Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

December 20, 2006

U of G Gets $4.8-Million Holiday 'Gift'

The University of Guelph will receive nearly $5 million as a beneficiary of one of the largest class action settlements in Canada. The lawsuit was initiated a number of years ago by purchasers and consumers of vitamins and vitamin products over alleged price fixing.

Although U of G was not directly involved in the lawsuit, it was among nine educational and non-profit organizations awarded some $20 million this week to be applied in the public interest. Universities with doctoral programs in food and nutrition were chosen to receive funds on behalf of consumers of vitamins and vitamin products. Universities with veterinary medicine schools were chosen to receive funds given their connection to the agricultural sector – a major purchaser of vitamins or vitamin products.

Half of U of G’s allocation was earmarked for the Ontario Veterinary College, and all of the funds must be used to support food and nutritional research and education related to vitamins. The university is awaiting further details on the settlement including the restrictions surrounding the use of the funds.

“Being named among the recipient institutions is a direct result of the University of Guelph’s reputation as a leader in food research in Canada,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “Receiving this money to further bolster our food and nutrition programs is a very welcome holiday gift.”

The $20 million is part of the $132-million settlement approved by the courts of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec in 2005. More than $22 million in settlement funds were previously distributed to various associations, agencies and institutions. U of G received $1.5 million as part of that earlier payout for the Food Safety Network and the Guelph-based Advanced Foods and Materials Network, which is one of the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence.

In a news release, J. J. Camp, counsel from Camp Fiorante Matthews, one of the law firms involved, said that individual compensation was not a viable option in this case, as millions of Canadian consumers had been affected. The “fairest alternative option” was to distribute funds to universities, agencies and associations that would “commit to use the funds for the well-being of the whole class.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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