Jean Saint-Onge Ad. E.

Senior Counsel

Executive Summary

A highly accomplished class actions lawyer, Jean Saint-Onge has extensive experience as defence counsel representing private and public sector clients, including multinational companies, particularly in multi-jurisdictional and cross-border class actions. Jean's expertise extends across a number of fields of law, including competition, product liability and environmental law.

As a member of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group in our Montréal office, Jean draws on his experience to further enhance the strategic direction and management of class actions in which the firm is involved. He has acted in numerous matters, has successfully argued several precedent-setting cases and is known for his ability to find practical and sustainable solutions in cases that are frequently complex and involve several defendants. He is consistently recognized as one of Canada's leading class action lawyers in publications such as Lexpert, Chambers Canada, Chambers Global, Benchmark and The Best Lawyers in Canada®.

Jean is a certified mediator of the Barreau du Québec, and a member of the Institut de médiation et d'arbitrage du Québec (IMAQ).

Since 2004, Jean has organized and hosted the National Conference of the Barreau du Québec on Class Actions – Recent Developments in Québec, Canada, and the United States, the largest continuing professional training activity in the field in Canada. He has also been Chair of the Class Actions Committee of the Barreau du Québec since 2006.

Jean is the recipient of the Prix de la justice du Québec 2007, Québec's highest honorary distinction in the field of law.  

Representative Work

  • Represented numerous life insurance companies in participating life insurance and universal life premium offset class action litigation.
  • Mariane Dessis vs. Cash Store Financial Services Inc. et al. (2016) – represented Cash Store in a multijusridictional securities class action.
  • Conseil pour la protection des malades (CPM) c. CHSLD Manoir Trinité et al. (2015) – represented the AEPC in a class action related to laundry expenses in private and public nursing homes (CHSLD).
  • Comité anti-pollution des avions Longueuil (CAP-L) c. Max Aviation Inc. (2015) – represented St-Hubert Airport (DASH-L) in a noise nuisance class action.
  • Lavergne c. Union canadienne et al. (2014) – represented Intact Insurance in a dispute dealing with compensation for additional living expenses connected with the 1998 ice storm.
  • Schachter c. Toyota Canada (2013) – represented Toyota in the class proceeding related to the sudden acceleration of certain automobiles.
  • Blackette c. Research in Motion Ltd. (2013) – represented Research in Motion Ltd. in a service interruption class action.
  • Represented NUMMI and Toyota Canada Inc. in the class action litigation related to the Anti-Lock braking system (ABS) of certain hybrid vehicles (2012).
  • Acted as defense counsel at the authorization stage and trial on the common issues in the trichloroethylene (TCE) water contamination class action in Shannon, Québec (2012).
  • Option Consommateurs v. Pfizer Canada Inc. (2011) – represented Pfizer in litigation involving the prescription drug Neurontin.
  • Melvin c. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (2009) – represented Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in a class action relating to certain foods contaminated by listeriosis.
  • Sirois c. Menu Foods Income Fund (2008) – represented Menu Foods in the pet food contamination class action.
  • Harmegnie c. Toyota Canada (2008) – represented Toyota in a competition law class action concerning the "Access Toyota" program.
  • Citoyens pour une qualité de vie/Citizens for a Quality of Life c. Aéroports de Montréal (2007 and 2018) – represented Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) in an airport noise nuisance class action.
  • L'Association des résidents riverains de La Lièvre inc. c. Procureur général du Québec (2006) – represented James McClaren Inc. and other parties in a class action relating to a problem of soil erosion along the banks of the Le Lièvre River.
  • Deshaies c. FCA (2019) – Represented FCA in a product liability class action related to the SCR system of certain vehicles.

Publications & Presentations

  • Co-Author, "Class and Collective Actions in Canada," Lexology Guide, November 27, 2018.
  • Interview, Mark Cardwell, "New class action process launched in Montreal," Canadian Lawyer Magazine, April 10, 2018.
  • Interview, Emmanuelle Gril, "Pour une loi sur la présentation d'excuses au Québec," Le Journal du Barreau, p. 34-36, March 2018.
  • ​Speaker, McGill Research Group on Health and Law – Les recours collectifs québécois contre les fabricants de cigarettes: a bilingual interdisciplinary panel on the role of litigation in pursuing public health objectives, November 2015 
  • Speaker, Insight – La gestion de crise: Les bons et mauvais coups, November 2012
  • Speaker, Canadian Bar Association (Québec Division) – Dispute Prevention and Settlement Section – Les règlements en matière de recours collectif, September 2014
  • Speaker, Entretiens Jacques-Cartier, Les recours collectifs en droit de la consommation – Dérive consumériste?, December 2010, Lyon
  • Speaker, Osgoode Professional Development, "The First to File Rule in Quebec," April 2012
  • Speaker, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Legal Section Annual Meeting – "Class Action National Update – Recent decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada," October 2014
  • Ontario Bar Association (OBA) – Class Action Update in Quebec, December 2013
  • Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario (AJEFO) – Les actions collectives en matière environnementale au Québec, Lafayette, LA, June 2015
  • Author, La litispendance en matière de recours collectif : La règle de l'antériorité n'a plus préséance au Québec – Développements récents – Formation continue du Barreau du Québec, 2013, Éditions Yvon Blais, Vol 362
  • Author, L'action collective – Une mesure privilégiée d'accès à la justice, Justice Internationale (UIA), February 2014
  • Co-Author, "A Summary of Canadian Class Action Procedures and Developments, " DRI, 2017
  • Co-Author, "Getting the Deal Through, " Class Actions 2017, Canada Chapter published by Law Business Research Ltd., 2016-2017
  • Co-Author, "Québec's Distinctive Class Action Regime," DRI Class Actions Seminar, 2016

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Recognized as a leading litigator in the 2018 edition of the Lexpert®/Report on Business Litigation Special Edition.
  • Recognized as the "Montréal Class Actions Lawyer of the Year" in the 2013 and 2018 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada®.
  • Recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2006) of Best Lawyers in Canada® (Class Action Litigation). Also recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2017) (Bet-the-Company Litigation).
  • Recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2016) of Chambers Canada® Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Dispute Resolution: Class Action [Defence]).
  • Recognized in the 2019 and 2018 edition of Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Class Actions, Litigation - Product Liability). Also recognized in the 2017 and 2016 editions (Dispute Resolution).
  • Recognized the 2017 edition (and since 2013) of Chambers Global The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Dispute Resolution: Class Actions [Defence]).
  • Recognized in the 2017 edition of Benchmark Canada The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys as a "Local Litigation Star: Québec" and a "Litigation Star: Arbitration, Class Action, Competition, General Commercial, Product Liability".
  • Recipient of the Prix Lambertois – Humanitarian Commitment, the Ville de Saint-Lambert, 2008.
  • Recipient of the Prix de la justice du Québec, 2007.
  • Recipient of the Mérite Award, the Barreau du Québec, 2007.
  • Named Advocatus Emeritus (Ad. E.) of the Barreau du Québec, 2007.
  • Recipient, Pro Bono Award, The Canadian Bar Association (Québec Division), 2003.