United We Stand, Divided We Fall: Class Actions and Corporate Hegemony

AuthorRebecca Meharchand
United We Stand, Divided We Fall: Class Actions and
Corporate Hegemony
Rebecca Meharchand
AbstrAct: This paper examines the changes to Ontario’s Class Proceed-
ings Act resulting from Bill 161 through a Marxist lens, with the aim of
understanding class action proceedings as a tool for challenging cor-
porate power by providing access to justice to plaintif‌fs and behaviour
modif‌ication incentives for corporations. This paper argues that a class
action proceeding is a form of collective action that can act as an ef‌fective
way to challenge corporate hegemony under Neoliberalism. This essay
commences with a brief background on corporate hegemony and Marx-
ist theory, and then moves to an examination of consumer protection
and collective rights under Neoliberalism. Finally, the bulk of this essay
addresses how class action proceedings can be understood as an excel-
lent tool for combating corporate hegemony and demanding consumer
protection in a political and legal landscape that would seek to see vast
numbers of plaintif‌fs denied meaningful redress. By situating this discus-
sion within Marxist theory and a Neoliberal climate, the f‌inal section out-
lines the ways the changes made in Bill 161 not only further the agenda
of corporate interests while potentially denying redress to plaintif‌fs, but
also fail to follow the three main objectives of class action proceedings, as
iterated by the Supreme Court of Canada.
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