Lawsuit against Loblaws Companies in Canada over risks in supply chain in Bangladesh to be test case for expansion of jurisdiction of Canadian courts, say lawyers

Author: Christopher Burkett & Jennifer Bernardo, Baker & McKenzie, Published on: 25 November 2015

"The Rana Plaza class action - is Canada the next frontier for global human rights litigation?", 23 Nov 2015

…Canadian multinational corporations must take note that our courts are revealing a new willingness to expand their jurisdictional reach in light of modern commercial realities and perceived corporate impunity (see: Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguage, 2015 SCC 42), and they are keeping an open mind as to whether a duty of care exists between Canadian companies and the foreign workers who produce their products (see: Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc., 2013 ONSC 1414)…A key test case for this shift in Canada is the ongoing class action lawsuit against Loblaws and Joe Fresh (the “Loblaws Defendants“), which was launched by Bangladeshi garment workers in response to the…2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed 1,130 workers. The plaintiffs…[allege] that they knew or ought to have known about the potential risks associated with the Rana Plaza structure. Assuming that a court agrees to hear the claim, the plaintiffs will be required to demonstrate that the Loblaws Defendants were negligent in managing their arm’s length supply chain operations…It is important to remember that, regardless of the current trends regarding business and human rights, courts do not expect perfection. Instead, they ask whether a defendant who foresees a risk of harm has taken all reasonable measures to mitigate the risks that a reasonable person would have done in the circumstances…What were initially considered voluntary standards have become the yardstick against which corporate activities are judged, whether in a court of law or the court of public opinion…[Also refers to Nevsun Resources, Tahoe Resources and to Hudbay Minerals lawsuits (re Guatemala); Nevsun lawsuit (re Bisha mine, Eritrea); Tahoe Resources lawsuit (re Guatemala); Texaco/Chevron lawsuits (re Ecuador)]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Chevron Hudbay Minerals Joe Fresh (part of Loblaw Companies) Loblaw Companies Nevsun Tahoe Resources