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Articles in this section are of general information and in every situation are subject to the application and interpretation of a law, rule or factual situation that may differ. Consult us for any specific question.

The Oppression Remedy

28 March 2018

You went into business with your best friend when you graduated from high school. School was not for you. You have invested all your savings. However, as your friend had more money to invest than you, it was decided that you have 40% of the shares and he, 60%. And that’s how you became a minority shareholder.

The months go by and the business is going well. You work like crazy in this adventure and you are determined to succeed. However, the relationship with your business partner deteriorates. You realize that he is taking a lot of money from the company’s account for his personal benefit and, little by little, he no longer consults you for decision-making. He had to manage the finances, and you the floor, but now this arrangement no longer seems fair to you. What can you do?

Such business disputes are common and they are well suited for an out-of-court settlement, especially when the value involved is not too high. Indeed, for such a case to be heard by the court, it will probably require accounting evidence, which can represent significant costs.

Ultimately, the oppression remedy remains available to the minority shareholder who is wronged by the majority shareholder(s). It is a very broad equity remedy that seeks to redress any inequity. Whether you are a shareholder of a Canada inc. or a Québec inc., you have such recourse. It can sometimes be the starting point for a sincere dialogue with your partner, ultimately leading to a way out of the crisis.

Consult us for your shareholder disputes, do not wait until it gets too big!