Published on November 5, 2008
Adaptation and the Law IPAC October 28, 2008 Dianne Saxe, Ph.D.
Overview Legal Options: Statute Standards Contract Tort Tort Law: Negligence Duty of care Duty to adapt? October 2008 Dianne Saxe 2
Legal Options Statute Regulations/ statutory instruments Tax Standards Contract Tort October 2008 Dianne Saxe 3
Who do you want to decide? Governments Standards bodies Contracting parties Judges October 2008 Dianne Saxe 4
Statutes might Exclude liability (statutory immunity) Limit liability (caps) Allocate liability Require adaptation Require / create insurance EA/ permits October 2008 Dianne Saxe 5
Standards might Improve risk/ harm predictions Improve vulnerability assessment Revise infrastructure / building specifications Increase local/ distributed generation October 2008 Dianne Saxe 6
Contracts might Allocate / exclude liability (eg landlord/ tenant; APS) Assign responsibility (eg erosion protection) Provide for: Insurance Mutual aid October 2008 Dianne Saxe 7
Tort Law (judges) might find Negligent failures to adapt: Duty of care Breach (standard of care / due diligence) Causation Injury / Damage October 2008 Dianne Saxe 8
Basic Duty of Care To avoid causing unreasonable harm To my neighbour October 2008 Dianne Saxe 9
Who is my Neighbour? Donoghue v. Stevenson,  A.C. 562 Kamloops v. Neilson,  2 S.C.R. 2 Governments have a lot of neighbours… October 2008 Dianne Saxe 10
What’s unreasonable harm? Likelihood Severity October 2008 Dianne Saxe 11
What’s unreasonable? Statute Contract Precedent Analogy October 2008 Dianne Saxe 12
Statutes, e.g. CEPA, 1999 Fisheries Act prevent spills, HADD Provincial laws on: Water quality / quantity Storm drainage Occupational health and safety Drinking water Health October 2008 Dianne Saxe 13
So, who is my neighbour? Power to prevent Relationship Expertise Reliance Foreseeability Notice October 2008 Dianne Saxe 14
Power to prevent Scarboro (Scarborough) Golf & Country Club Ltd. v. Scarborough (City) (1988), 66 O.R. (2d) 257 (Ont. C.A.) Johnson v. Milton (Town), 2008 ONCA 440 (Ont. C.A.) October 2008 Dianne Saxe 15
Relationship Gov’t has lots of neighbours Expertise Reliance October 2008 Dianne Saxe 16
Foreseeability Overseas Tankship (U.K.) Ltd. v. Mort’s Dock - The Wagon Mound (No. 1),  A.C. 388 (P.C.) Assiniboine South School Division No. 3 v. Greater Winnipeg Gas Co.,  4 W.W.R. 746 (Man. C.A.) October 2008 Dianne Saxe 17
Foreseeable Climate Impacts Fiercer Storms Inadequate infrastructure (water, energy, transportation) Floods / droughts Erosion Wind Heat (heat stress, smog) Fires Water resources (supply and quality) Species change, protection and management Disease vectors October 2008 Dianne Saxe 18
Lots of potential claims Who will they sue? October 2008 Dianne Saxe 19
Limits on duties of care Statutory protection Statutory authority / immunity Gov’t: Policy / Operational Proximity/ Remoteness October 2008 Dianne Saxe 20
Statutory authority Protects when adverse impact is necessary and inevitable consequence of providing public service, e.g. airplane noise at airport Rarely helpful October 2008 Dianne Saxe 21
Statutory immunity: Alberta Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. -26, s. 528 For operation or non-operation of public utility (includes water, sewer systems), there is no proceeding for nuisance no action based on any other tort that does not require a finding of intention or negligence October 2008 Dianne Saxe 22
Gov’t: Policy/ Operational? Policy - political nature; accountable to electorate or legislature, not the courts Friends of Earth v. Minister of the Environment (KPIA), 2008 FC 1183 (F.C. Oct 20, 2008) No duty to regulate Holland v. British Columbia, 2008 CarswellBC 1523 (B.C. S.C.) Duty of care if operational- the practical execution of decisions/ activities Kamloops v. Nielsen,  2 S.C.R. 2 Just v. British Columbia,  2 S.C.R. 1228 October 2008 Dianne Saxe 23
Proximity/ Remoteness Cooper v. Hobart,  3 S.C.R. 537 Edwards v. Law Society,  S.C.J. No. 77 Eliopoulos v. Ontario, O.J. No. 4400 (Ont. C.A.) Mustapha v. Culligan, 2008 SCC 27 October 2008 Dianne Saxe 24
Negligence, a reminder Duty of care is only the first of four elements: Duty Breach Causation Injury And there are other torts October 2008 Dianne Saxe 25
Overview Legal Options: Statute Contract Tort Tort Law: Negligence Duty of care Duty to adapt? October 2008 Dianne Saxe 26
Duty to Adapt? Types of damage Safety? Health? Property damage? Economic loss? October 2008 Dianne Saxe 27
So, who is my neighbour? Power to prevent Relationship Expertise Reliance Foreseeability Notice October 2008 Dianne Saxe 28
Duty to adapt? Employment Physical assets Permitting Inadequate standards Negligent misrepresentation October 2008 Dianne Saxe 29
Employment Duty to provide safe workplace, OSHA Wind Heat Flooding Power supply October 2008 Dianne Saxe 30
Physical assets Inadequate for foreseeable climate change? Owned/ occupied land / buildings Trees Infrastructure Sewage pipes Stormwater systems Roads Tunnels/ bridges R. v. Ottawa Carleton (October, 2008) Johnson v. Milton October 2008 Dianne Saxe 31
Permitting Building permits Ingles v. Tutkaluk  1 S.C.R. 298 Heighington v. Ontario (1989), 69 O.R. (2d) 484 (Ont. C.A.) October 2008 Dianne Saxe 32
Inadequate standards Berendsen v. Ontario (2008), 34 C.E.L.R. (3d) 223 (Ont. S.C.J.) Lafarge v. Ontario, 2008 CanLII 30290 (Ont. S.C.J. Div) Dicaire v. Chambly, 2000 CarswellQue 361(Que. CA) October 2008 Dianne Saxe 33
Negligent Misrepresentation Hedley Byrne & Co. v. Heller & Partners,  A.C. 465 (H.L.) “Are we at danger of ____ here?” October 2008 Dianne Saxe 34
Overview Legal Options: Statute Standards Contract Tort Tort Law: Negligence Duty of care Duty to adapt? October 2008 Dianne Saxe 35
Thank you!! Saxe Law Office 248 Russell Hill Road Toronto, Ontario M4V 2T2 Tel: 416-962-5882 Fax: 416-962-8817 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.envirolaw.com October 2008 Dianne Saxe 36
Directrice des Etudes Bachelor Affaires Internationales at Ipac Past Coordinatrice Pédagogique at MBway by IPAC Education
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