*Updated – Students are consumers under CPA

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that students are consumers and covered under the Consumer Protection Act.

George Brown College had appealed a decision by Mr. Justice Belobaba, in Ramdath v. George Brown College. The decision is expected to have an effect on post-secondary institutions, in the way they choose their words to describe courses, and in other communications. It is also seen as opening the door to further class actions.

George Brown College appealed the November 2012 decision. Earlier this month, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s finding that students are “consumers” for the purposes of the CPA. The Court also held that the CPA does not require each student to prove reliance in order to establish that there has been an unfair practice.

At the certification stage, the group of students had to establish negligent misrepresentation under the common law, by meeting a five-part test established in Queen v. Cognos [1993] 1 S.C.R. 87.

The students filed their claim based on Section 14 of the Act, which provides that it is “an unfair practice for a person to make a false, misleading or deceptive representation.”

Ramdath v. The George Brown College, 2010 ONSC 2019

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2010/2010onsc2019/2010onsc2019.html

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