We previously reported in an article last August that Ontario Courts are increasingly finding civil fraud on the basis of material omissions, as in the United Kingdom. This trend has continued in a recent decision
Brendan O’Grady is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Litigation & Government Enforcement Practice Group in Toronto. He advises on commercial litigation matters with an emphasis on fraud law and asset recovery. Brendan has represented government agencies, financial institutions and individual victims of investment and mortgage fraud schemes in asset recovery actions and insolvencies. Brendan has also acted in securities class proceedings involving misrepresentations to shareholders.
Summary judgment of an action may only be granted when there is no genuine issue requiring a trial and this can be difficult to prove in fraud cases where credibility is often an important factor. In the recent Ontario Superior Court decision in MacNamara v. 2087850 Ontario Ltd. (Strathcona Construction), 2017 ONSC 499, Justice Akbarali granted summary judgment finding both fraud and grounds to pierce the corporate veil of a corporate defendant. This case demonstrates how liability for even the most serious causes of action can be established by way of summary judgment where a full evidentiary record allows the Court to find the necessary facts, apply the law, and determine that there is no genuine issue for trial.…
Two recent decisions of the Ontario Superior Court demonstrate the willingness of Canadian judges to find fraud on the basis of material omissions in both civil and criminal cases. In Midland Resources Holding Limited v. Shtaif, 2017 ONCA 320, 135 O.R. (3d) 481 and R. v. Fontana, 2016 ONSC 707, omissions by the defendants were found to constitute fraudulent conduct.
Civil Fraud: Midland Resources Holding Limited v. Shtaif
In Midland Resources Holding Limited v. Shtaif, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that the tort of deceit or fraudulent misrepresentation may:
involve not only an overt statement of fact, but also certain kinds of silence: the half-truth or representation that is practically false, not because of what is said, but because of what is left unsaid.