SCC Case Information
Les éditions Écosociété Inc., et al. v. Banro Corporation
(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
Private international law - Courts - Jurisdiction - Choice of forum - Jurisdiction simpliciter - Forum conveniens - Real and substantial connection test - Torts - Libel and slander - Foreign defendants moving to stay action for want of jurisdiction or on grounds of forum non conveniens - Whether there are particular concerns raised by multi-jurisdictional defamation claims in applying any test for judicial jurisdiction – Whether jurisdiction was properly assumed by the courts below in this case – Whether there are particular concerns raised in multi-jurisdictional defamation cases in applying the test for forum non conveniens – Whether the courts below erred in concluding that Québec was not a clearly more appropriate forum.
The underlying action by the respondent arises out of the publication of allegedly defamatory statements in a book published, written, researched and edited by the appellants. The respondent is an Ontario corporation with its headquarters in Toronto. The appellants are Quebec residents. The book was published in Quebec, and was subsequently released to bookstores in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. The book is also available for purchase on the web and is referenced on many websites and in newspaper articles available and accessible in Ontario.
The respondent brought an action against the appellants, seeking damages for libel as well as punitive damages, aggravated damages and an injunction restraining further dissemination of the book. The appellants brought a motion to stay the action on the basis that there was no real and substantial connection between the subject matter of the action and Ontario, and that Ontario was not the convenient forum for trial of the action. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the appellants’ motion to stay the action. The motion judge found that a fair weighing of the applicable factors clearly favoured assumed jurisdiction and that the applicable factors also favoured Ontario on the issue of convenient forum. The Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the appeal.