Overview

This lawsuit was commenced in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of all Sunoco service station operators in Ontario against Suncor Energy Products Inc. and its parent company Suncor Energy Inc.

The lawsuit follows on Suncor’s internal announcement in January 2010 of its intention to terminate the retailer franchise agreements of all 300 of its independent Sunoco retailers in Ontario. Approximately 104 retail sites were closed April, 2010 while the remaining sites were re-branded under the Petro-Canada banner with different operators. All Sunoco retailers have been terminated in the process.

The lawsuit asserts that Suncor failed to comply with Ontario’s franchise legislation when the retailers entered into their most recent franchise agreements. This may entitle the retailers to rescind their franchise agreements and obtain substantial compensation.

The termination of the Sunoco retailers is part of Suncor’s decision to eliminate the Sunoco brand in Ontario following Suncor’s amalgamation with Petro-Canada in 2009.

In December 2010 a hearing was held to determine a central legal issue in this case, i.e. whether or not Suncor was required to deliver a disclosure document to each retailer before the retailer signed their most recent Retailer Franchise Agreement. The decision of the judge on the summary judgment motions was released on December 17, 2010. The judge found that Suncor was not required to deliver a disclosure document to the Sunoco retailers and that therefore the retailers had no right to rescind the Retailer Franchise Agreement. He therefore dismissed the case. A subsequent appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal was dismissed on September 27, 2011. The action is dismissed.

Updates

  • September 27, 2011: The Court of Appeal dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal from the summary judgment decision. The action is dismissed.
  • December 17, 2010: A hearing was held to determine a central legal issue in this case, i.e. whether or not Suncor was required to deliver a disclosure document to each retailer before the retailer signed their most recent Retailer Franchise Agreement. The judge found that Suncor was not required to deliver a disclosure document to the Sunoco retailers and that therefore the retailers had no right to rescind the Retailer Franchise Agreement. He therefore dismissed the case.

Case Contacts

Allan Dick
t: 416.977.7180
f: 416.977.0717
e: adjdick@sotosllp.com

David Sterns
t: 416.977.5229
f: 416.977.0717
e: dsterns@sotosllp.com