goals of the Competition Act, in my view, umbrella purchasers are a bridge too far.

“Competition class actions are already unwieldy and cumbersome enough and will become substantially more so with the addition of umbrella purchasers without much benefit to consumers ultimately,” he adds.