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Craig Dennis, Q.C. and Ray Power successfully oppose motion by the Attorney General of Canada to stay proposed class action related to spring 2020 data breach

In Campeau v. Her Majesty The Queen, 2021 FC 1449, Craig Dennis, Q.C. and Ray Power successfully opposed a motion brought by the Attorney General of Canada to stay a proposed class action.

The plaintiff claims severally against Canada for the alleged unauthorized disclosure of personal and financial information belonging to Canadian taxpayers resulting from data breaches that began in the spring of 2020.

Canada brought a motion under sections 50.1 and 50(1) of the Federal Courts Act to stay the proceeding on the basis that Canada intended to bring a claim for contribution and indemnity that fell outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Court.

The Court dismissed Canada’s motion, accepting the argument that the third party claim had no possibility of success.

Section 50.1 of the Federal Courts Act is a unique provision, available only to the Attorney General of Canada, where on Canada’s motion the Federal Court “shall” stay an action brought in Federal Court so that Canada can pursue in a provincial court a third party claim or counterclaim over which the Federal Court lacks jurisdiction. This decision appears to be the first time that a motion under section 50.1 has successfully been resisted solely on the basis that Canada’s proposed claim has no possibility of success.

The action now is expected to proceed to a certification hearing in early 2022.

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