Book Review: Class Actions in Canada: The Promise and Reality of Access to Justice By Jasminka Kalajdzic

AuthorCeleste Poltak
Celeste Poltak*
Much has been written in Canada an alyzing cla ss proceedings jur ispru-
dence and its evolution over the last twenty-f‌ive year s. Very little has b een
written about the actual extent to which class actions have improved or
furthered the leg islative goal of access to justice. Class Actions in Cana da1
attempts just that. While such an evaluation seems d aunting, Kalajd zic
confronts whether clas s proceedings have been able to provide ready and
meaningful justice. As the author herself notes, “lawyers and judges ta lk
about it, the public lacks it, but what is acces s to justice, and how do class
actions provide it?2 The book marks the begi nning of that informed con-
versation and is a must-read for both counsel and the judiciary working
in the class proceedings area.
The author confronts the diff‌icult que stion of whether class procee d-
ings in Canad a have furthered the oft-cited, yet ethereal, goal of acces s to
justice. In order to answer th is somewhat elusive proposition, the book
properly begins by identifying the ver y premise of clas s proceedings, in
and of themselves:
The promise of clas s action legislation rest s singularly on t he potential for
purely procedural to ols to achieve greater justice by leve lling the playing
f‌ield between consumers and corporat ions, between citi zens and gov-
ernment, bet ween harmed individua ls and alleged wrongdoers. In doi ng
so, class action s are expected not only to remedy injurie s that would
* Celeste Poltak, LL M (London School of Economics), is a Partner at Koskie
Minsky LL P in Toronto where she practices c lass action litigation exclu sively
on the plainti ffs’ side.
1 Jasminka K alajdzic, Class Action s in Canada: The Promise and Reality of Acce ss
to Justice (Vancouver, BC: UBC Pr ess, 2018).
2 Ibid at 17 0.
CCAR 13-2.indb 383 10/30/2018 11:42:09 AM

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