MONTREAL -- A judge has authorized a lawsuit to proceed against McDonald's Canada over the marketing of Happy Meals to Quebec children.

Montreal lawyer Joey Zurkan sought authorization for a class action lawsuit, arguing promotion of the popular meals constitutes illegal advertising to children.

The decision Wednesday by Quebec Superior Court Justice Pierre-C. Gagnon paves the way for the case to be heard on its merits.

The province's consumer protection law -- among the strictest in Canada -- prohibits commercial advertising directed at children under the age of 13.

Zurkan's lawsuit claims that displays inside the restaurants showing off toys that come with Happy Meals violate the law.

A spokesman for McDonald's Canada says the company is fully aware of its obligations under Quebec's advertising laws and doesn't believe the class action has merit.

The suit would cover anyone who has purchased a Happy Meal or an individual toy at a Quebec McDonald's restaurant for a child under the age of 13 since Nov. 15, 2013.