Videotron Ltd. v. Independent Community Television Montreal (ICTV-MTL), et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Courts - Jurisdiction, Boards and tribunals - Courts – Jurisdiction – Boards and tribunals – Jurisdiction – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – Class action – Proper representation– Whether court of law has jurisdiction to decide issue whose essential nature is determination of compliance of broadcasting distribution undertaking with federal broadcasting regulations made by CRTC even though exclusive jurisdiction over such matters has been conferred on CRTC – Whether ability of representative plaintiff to properly represent members in class action can be challenged only in context of actual conflict of interest, or whether serious appearance of conflict of interest can be sufficient where representative plaintiff seeks to favour his or her personal interest – Code of Civil Procedure (CQLR, c. C-25.01), art. 575.


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In July 2015, the respondent TVCI filed an application for authorization to institute a class action in order to seek damages for subscribers of the applicant, Vidéotron, in connection with the programming of MAtv, a channel operated by Vidéotron. The member designated by TVCI for this purpose, the respondent Desrochers, is a Vidéotron subscriber. The application for authorization to institute a class action was dismissed. In the Superior Court’s opinion, the conditions set out in art. 575 of the Code of Civil Procedure were not all met. The Court of Appeal reversed the Superior Court’s decision and unanimously authorized the class action. But it was divided on the question of TVCI’s ability to represent the members, as Ruel J.A. dissented on that point. Unlike the majority, he would have appointed Mr. Desrochers as representative plaintiff rather than TVCI.