Arbitration Clauses Enforced as Non-Consumers Ejected from Telus Class Action by Supreme Court of Canada

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Arbitration, Commercial and Contract Litigation0 Comments

In Telus Communications Inc. v Wellman, 2019 SCC 19, the Supreme Court of Canada has favoured arbitration clauses in staying the claims of non-consumers in a class action against TELUS. The Court’s decision reflects a continued commitment of courts to taking a hands-off approach in upholding valid arbitration agreements, while its citation of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Uber decision indicates that other routes – such as unconscionability – may be pursued to challenge specific arbitration clauses. Facts A proposed class action was filed in Ontario alleging that TELUS had for a number of years rounded up calls to the next minute without telling customers. The class included both consumers and non-consumers (business customers).  Each individually agreed to the same non-negotiable standard form contract.  The contract included an arbitration clause requiring all disputes (other than collection of accounts by TELUS) to be mediated, and failing that, arbitrated. Ontario’s Consumer Protection … Read More

Employee or Not? An Uber Problem to be Decided by Ontario Courts: Arbitration Not the Route

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Contract Disputes, Employment0 Comments

In its first reported decision of the year, the Ontario Court of Appeal has allowed a proposed class action against Uber to proceed in Ontario court. Facts The Appellant commenced a proposed class action in January 2017. They sought, among other things, a declaration that Uber drivers are employees of Uber and governed by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act [“ESA”], as well as $400 million in damages payable to the class for alleged Uber violations of ESA provisions.  Prior to certification, Uber brought a motion to stay the proceeding, requesting the court to enforce a clause in the agreement that requires all disputes to be arbitrated in Amsterdam according to the law of the Netherlands. Ontario Superior Court of Justice The motion judge held that the arbitration clause was enforceable and stayed the action.  Applying the Supreme Court of Canada’s Seidel decision and the Ontario Court of Appeal’s TELUS ruling, the motion … Read More

Court Stays Injunction Claim in Favour of Arbitration / Refuses to Consolidate Arbitration Proceedings Without Consent of All Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Insurance0 Comments

In Loan Away Inc. v. Western Life Assurance Company, 2018 ONSC 7229, the plaintiff had an agreement with the defendant by which the plaintiff sold the defendant’s insurance policies in return for payments by the defendant.  The defendant ceased making payments and the plaintiff commenced an action against the defendant for an injunction to require the defendant to make the payments to the plaintiff and to prevent the defendant from terminating the insurance policies that the plaintiff had sold on the defendant’s behalf. The defendant relied upon an arbitration clause in its agreement with the plaintiff to stay the action.  The plaintiff argued, among other things, that the claim should not be stayed because the arbitration clause contained arbitration clause contained an exception for requests for a temporary restraining order or other forms of injunctive relief. The plaintiff argued that its request for a permanent injunction fell under the category … Read More

Toronto Commercial Arbitrator – Featuring David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M, Q.Arb ~ from $350 per hour*

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Arbitrators, Commercial Arbitration, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, UNCITRAL0 Comments

Background David has been accredited by the ADR Institute as Canada as a Qualified Arbitrator (Q.Arb). He accepts appointments as a commercial arbitrator, international commercial arbitrator and as a business dispute arbitrator, at reasonable hourly rates and with good availability. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has appointed David in arbitration matters. David is a member of the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society, and has successfully completed their Gold Standard Course in Commercial Arbitration.  He is also a Full Member of the ADR Institute of Ontario and appears in its Member Directory. David has lived and practiced commercial litigation and arbitration in Ontario, England, Bermuda and Dubai, in a wide variety of disputes in a diverse range of businesses and industries.  He is also admitted in New York State. His LL.B (Osgoode) and LL.M (Lond.) – Commercial and Corporate, were granted in 1980 and 1988, respectively.  David has acted as counsel in both domestic and international … Read More

Grounds for Judicial Intervention on International Arbitral Awards – Key Takeaways

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Arbitration, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Construction | Builders, Construction Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, UNCITRAL0 Comments

In Consolidated Contractors Group S.A.L. (Offshore) v. Ambatovy Minerals S.A., a decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, a USD$258 million project for the construction of a slurry pipeline from a nickel mine in the mountains of Madagascar to the coast lead to arbitration between the appellant (the contractor) and the respondent (tendered the project). After mutually agreeing to by-pass the adjudication stage of their three-stage dispute resolution process and go straight to a Tribunal, the appellant was only awarded $7M of its $91M claim and the respondent was awarded nearly $25M on its counterclaim. These awards were challenged on appeal as being made without jurisdiction, in breach of procedural fairness, and violating public policy. However, the appeal was dismissed. Judicial intervention in international arbitral awards under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law (the “Model Law”) – though given the force of law by the International Commercial Arbitration Act … Read More

