Equifax Canada Co. and Equifax Inc. Class Action
This case alleges that Equifax Canada Co. and Equifax Inc. breached the privacy rights of Canadians whose sensitive personal information was stolen by cyber-criminals in a hack in 2017. The case also alleges that Equifax breached its contractual and consumer obligations to those who were paying Equifax to protect their identity and credit.
The Equifax defendants are credit bureaus operating in Canada and many other countries. They have admitted to failing to patch a security vulnerability in their online systems although they had been specifically alerted to the threat by U.S. officials. The unpatched vulnerability opened the door to the hack between May and July 2017.
The case is proceeding as a class action on behalf of persons in Canada whose information was hacked in the 2017 Equifax breaches or who had a paid Equifax subscription between March 7, 2017 and July 30, 2017.
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Equifax Canada Co. and Equifax Inc.: Updates
- January 6, 2020: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the class action could proceed against Equifax. A copy of the judge’s decision can be found here. Equifax is seeking to appeal the decision.
- October 10, 2019: The certification hearing before Justice Glustein has concluded. Justice Glustein has reserved his decision. Class Counsel will provide an update once they receive the decision.
- September 16, 2019: The certification motion scheduled for September 16-18, 2019 was adjourned to October 8, 10 and 11, 2019. The motion will be heard in Osgoode Hall – Courtroom 6 commencing at 10:00 a.m. before Mister Justice Glustein. Further details can be found at http://www.ontariocourtdates.ca/ at 4:30 p.m. the day before the commencement of the hearing. If you have any questions about the certification motion, please contact class counsel for details.
- April 25, 2019: The certification motion scheduled for April 23-25, 2019 was adjourned. The certification motion has been rescheduled for September 16-18, 2019. The motion will likely be heard in Toronto commencing at 10am. Further details can be found at http://www.ontariocourtdates.ca/at 4:30pm the day before the commencement of the hearing. If you have any questions about the certification motion, please contact class counsel for details.
- February 7, 2019: Due to a scheduling error, the certification motion did not proceed on February 4-6, 2019. The certification motion has been rescheduled for April 23-25, 2019. The motion will likely be heard at Osgoode Hall in Toronto commencing at 10am. Further details can be found at http://www.ontariocourtdates.ca/at 4:30pm the day before the commencement of the hearing. If you have any questions about the certification motion, please contact class counsel for details.
- January 10, 2019: The Ontario Superior Court is scheduled to hear the plaintiff’s motion for certification of this action on February 4-6, 2019. The motion will likely be heard at Osgoode Hall in Toronto commencing at 10am. Further details can be found at http://www.ontariocourtdates.ca/ at 4:30pm the day before the commencement of the hearing. If you have any questions about the certification motion, please contact class counsel for details.
- January 25, 2018: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted carriage of this class action to Sotos LLP and its clients Bethany Agnew-Americano and Jane Doe. In a decision dated January 24, 2018, the Court decided that it was in the best interests of the class of people affected by the Equifax breach to have Sotos LLP as their counsel. The Court also ordered that the class action brought by Merchant Law Group LLP be stayed and that no other class actions on this subject matter be filed in Ontario without the Court’s permission. You can find a copy of the Court’s decision here.
- December 5, 2017: Equifax previously announced that approximately 8,000 Canadian consumers were affected by the data breach. Equifax Canada recently announced that “In addition, it was determined that some of the consumers with affected credit cards announced in company’s initial statement are also Canadian. We now know that this group includes 11,670 impacted Canadian consumers and we are in the process of notifying them by mail and offering them free credit monitoring and identity protection.” The total number of affected Canadians, as described by Equifax, therefore now appears to total 19,000 persons. If you receive a letter from Equifax and you are a Canadian resident, please register on our website and follow our Facebook page here.
- November 7, 2017: The Ontario Superior Court is scheduled to hear a motion on December 19, 2017, to decide if it should be Sotos LLP or Merchant Law Group that prosecutes this action in Ontario.
- October 17, 2017: The first case conference about the class action was held before the Court.
Equifax Canada Co. and Equifax Inc.: News
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not received a letter, it may be that you were not affected by the privacy breach. However, we will not be accepting Equifax’s point of view that only 19,670 Canadians were affected. We expect to dispute Equifax’s views and will require it to provide convincing evidence of the numbers of persons affected.
If you are a Canadian that received a letter from Equifax, you are covered by the class action commenced by our firm. If you are a Canadian whose personal information was accessed by hackers, even if you are not aware, you are also covered by the class action. We have commenced a national class action on behalf of all affected residents of all provinces. You do not need to register on our website to be a member of the class action, it is simply helpful to do so to obtain updates.
The status of the class action is that another claim in Ontario was commenced by another law firm. As a result, the Superior Court of Justice is expected to have a hearing in December 2017 on which claim should proceed. After this, the next step in a class action ordinarily involves class action certification to decide whether the class action should proceed against Equifax, Inc. and Equifax Canada.
Our class action has three goals:
- To require Equifax to make an immediate, lump-sum payment to all persons whose personal information was affected by the privacy breach.
- To have individualized hearings and additional damages paid to anyone who is the subject of further harm arising from the privacy breach, such as identity theft.
- Given the sensitive nature of the information at stake, to require Equifax to create a long-term fund to cover future claims of harm.
We are lawyers, not cyber-security financial experts. However, we have received concerned phone calls and e-mails from people who received letters from Equifax. Also, the class action can only provide you with money – it is not an adequate vehicle to take immediate steps to protect you. How are some ways you may be able to mitigate your risk?
- If you received a letter from Equifax, contact Transunion and Equifax to ask for a fraud alert to be put on your account.
- Ask for new credit cards and bank cards to be issued.
- We understand that Services Canada will not issue you a new SIN unless there is actual evidence of financial fraud. Risk of fraud simply because you received a letter from Equifax is not sufficient.