The Consumers Association of Canada case against Encorp-Pacific has been dismissed in its entirety.
In the civil litigation, the Consumers Association sought to show that the Encorp-Pacific — the organization that manages used beverage containers in British Columbia (which are collected under deposit) — didn’t have the authority to impose extra recycling fees and use them for a variety of purposes.
B.C.’s Madam Justice Russell found:
1. There was no trust created; therefore, claims of breach of trust and/or conversion of trust monies failed.
2. The container recycling fee (or “CRF”) is not illegal or unlawful.
3. The failure of the two primary claims largely disposes of the ancillary claims.
4. The plaintiffs failed to provide any evidence of any representation about the CRF that could have the capability, tendency, or effect of deceiving or misleading a consumer into thinking the CRF was a government levy. The plaintiffs failed to provide any evidence of misrepresentation regarding a discrepancy between the price of the product displayed at the shelf versus the price charged at the till that could have the capability, tendency, or effect of deceiving or misleading a consumer. Thus, there was no breach of the Trade Practice Act or the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
5. No breach of the Competition Act.
6. The claims of intentional interference with economic interests and abuse of statutory authority/misfeasance in a public office are entirely derivative and, therefore, fail.
7. There is no unjust enrichment.
8. The defendants are to provide written submission on costs by 10 days from today.
The full text of the judgment is posted here as a pdf file.