McDonald’s Not Served Valid Revocation of Waiver – Commercial Leasing in the Court of Appeal

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorAppeals, Arbitration, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Leasing, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation, Retail Litigation, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes0 Comments

The Court of Appeal for Ontario in North Elgin Centre Inc. v. McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, 2018 ONCA 71 allowed an appeal by McDonald’s from a decision on applications by both parties to determine whether  the subject lease came to an end on a described date because McDonald’s had not complied with the renewal provision in the lease. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the decision of the application judge, that despite that the parties were in negotiations, and that the respondent had waived its right to insist on strict compliance with the  terms of the renewal provision (to refer the determination of the renewal rental rate to arbitration), that the respondent had effectively revoked its waiver and reverted to its strict legal rights, namely to terminate the lease in the absence of the referral of the dispute on renewal rental rate to arbitration within the permitted time. On the … Read More

Greater Harmonization of International Commercial Arbitration Laws

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, International Sale of Goods0 Comments

Legislation based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985), with amendments as adopted in 2006 (the “Model Law”) has been adopted in 78 States of a total of 109 jurisdictions, including Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon. The legislation in Ontario, Canada, amends previous legislation based on the Model Law and is based on the text, with amendments as adopted in 2006, of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. Recent jurisdictions to enact Model Law legislation include: In 2017: Australian Capital Territory, Fiji, Jamaica, Mongolia, Qatar, and South Africa. In 2016: Myanmar, Republic of Korea, and Uganda. The continued expansion of an already substantial number of jurisdictions enacting Model Law legislation means even greater harmonization of national laws through all stages of the commercial arbitration process, from the arbitration agreement itself, to the recognition and … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Scope of Errors of Jurisdiction under Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Contract Disputes, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In Consolidated Contractors Group S.A.L. (Offshore) v. Ambatovy Minerals S.A., 2017 ONCA 939, the respondent was constructing a mine.  The appellant was contracted by the respondent to build a pipeline.  The construction contract contained a three stage dispute resolution process, being: 1) disputes were to be determined by the respondent’s supervising engineer; 2)  if the dispute was not resolved, it would be referred to adjudication by a sole adjudicator; and 3) if a party did not accept the adjudication, it could refer the dispute to arbitration pursuant to the International Commercial Arbitration Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. I.9, which incorporates the Model Law. Problems arose in the project.  The appellant alleged that the respondent had breached the contract.   The appellant sought an extension of the time for performance, compensation for its costs arising from delay, and compensation for additional work.   The appellant submitted its claims to the respondent’s engineer for … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Law Applicable to Bifurcation of Disputes between Court and Arbitration

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

In Wellman v. TELUS Communications Company, 2017 ONCA 433, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered the law applicable to determining whether to bifurcate a dispute between court proceedings and arbitration.   In Wellman v. TELUS, the plaintiffs consisted of consumers and businesses.  The plaintiffs commenced a class action against the defendant, Telus, regarding alleged overbilling.  The Telus contact contained an arbitration clause.  Telus acknowledged that the arbitration clause was not binding on the consumer plaintiffs (due to the Consumer Protection Act, 2002).  But Telus’s position was the the business plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration clause. Telus brought a motion to stay the business plaintiffs’ class action in favour of arbitration.  Telus relied upon, among other things, section 7(5) of the Ontario Arbitration Act, which provides for a partial stay of court proceedings to be granted where an arbitration agreement deals with only some of the matters in respect … Read More

Possible Changes to Choice of Court Agreements and Recognition of Foreign Judgments

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Forum Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Offshore0 Comments

Ontario recently enacted the International Choice of Court Agreements Convention Act, 2017, which will give effect to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the “Hague Convention”) in Ontario once Canada ratifies the Hague Convention.  (Canada has not yet signed or ratified the Hague Convention.  It is not yet known when Canada will ratify the Hague Convention. The Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted a model implementation statute in 2010, suggesting that Canada may sign and ratify the Hague Convention.) In preparation for ratification, Ontario businesses should be aware of the Hague Convention’s key features, including: • where parties of member States have expressly agreed to a court in their contract, the court selected by parties must act in every case as long as the choice of court agreement is valid. The agreed Court does not have discretion (on forum non conveniens or other grounds) to decline jurisdiction in favour of courts of another State. • any court … Read More

International Sale of Goods – the Law Applicable in Ontario

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Offshore, Sale of Goods0 Comments

