October 1st, 2018

NDP introduces bill to hold largest fossil fuel corporations accountable for climate change

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns will be re-introducing a bill on Monday that provides a framework for citizens, businesses and governments in Ontario to sue big oil and gas corporations for climate related damages from their products. The bill was introduced in the previous parliament and passed second reading in April of this year.

Tabuns held a press conference at Queen’s Park to introduce the bill and was joined by Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist at Greenpeace Canada.

“The world's largest fossil fuel corporations have to start paying their fair share for the damage from their products, and for the cost of protecting people from those damages,” said Tabuns, the NDP’s Energy and Climate Change critic.

Stewart said that elected representatives should support the bill that makes big fossil fuel companies transparent to the public. “Just like tobacco companies, oil and coal companies hid what they knew about the science in order to delay policy action that would shrink the market for their product,” he said. “Any politician who claims to stand up for the little guy should support this legislation to clarify how fossil fuel companies will pay their fair share of the costs to protect our communities from the ravages of climate change.”

This bill follows in the footsteps of the tobacco liability legislation in Ontario that allows governments to sue for health care costs. Under Tabuns’ bill, those fossil fuel corporations whose products have put enough CO2 into the atmosphere to be globally detectable would begin paying the price for climate change damage that is currently being shouldered by communities.

“This year Ontarians across the province have seen extreme weather events that have caused the loss of personal property and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Families shouldn’t have to bear the burden of all of the costs of the effects of climate change alone,” said Tabuns. “The Ford government should support charging the biggest polluters who need to take responsibility for causing the damage.”

Fossil fuel producers who are responsible for emissions at a globally detectable level will be held strictly liable for the climate related harms that they cause in Ontario. The bill sets out the framework for related lawsuits and the nature of evidence to be produced.

The bill will be introduced in the legislature on Monday afternoon at approximately 1:30 pm.