Class Action

Class actions needed ‘when governments let us down’

By Mia Clarke, Associate Editor

Toronto class-action lawyer Stephen Moreau has filed a lawsuit against the Ontario government for its cancellation of the guaranteed income pilot project, reports CTV News.

The proposed class action, filed on behalf of four people who had been part of the program, “alleges that the cancellation of the pilot amounts to a breach of contract, a breach of undertaking, negligence, a public law tort, and/or a breach of s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” according to Cavalluzzo LLP‘s website.

The statement of claim says the plaintiffs are seeking $200 million in general damages.

"It was foreseeable by the defendant that ceasing the BI [basic income] payments early would cause the class members to suffer damages and to suffer injury due to the frustration and emotional upset associated with being told that BI payments were ceasing prematurely," Moreau, partner with Cavalluzzo LLP, writes in the claim.

He further says in the claim that people suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and depression after the program was axed, reports the CBC.

The previous Liberal government launched the project in April 2017, with 4,000 participants from test sites in three Ontario communities, reports the Toronto Star. Recipients were guaranteed an annual income of up to $17,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples, less 50 per cent for income earned.

Last July, the new Progressive Conservative government decided to scrap the project, despite a campaign promise to keep it, says the Star report. Participants received their final payments last week.

The Star says Moreau recently attended a panel discussion at the Hamilton Public Library and told those gathered, “I’m not going to promise certainty like the government did. Class actions are what’s left when governments let us down.”

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