Fareau and Capay v. Bell Canada and Ontario
Consumer Protection Class Action
What this class action is about
Goldblatt Partners LLP has commenced a class action against Bell Canada and the province of Ontario on behalf of all persons currently or formerly incarcerated in an Ontario correctional facility, and all persons in Canada who accepted and paid for a collect call originating from a person incarcerated in an Ontario correctional facility.
Pursuant to provincial policy and a contract between Bell Canada and Ontario, Bell Canada is the exclusive provider of telephone services for incarcerated persons in Ontario correctional facilities. Bell Canada and Ontario provide only one option for placing telephone calls from correctional facilities in Ontario: collect calls to landlines at exorbitant prices for anyone who accepts the calls. If the phone call is a long-distance phone call, it costs in excess of $30.00. The maximum length of call for any phone call is 20 minutes.
On behalf of the Class, the Representative Plaintiffs allege that, contrary to Ontario’s consumer protection and other laws, Bell Canada and the province extracted exorbitant fees from individuals placing and accepting telephone calls from Ontario correctional facilities.
The proposed class consists of:
- All persons in Canada who accepted and paid for a collect call originating from a person in custody or otherwise in an Ontario correctional facility after June 1, 2013; and,
- All persons serving custodial sentences; detained on remand, awaiting trial or sentencing; awaiting transfer to a federal correctional facility; or, any other person incarcerated at a correctional facility in Ontario after June 1, 2013 whose option for making a phone call was through Bell Canada’s Offender Telephone Management System.
If you believe you are a member of the proposed class, please contact Jody Brown or Kirsten Mercer (contact information in the links below).
The next steps in this case will be to seek financial support from the Class Proceedings Fund and to seek an order from the court to certify it as a class action.
July 7, 2021: Bell Canada and the Crown file their motion records
The defendants have served their motion records on certification and jurisdiction. The motions records are the evidence the defendants will use to oppose certification of this class proceeding. The next step is for the plaintiff to file any reply and the parties to conduct cross-examinations.
May 31, 2021: Plaintiffs have served and filed a supplementary affidavit
The plaintiffs have now served and filed a supplementary affidavit. The affidavit contains a copy of the contract between the province of Ontario and Synergy Inmate Phones for the operation of the telephone system for inmates in Ontario correctional facilities.
January 8, 2021: Plaintiffs have served their Motion Record
The plaintiffs have now served their motion record for certification. This means that Bell Canada and the Ontario Government have been sent the written evidence which will be relied on to turn this lawsuit in a class action. Bell Canada and the Ontario Government will now have a chance to prepare responding evidence.
The certification court hearing, which will determine if this lawsuit becomes a class action, is not scheduled yet. The certification hearing date will be posted here when available.