Volkswagen must pay $2.1 billion to Canadians court rules

Published: April 27, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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A court in Ontario has approved a settlement plan that will see German automotive giant Volkswagen reimburse customers. The result of a Canadian class action lawsuit into the company’s emissions scandal means customers can now submit claims form the $2.1 billion settlement fund.

The result comes months after a U.S. court reached a similar decision. Volkswagen was forced to pay a near $15 billion court settlement to end the claims against the company. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer signed the order Tuesday, effectively settling the largest auto scandal in history. It is worth noting that VW still faces numerous similar cases around the world, including in Canada, where a class-action lawsuit is currently before the Ontario Supreme Court.

In Canada, 105,000 motorists bought a Volkswagen of Audi vehicle with a faulty diesel engine that was pumping out more emissions than regulations allow. Last year, the company confessed to rigging its cars to give false emissions readings when being tested by regulators. The affected 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines were actually found to be pumping out emissions far in excess of what is allowed. VW had rigged the software in the vehicles to fool regulators.

Each of the Canadian customers can receive a payment of between $5,100 and $8,000, according to a judgement by Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba. There will also be a choice to return their vehicle under a buy-back scheme that will see them reimbursed for the value of the vehicle as of mid-September 2015.

“(The settlement) does its best to respond to people who are in different situations and have different concerns,” said Charles Wright, a partner at Siskinds law firm in London, Ont., and one of the lead lawyers in the case.