When a class action is won or settled out of court the members usually have a right to compensation. You must act quickly to claim your share!
Usually, each member can get an amount of money to compensate for the damage they suffered. Sometimes compensation takes other forms. For examples, residents might be entitled to soundproofing work to compensate for excessive noise from a construction site in their neighbourhood.
When to Claim Your Money
If the class action ends with a court decision, a notice to the members is published. The notice states the amount you’re entitled to, how to get it and the deadline for claiming your share.
You must usually fill out a claim form and send it to the person responsible for distributing the money to members.
In some cases, this simple form is enough to get your money. In other cases, you must prove that you have a right to the money. For example, in class actions over health issues, you must usually provide medical documents.
In rare cases, the court decision doesn’t specify the exact amount each member can get. You will have to provide some information and documents to help the judge decide how much you should get. You have one year to claim your money and file supporting documents in the office of the court.
The notice to members is always important! It gives you a green light to claim your share. So, it’s good to stay informed throughout the class action to avoid losing your right.
When the Money Doesn’t Go to the Members
Sometimes the person or organization being sued must pay an amount of money, but the money doesn’t go directly to the members. For example, it’s impossible to identify the members or the cost of distributing the money to them is more than what they’re entitled to.
In these cases, a part of the money goes to the Fonds d’aide aux actions collectives or FAAC (a government fund to help finance class actions). The other part might be given to one or more non-profit organizations.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.