OTTAWA — Telus has scored a victory at the Supreme Court of Canada, which says its business customers are contractually prevented from joining class action suits filed on behalf of individual consumers.
A majority of judges in the 4-3 decision ruled an Ontario judge erred in allowing Avraham Wellman to be included in a class action case against Telus even though he was a business customer of its mobile phone service.
Telus had argued Ontario’s consumer protection law didn’t apply to business customers like Wellman and he had to abide by his contract’s provisions for deciding disputes outside of the court system, through arbitration.
Four judges at Canada’s top court agreed with Telus, but three others dissented.
The ruling affirms that Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act overrides the arbitration provisions of Telus service contracts, but the Arbitration Act doesn’t give the same opportunity for business customers
The case went to Canada’s top court after Telus appealed an Ontario judge’s ruling that said both individual consumer and business customers could be included in the class action case because it was unreasonable to separate the two groups.
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The Canadian Press