Friends of the Earth Canada stands on guard for people and the planet. People from vulnerable communities are often on the front lines, confronting the health and environmental impacts of toxic contaminants from mines and industries. We support environmental justice for communities across Canada, through ground-breaking legal challenges and public education.
- Polluter pays: Newfoundland and Labrador v. AbitibiBowater Inc.
- Environmental class action: St. Lawrence Cement Inc. v. Barrette
- Dirty deal: Irving oil refinery exempted from environmental impact assessment
- Latest news about environmental justice issues
The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to announce a decision soon on the case of Newfoundland and Labrador v. AbitibiBowater Inc. et al (now known as Resolute Forest Products).
This ground-breaking legal case represents the first time Canada’s insolvency laws have dealt with the polluter pays principle — in this case, for historic contamination by AbitibiBowater’s mining, shipping and pulp and paper operations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Friends of the Earth, represented by Ecojustice, intervened to argue that insolvent corporations must fulfill their environmental obligations and not pass the full cost of environmental cleanups on to taxpayers.
Communities are now coping with the toxic legacy of AbitibiBowater’s century of operations in the province. Soil sampling in Grand Falls-Windsor, Stephenville, Botwood and Buchans has revealed the presence of heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants — threatening the health and environment of people in these communities.
The Court decision will have implications for communities across Canada. Taxpayers should not be left with the high clean-up costs for toxic contamination. If the Supreme Court affirms its strong support for the polluter pays principle, the province will be able to claim the costs of cleaning up the contaminated sites.
Supreme Court of Canada case information: Factums
Supreme Court of Canada case information: Webcast of the hearing on November 16, 2011
Media release: Lawsuit challenges Baird over proposed Irving oil refinery