To date, Canada has not seen large-scale environmental class actions, as found in the U.S., since the Canadian class action regime is more restrictive. Environmental class actions are available for claims involving a reduction in property values as a result of pollution, but currently are not available for health claims.
Provincial employment law in Canada is based on a workers’ compensation program under which workers can recover for their injuries from centrally administered funds, but are prevented from suing their employers for injuries or health problems sustained on the job. The funds can, in turn, commence subrogated claims in the names of the workers against the parties responsible for the injuries and health problems (as was done with asbestos claims).
While civil litigation involving land contamination, health effects from pollution, or other environmental damages is available, the use of punitive damages in Canada is more limited than in the U.S., and tort claims are often subject to court-imposed caps.
Additional posts from the blog
On April 7, 2014, the Minister of the Environment issued a Notice with respect to hydrofluorocarbons (the “Notice”), pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The Notice imposes reporting requirements on those who imported, exported, or manufactured certain hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”) from 2008 and 2012. A non-exhaustive list of HFCs subject to these reporting requirements can be found in Schedule 1 of the Notice.
In an interesting decision, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that an employer is not liable for discriminatory and harassing texts sent by a rogue employee to another of its workers.
On April 8, 2014, Canada’s government introduced Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act, in the Senate. Bill S-4 is the federal government’s latest attempt to reform the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). It would be a mistake to say that it is largely recycled from the government’s last attempt to reform PIPEDA in 2011 through Bill C-12, which died on the order paper. Here’s what’s different, what’s been dropped, and what seems to be largely the same. Caveat: This is a first read!