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CWB class action suit takes step forward

May 31, 2018

Manitoba Court refuses government’s request to throw out class action

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba has dismissed the federal government’s request to strike out the statement of claim in the proposed Canadian Wheat Board class action.

The class action seeks damages for prairie farmers arising from the privatization of the Canadian Wheat Board by the Harper government a number of years ago. The farmers claim they should have received monies from the 2010 and 2011 crop years – money they believe was used by the government to lure potential buyers.

The Manitoba Co-operator reported on Master Berthaudin’s decision, noting that:

The federal government’s failure to stop the lawsuit clears the way for it being certified, Bruun, a Winnipeg lawyer, said in an interview.

“We have the paperwork filed seeking certification of the class action already,” said Bruun, adding he is confident it will be approved by the court.

Bruun represents the proposed class’ representative plaintiff, Brookdale, Man. farmer Andrew Dennis, together with Jordan Goldblatt and Louis Century, Toronto-based lawyers specializing in civil litigation and class proceedings.

[The farmers’ ] claim, Berthaudin wrote, alleges regulations passed by the federal government raised the upper limit of funds that could be credited from the Contingency Fund, to $200 million from $60 million, after which $145.248 million, otherwise due to be paid to the class, was diverted to the fund.

The government’s argument behind its motion to strike out the statement of claim, Berthaudin wrote, was that the regulations passed were “statutorily authorized to be passed and are validly enacted (and thus) cannot constitute unlawful conduct.”

However, it’s “not plain and obvious to me that the plaintiff could not establish at trial that there was an unauthorized purpose behind the passage of the regulations and the flowing of funds from the pool account to the contingency fund,” he wrote in his dismissal of the government’s motion.

“More particulars may become apparent once documentary discovery has occurred, but that is not reason enough to conclude that the pleading of material facts thus far is insufficient.”

Get more information and read the Court’s decision here.


Louis Century, Steven Shrybman

Practice Areas

Civil Litigation, Class Action Litigation, Public Interest Litigation