Angela Bespflug has been recognized by the Federal Court of Canada as a leading practitioner in the field of class actions. She has been class counsel in a number of high-profile national class actions, with combined settlement values totaling over $800 million.
Ms. Bespflug was class counsel in Merlo v Canada, the first class action brought against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for gender-based harassment and discrimination in the workplace of its female members, and was lead counsel in Tiller v Canada, a second class action brought against the RCMP on behalf of women who suffered sexual assault, harassment or discrimination while working or volunteering with the RCMP in non-member roles.
These actions, and their ground-breaking settlements, are part of an emerging and innovative body of jurisprudence that seeks to push the Canadian judicial system to accept class actions as the preferable procedure for resolving systemic sexual misconduct. Class actions in this context offer critical access to justice for survivors who do not have the resources to pursue individual litigation. These class actions ultimately hold defendants accountable for their behaviour and deter future incidents of sexual misconduct.
Ms. Bespflug has also been class counsel in several class actions centred on Indigenous rights, including Riddle v Canada, an action for loss of culture of Indigenous persons as a consequence of Sixties’ Scoop; Percival v Canada, an action for abuse of Indigenous persons placed in boarding homes; and Hardy v Canada, an action for abuse of Indigenous persons who suffered historical harms while attending hospitals for Indigenous peoples. And she was counsel on motion for Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP at their fee approval hearing in the Indigenous Day School class action litigation where the firm was awarded a $55M fee.
In the commercial context, Ms. Bespflug has acted for class members in many successful class actions involving price-fixing and other commercial wrongs.
Ms. Bespflug was named Canada’s Class Action Lawyer of the Year 2020 by Finance Monthly Magazine, and is listed in Who’s Who 2020 in the field of class actions.