McDonald’s Happy Meals – Quebec Class Action
Quebec Superior Court file #:
What this case was about:
The Plaintiff alleged that McDonald’s Restaurants unlawfully made use of commercial advertising directed at persons under thirteen (13) years of age, in violation of sections 248 and 249 of Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act, and of paragraph e of section 91 of the Regulation Respecting the Application of the Consumer Protection Act. On November 14, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec authorized this class action. In January of 2020, the parties agreed to settle this case without any admission of liability.
Every consumer pursuant to the Quebec Consumer Protection Act who, from November 15, 2013 to April 15, 2020 purchased in Quebec for a child under 13 years of age then present inside a McDonald’s restaurant, a toy or Happy Meal, during an advertising campaign directed at children taking place inside the restaurant.
Terms of the Settlement:
Under the terms of the Settlement, still subject to Court approval, McDonald’s will make a payment of CAD $1,000,000 (one million dollars) to be divided equally among four charitable hospital foundations in the Province of Québec, namely the:
- Fondation CHU Ste-Justine;
- Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation;
- Jewish General Hospital Foundation; and
- Fondation CHU de Québec
The Settlement also provides that McDonald’s must make certain practice changes in relation to the advertising of its Happy Meal campaigns in the Province of Quebec, namely:
- Change the physical toys for images of the toys, which will be approximately the same size as the physical toys, in its restaurant toy/book displays;
- Place the images of the toys above the images of the books in its restaurant toy/book displays (i.e. inversing the current placement where the book images are above the toys in the display);
- Subject to any legal prohibition on McDonald’s ability to sell books or toys in its restaurants, commit to displaying images of both books and toys in its toy/book displays for at least two (2) years following the implementation of the Practice Changes specified in numbers 1 and 2 above;
- Age-gate the English and French language pages concerning the Happy Meal toys on its company website; and
- Not use interactive toy/book displays as long as s. 248 CPA remains in force.
COVID-19 Update (August 13, 2020):
The settlement approval hearing has been rescheduled and will take place on January 22, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2.08 of the Montreal courthouse or in any other room that may be designated for the hearing. Please note that this date is subject to adjournment by the Court without further publication notice to the Class Members, other than such notice which will be posted on this website.
Class action authorized by the Superior Court of Quebec on November 14, 2018. On January 8, 2020, the parties executed the Settlement Agreement (accessible in PDF format by clicking below).
On January 27, 2020, the Court approved the notice program and scheduled the hearing for settlement approval for June 18, 2020. The global health pandemic resulting from the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) necessitated suspension of the notice program previously approved by the Court. On March 18, 2020, the parties asked the Court to suspend the notice program in order to take COVID-19 into account. As a result, the initial settlement approval hearing was postponed.