Canada Cartage ready to fight $100M class-action lawsuit
Posted: February 12, 2015 by Peter Carter
TORONTO – Canada Cartage might be facing a $100-million class-action suit, but the 101-year-old carrier is ready, if the case ever gets to court.
“Our firm is proud of our 100-year record of strong employee relations. Should this case move forward, we will defend it vigorously,” said President and CEO Jeff Lindsay. Wednesday, lawyers from the law firm Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP announced that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has determined the law firm’s clients can pursue a class-action suit against Canada Cartage, over the issue of unpaid overtime. The Court ruling is simply proving that a suit can be made, it is not a ruling on the charges.
According to a statement from Canada Cartage, Justice Edward Belobaba ruled that the case meets the legal requirements to be certified as a class action. The decision is not a ruling on the merits of the overtime claim but rather a procedural decision allowing the case to move forward as a class action. The decision notes that “The merits will be litigated (and Canada Cartage may well prevail) later at the common issues trial.”
Canada Cartage intends to seek leave to appeal the certification decision.
According to a statement from the lawyers, “the case covers a ‘class’ of approximately 7,800 current and former Canada Cartage employees who worked at the company since March 1, 2006 who were entitled to receive overtime compensation pursuant to the Canada Labour Code and its regulations. The court also found that the plaintiff, Marc-Oliver Baroch, is an appropriate representative plaintiff for the class. Mr. Baroch worked at a Canada Cartage location in Mississauga, Ontario for approximately seven years and left the company in 2013.”
The claim alleges Canada Cartage avoided overtime obligations to class members. According to the lawsuit, which was commenced in November 2013, this policy or practice manifested itself in a number of ways. For example, the Claim alleges that after Human Resources and Skills Development Canada determined that Canada Cartage was not complying with its overtime obligations, Canada Cartage misled HRSDC about the remedial steps it would undertake to correct its non-compliance. For some class members, it is alleged that Canada Cartage unilaterally reduced their rates of pay and “reverse engineered” their compensation to make it appear that they were being paid overtime when in fact their weekly earnings remained unchanged.