Will Canadian insurers be on the hook for climate polluters? A lecture Nov. 25 explores this question

Dianne Saxe

The appetite for suing the biggest climate polluters is growing and, as a result, so too is the risk to Canadian insurers. At a York University Faculty of Environmental Studies lecture on Nov. 25, respected environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe will discuss how the rising concern over climate is changing the game.

Diane Saxe
Diane Saxe

Saxe will discuss how the evolving climate crisis is creating new opportunities for judges to hold major climate polluters accountable and how that will affect Canadian insurers going forward. Despite Canada’s small population, the risk is large as this country is one of the top 10 most climate-polluting on the planet.

In February, Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) warned Canadian insurers that climate liability must be “top of mind.” Not long after, a little-known Quebec Court of Appeal decision against Canada’s tobacco companies provided a powerful precedent for holding climate polluters liable.

This is at a time when climate leaders are calling for a wave of lawsuits against the biggest carbon emitters. Even unsuccessful cases could increase the legal and financial risk of continuing business as usual. Saxe explores what we can learn from the tobacco cases, and how Canadian companies can protect themselves.

The lecture, titled “Climate Liability in Canada,” takes place Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Osgoode Professional Development Centre, 1 Dundas S. W., 26th Floor, Toronto.