PRESS RELEASE: Hamilton, Ontario
February 8, 2010
The class action lawsuit against Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited with respect to a planned third work shift at the Oakville Assembly Complex has been certified on consent, by order of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dated 21, 2010.
The plaintiffs, Gabriel Levesque, Brenda Austin and Matthew Beltrano, brought the action under the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, on behalf of a class consisting of all individuals (or the estates of any deceased individuals) who were offered employment by Ford Canada as general assemblers in connection with Ford Canada’s plan to introduce a third shift at the Oakville Assembly Complex, training for which was to commence July 28, 2008, except for those individuals (or estates of any deceased individuals) who, at the time the offers were made, were bargaining unit employees on lay-off from Ford Canada’s operations in Windsor, Ontario with recall rights.
The lawsuit alleges that in April, 2008, Ford made a business decision to initiate a third work shift at its Oakville Assembly Complex. Ford advertised its need for employees and offered positions of employment but subsequently determined, immediately prior to the employment start date, that it would not implement the third work shift.
The lawsuit alleges that many individuals offered positions were at the time gainfully employed elsewhere but resigned from their other employment in anticipation of starting employment with Ford.
Ford attributes its change of decision to extreme shifts in market condition based on a downturn in sales of cross-over vehicles. The lawsuit contains allegations which have yet to be proven in court.
The lawsuit can now move forward towards a trial of common issues as identified by the court.
The certification of the lawsuit on a consent basis is without prejudice and Ford maintains that it has good and valid defences to the claim of the plaintiffs.
The claim is being pursued by Scarfone Hawkins LLP, Shinehoft Law, Ball & Alexander Chris Sweeney, and Brian Hunt as co-counsel. These law firms have significant experience in handling actions on behalf of plaintiffs who have been harmed by the wrongful conduct of others.
David Thompson of Scarfone Hawkins LLP, one of the lawyers involved in prosecuting the case on behalf of the plaintiffs said “we are pleased that this action has been certified and will now move ahead as a class proceeding. This will enhance access to justice for all affected individuals and will allow the claims to be determined in an efficient and economic manner”.