The Canada Business Corporations Act and the Ontario Business Corporations Act provides remedies for shareholders, particularly minority shareholders, who have been oppressed by other owners, partners, officers or directors. This is known as the oppression remedy, and it allows the court to remediate situations where it finds oppressive or unfairly prejudicial conduct.
The oppression remedy provides the court with a broad range of authority. For example, a court may choose to set aside a business transaction or order the payment of damages to remedy the situation, or hold an owner personally liable. According to the Ontario Business Corporations Act, the court’s powers in respect of the oppression remedy include:
(a) an order restraining the conduct complained of;
(b) an order appointing a receiver or receiver-manager;
(c) an order to regulate a corporation’s affairs by amending the articles or by-laws or creating or amending a unanimous shareholder agreement;
(d) an order directing an issue or exchange of securities;
(e) an order appointing directors in place of or in addition to all or any of the directors then in office;
(f) an order directing a corporation, subject to subsection (6), or any other person, to purchase securities of a security holder;
(g) an order directing a corporation, subject to subsection (6), or any other person, to pay to a security holder any part of the money paid by the security holder for securities;
(h) an order varying or setting aside a transaction or contract to which a corporation is a party and compensating the corporation or any other party to the transaction or contract;
(i) an order requiring a corporation, within a time specified by the court, to produce to the court or an interested person financial statements in the form required by section 154 or an accounting in such other form as the court may determine;
(j) an order compensating an aggrieved person;
(k) an order directing rectification of the registers or other records of a corporation under section 250;
(l) an order winding up the corporation under section 207;
(m) an order directing an investigation under Part XIII be made; and
(n) an order requiring the trial of any issue. R.S.O. 1990, c. B.16, s. 248 (3).