Doly Begum MPP, Scarborough Southwest

Government of Ontario

Fossil Fuel companies must pay their fair share for climate damage

Published on June 23, 2023

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP MPPs Peter Tabuns (Toronto—Danforth), Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas), Doly Begum (Scarborough Southwest), and Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) are introducing legislation to hold large fossil fuel producers liable for climate damage.

The Climate Liability Act will also provide a framework for citizens and governments to sue these corporations for damages. This bill follows in the footsteps of the tobacco liability legislation, which in the United States secured hundreds of billions of dollars from tobacco companies to help cover the cost of healthcare and smoking cessation programs.

“Fossil fuel companies must pay their fair share for damage from their products and for the cost of protecting people from those damages, “said Tabuns, who is also the Official Opposition critic for Climate Action and Energy. “There are now more than 40 local and state governments in the United States bringing lawsuits to recover funds from large fossil fuel companies for the huge costs of flooding and other damage from climate induced extreme weather. Ontario needs to be able to do the same.”

“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,” added Shaw, the critic for Environment.

Under the NDP’s proposed bill, fossil fuel producers who are responsible for emissions at a globally detectable level will be held strictly liable for the climate related harm that they cause in Ontario. The bill sets out a framework for related lawsuits and the nature of evidence to be produced.

“The people of Ontario are facing costs in the multi-billions for climate damage and for investments to protect life and health from climate driven extreme weather events,” commented Bell. “They have every right to secure compensation from the oil, gas and coal companies that made this damage possible, in fact inevitable.”

“Working families are already pressed to the limit with day-to-day costs, they should not also bear the cost of higher insurance rates, higher taxes and higher food costs all driven by the climate damage these companies have enabled,” added Begum.