Canada: Supreme Court decides on jurisdiciton over foreign companies

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Two cases, consoldiated on appeal, both involved personal injury claims by Canadian citizens arising from accidents they suffered during their holidays in Cuba. One of the defendants, Club Resorts Ltd., was the company that managed the two hotels where the accidents took place. Club Resorts argued that Ontario lacked jurisdiction over the actions, or in the alternative, that the doctrine of forum non conveniens should apply. The motion judges in both cases dismissed this argument and held that the Ontario courts had jurisdiction. The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld both decisions.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals: applying the recognized presumptive connecting factors, the Ontario court had jurisdiction, and Club Resorts had failed to refute those presumptions. In the first case, the presumptive factor applied, whereby the litigation was connected to a contract entered into in Ontario. With respect to the second case, the presumptive factor was established on the basis that Club Resorts maintained an active commercial presence in Ontario.

In both cases, the Supreme Court also declined to exercise its discretion under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, on the basis that considerations of fairness weighed in favour of the plaintiffs.

Supreme Court Judgement Club Resorts Ltd. v Van Breda (2012 SCC 17) available here>>.

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