Courts make cy-près awards when it is not practical to distribute all proceeds of a class action to individual plaintiffs.
The Law Foundation of Ontario’s Access to Justice Fund (ATJF) is a permanent fund available to receive such awards. Grants under this program have enhanced linguistic and rural access to justice, Indigenous people’s rights, innovative approaches to family law, and consumer and investor rights to name a few. The Foundation distributes any cy-près award it receives in strict compliance with all attached terms and conditions.
Directing a cy-près award to the Foundation’s ATJF will allow you to:
- Fulfill the underlying objectives of class actions, which are a vehicle to improve access to justice.
- Contribute to a recognized fund that provides access to justice grants across the country.
- Entrust funds to a well-respected and mature grantmaking organization with a long history of transparency, accountability, and sound financial management.
- Ensure cy-près awards are used in a manner that has been approved by the courts.
Many courts have approved the Foundation as a fitting and accountable recipient of cy-près awards. You can see the full list of cy-près awards the Foundation has received on this webpage.
In Markson v. MNBA, the court stated that:
The Ontario Law Foundation’s Access to Justice Fund is a suitable recipient of the cy-près distribution. Counsel propose the Justice Fund as the cy-près recipient because it directly achieves one of the overarching goals of the Class Proceedings Act. Specifically, it aids in providing public access to justice throughout Canada. The Justice Fund is the only national source of grants with an access to justice mandate, and it provides funding to projects that are national, regional or local in scope...
When counsel propose a cy-près distribution as a term to settle a class action, they often identify a charity that has no connection to the issues in the litigation and no ability to improve access to justice. In my view this should be avoided. The recipient of the cy-près distribution should either be directly connected to the issues in the class action... or like the Law Foundation, able to use the money to further the goals of the Class Proceedings Act.”