Many Ontario businesses buy and sell goods from foreign companies.  However, few Ontario businesses are aware that different laws apply to international purchases and sales of goods. For purchases and sales of goods between Ontario companies, the Ontario Sale of Goods Act will typically apply.  However, for purchases and sales of goods between Ontario and foreign companies, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (the “CISG”) will typically apply. The CISG is “Ontario law”.  It is enacted in Ontario by the International Sales Conventions Act. There are a number of key differences between the Ontario Sale of Goods Act and the CISG.  One of the most notable is the obligation on the buyer to inspect goods (article 38) and give notice of any non-conformity (article 39).  The inspection obligation imposed by article 38 can have significant consequences: if the buyer fails to detect a lack of conformity … Read More

Andrew Ottaway comments on International Commercial Arbitration for the Law Times

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Cross-Border Litigation, Gilbertson Davis LLP News0 Comments

Andrew Ottaway was asked to comment on international commercial arbitration in Ontario, including the new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017. Read the Law Times article here: “New laws may spur more arbitration in Ontario“. The lawyers at Gilbertson Davis have experience with domestic and international commercial arbitration.  Please contact us to arrange an initial consultation.

Ontario’s New International Commercial Arbitration Act Now In Force

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

Ontario’s new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017 (the “ICAA”) came into force on March 22, 2017. The new ICAA contains a number of changes from its predecessor, including: Adoption of the the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (also known as the “New York Arbitration Convention”).  Essentially, Ontario has confirmed that it will recognize and enforce an arbitral award made in a state which is party to the Convention. Changes to the limitation period in which a proceeding must be commenced to enforce an arbitral award.  Both the ICAA and the Ontario domestic Arbitration Act, 1991 now provide for a 10 year limitation period to commence a proceeding to enforce an arbitration award.  (The ICAA previously provided for a two year limitation period.) Adoption of the 2006 amendments to the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law … Read More

Partnership Disputes & Joint Venture Litigation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Joint Venture Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for partners in small and mid-sized partnerships, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and contractual parties and partners in joint ventures. Partnership Disputes Partnership is a relationship between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit, which is not a corporation. It is one of the most commonly used business associations for small and medium-sized business. A partnership can be created at law and the Partnerships Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.5 sets out rules for determining existence of partnership, though commonly the parties enter into a partnership agreement. Joint Venture – Is it a Partnership? Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some … Read More

Court of Appeal Upholds Stay Based on Contractual Choice of Forum/Arbitration Clause Against Non-Contracting Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation0 Comments

In Novatrax International Inc. v. Hägele Landtechnik GmbH, 2016 ONCA 771, the plaintiff and the defendant Hägele were parties to an Exclusive Sales Agreement (“ESA”).  Hägele terminated the ESA.  The plaintiff sued Hägele, its individual principals and Cleanfix, a North American company related to Hägele. The defendants collectively moved to stay the Plaintiff’s claim, relying on a forum selection clause in the ESA which stated: “The contractual parties agree that German law is binding and to settle any disputes by a binding arbitration through the “Industrie und Handelskammer” (Chamber of Commerce) in Frankfurt.” The motion judge granted the stay, despite the fact that only Hägele, and not the other defendants, was a party to the ESA. The plaintiff appealed on two grounds: that the motion judge erred in i) interpreting the scope of the forum selection clause and ii) staying the action against the defendants who were not party to the … Read More

Court Stays Arbitration but Denies Costs to Successful Party for “Blameworthy Conduct”

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

In Gorman v Kosowan, 2016 ONSC 5085, the applicant commenced a proceeding regarding a business dispute. The applicant and individual respondent were joint owners of a transportation and warehouse business.  A dispute arose between them.   The respondents subsequently terminated the applicant’s employment and excluded him from the business.  The applicant sought relief from the allegedly oppressive conduct under the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Ontario Business Corporations Act.  The respondents brought a motion to stay the oppression application based on an arbitration clause in the parties’ Unanimous Shareholders’ Agreement (“USA”). The USA arbitration clause required arbitration for “disputes under” the USA. The Judge found that the applicant’s claims were covered by the arbitration clause and granted the respondents’ motion to stay the application. In the Judge’s subsequent costs decision, here, the Judge denied the respondents’ request for costs of the motion.  While a winning party is typically entitled to its costs … Read More

Joint Venture Disputes and International Joint Venture Arbitration

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, International Distribution, International Joint Venture, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Joint Venture Disputes, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions, a consideration which may be pivotal for its success. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some joint ventures have been held by the courts to be a partnership, while others have been determined to be merely contractual, without comprising a partnership. A myriad of considerations have been used by the courts in determining whether a joint venture is a partnership. Issues have also arisen concerning the management and operational structure of a joint venture and whether such structure necessarily results in the joint venture being found to comprise a partnership. Historically the distinction between partner and contractor has been important, since the law only imposed a fiduciary duty upon partners, and not … Read More