The Franchise Law Minefield – Lexpert

Jennifer Dolman

Jun 10, 2016

In an depth article featured in the recent Lexpert US/Canada Cross-Border Guide, journalist Julius Melnitzer examines the current state of the Canadian franchise industry and the complex legal issues it faces. Melnitzer covers a broad range of topics, from the relevant legislation – or lack thereof – across the country, including British Columbia’s new Franchises Act, to the high-profile litigation that is shaping Canadian franchise law, including recent cases involving Pet Valu, Dunkin’ Donuts and GM. The full significance of these decisions remains unclear, according to the lawyers Melnitzer consults, such as Jennifer Dolman, litigation partner in Osler's Franchise Group.

“Some commentators have argued [that the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in] Bhasin, [which for the first time held that a duty of good faith existed with respect to all contractual dealings], combined with Dunkin’ Donuts, increases the duties of franchisors across Canada,” Jennifer says. “But Dunkin’ Donuts is based on concepts contained in the Civil Code of Québec that are not mirrored in the law of other Canadian provinces and, in any event, the decision is not binding on courts outside of Québec.” 

The article also discusses franchise law developments in the U.S., including the emerging concept of joint employer status, and their potential impact on the Canadian franchise industry.

To learn more, read Julius Melnitzer’s full article The Franchise Law Minefield in Lexpert.