The Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), at the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society, received a Measuring Impacts & Progress grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario to investigate access to justice issues in consumer standard form contracts. The team at CIPPIC is excited to be tackling this important access to justice issue that impacts all Canadian consumers in the digital age.
The digital economy has rapidly changed the role of consumers. Virtually every aspect of our daily lives and social interactions is conditional on being consumers first. We rely on technological tools and services to be producers, creators, learners, critical thinkers, and citizens. These tools come with lengthy non-negotiated standard form contracts that a user must agree to in order to access the services many Canadians rely upon in their daily lives. These contracts often contain forum selection clauses, arbitration clauses, and class-action waivers, which impact consumer’s ability to access courts and obtain remedies for wrongs.
This project builds on CIPPIC’s past work, in particular its interventions before the Supreme Court of Canada on this subject, including Dell Computer Corp v Union des consommateurs, Douez v Facebook, Inc, and TELUS Communications Inc v Avraham Wellman. Through this project, CIPPIC will conduct research to provide evidentiary basis for legal reform and advocacy to enhance the ability for consumers to access substantive and procedural justice.
CIPPIC's team will be headed by David Fewer, the Director of CIPPIC. The team includes Keri Grieman and Johann Kwan, CIPPIC's articling students; and Professor Marina Pavlović, a CLTS Faculty member.
Established by statute in 1974, the Law Foundation of Ontario is the sole foundation in Ontario with the mandate of improving access to justice. Through granting and collaboration, the Foundation invests in knowledge and services that help people understand the law and use it to improve their lives. The purpose of the Measuring impacts and progress granting is to support empirical research that will help improve how the justice system serves the people of Ontario.