The City of Thunder Bay has agreed to the certification of a $375 million class action lawsuit stemming from last May's flood.

City manager Tim Commisso said consenting to the certification allows the city to move forward and defend itself against the suit.

"It's to the city's advantage to support the certification,” he said.

“I'm not going to get into legal strategy, but it puts the city in a better position to defend the class-action lawsuit."

Commisso said dealing with the legal action is a priority and the city will use all of its necessary resources. The certification focuses the lawsuit on those who were specifically affected by the flooding of the sewage treatment plant last May, he noted.


Thunder Bay lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Zaitzeff. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

Close to 400 people have joined the class action suit, but the lawyer leading it said he expects many more.

Sandy Zaitzeff said the agreement is not an admission of guilt on the city's part, "but it is a long way forward and a great step forward in mediating this thing."

The next step is the discovery of documents. It's hoped the months-long process will explain exactly what happened at the sewage treatment plant during the flood.

Up to 4,000 people could be eligible for compensation if the suit succeeds, Zaitzeff said.