Law:Nuclear Liability Act

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R.s.c., 1985, c. N-28

An Act respecting civil liability for nuclear damage


Contents

Short Title

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Nuclear Liability Act.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 1.


Interpretation

Definitions

2. In this Act,

“Commission”

« commission »

“Commission” means a Nuclear Damage Claims Commission established pursuant to Part II;

“damage”

« dommage »

“damage”, in relation to any damage to property within the meaning of section 3, means any loss of or damage to property, whether real or personal, and, for the purposes of any other provision of this Act, includes any damage arising out of or attributable to any loss of or damage to that property;

“injury”

« blessure »

“injury” means personal injury and includes loss of life;

“Minister”

« ministre »

“Minister” means such member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada as is designated by the Governor in Council as the Minister for the purposes of this Act;

“nuclear incident”

« accident nucléaire »

“nuclear incident” means an occurrence resulting in injury or damage that is attributable to a breach of the duty imposed on an operator by this Act;

“nuclear installation”

« installation nucléaire »

“nuclear installation” means a structure, establishment or place, or two or more structures, establishments or places at a single location, coming within any of the following descriptions and designated as a nuclear installation for the purposes of this Act by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, namely,

(a) a structure containing nuclear material in such an arrangement that a self-sustaining chain process of nuclear fission can be maintained therein without an additional source of neutrons, including any such structure that forms part of the equipment of a ship, aircraft or other means of transportation,

(b) a factory or other establishment that processes or reprocesses nuclear material, or

(c) a place in which nuclear material is stored other than incidentally to the carriage of the material;

“nuclear material”

« substance nucléaire »

“nuclear material” means

(a) any material, other than thorium or natural or depleted uranium uncontaminated by significant quantities of fission products, that is capable of releasing energy by a self-sustaining chain process of nuclear fission,

class="Paragra(b) radioactive material produced in the production or utilization of material referred to in paragraph (a), and

(c) material made radioactive by exposure to radiation consequential on or incidental to the production or utilization of material referred to in paragraph (a),

but does not include radioactive isotopes that are not combined, mixed or associated with material referred to in paragraph (a);

“operator”

« exploitant »

“operator” means the holder of a subsisting licence issued pursuant to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act for the operation of a nuclear installation or, in relation to any nuclear installation for the operation of which there is no subsisting licence, the recipient of the licence last issued pursuant to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act for the operation of that nuclear installation.

R.S., 1985, c. N-28, s. 2; 1997, c. 9, s. 109.


Part I. Liability For Nuclear Incidents

Duty of Operator

Duty imposed on operator

3. Subject to this Act, an operator is under a duty to secure that no injury to any other person or damage to any property of any other person is occasioned as a result of the fissionable or radioactive properties, or a combination of any of those properties with toxic, explosive or other hazardous properties, of

(a) nuclear material that is in the nuclear installation of which he is the operator;

(b) nuclear material that, having been in the nuclear installation of which he is the operator, has not subsequently been in a nuclear installation operated under lawful authority by any other person; or

(c) nuclear material that is in the course of carriage from outside Canada to the nuclear installation of which he is the operator or is in a place of storage incidental to that carriage.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 3.


Absolute Liability of Operator

Operator liable for breach of duty

4. Subject to this Act, an operator is, without proof of fault or negligence, absolutely liable for a breach of the duty imposed on him by this Act.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 4.

Operators jointly and severally liable

5. Where liability under this Act in respect of the same injury or damage is incurred by two or more operators, the liability of the operators shall, to the extent that the injury or damage attributable to a breach of the duty imposed on each of them by this Act is not reasonably separable, be treated as joint and several.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 5.

Certain other damage deemed to be attributable to breach of duty

6. Injury or damage that, though not attributable to a breach of the duty imposed on an operator by this Act, is not reasonably separable from injury or damage that is attributable to a breach of that duty shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to be attributable to that breach of duty.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 6.


Exceptions

No liability where incident due to act of armed conflict

7. An operator is not liable for injury or damage of the kind described in section 3 if the nuclear incident resulting in the injury or damage occurred as a direct result of an act of armed conflict in the course of war, invasion or insurrection.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 7.

No liability to person responsible for nuclear incident

8. An operator is not liable for injury or damage suffered by any person if the nuclear incident resulting in the injury or damage occurred wholly or partly as a result of an unlawful act or omission of that person done or omitted to be done with intent to cause injury or damage.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 8.

Not liable for damage to nuclear installation or other property thereon

9. (1) Where a nuclear incident occurs at a nuclear installation, the operator thereof is not liable for damage caused by the nuclear incident to the nuclear installation, to property on the premises of the nuclear installation that is used or to be used in connection with the nuclear installation or to the ship, aircraft or other means of transportation of which the nuclear installation forms part of the equipment.

Not liable for damage to means of carriage

(2) Where a nuclear incident occurs in the course of the carriage of nuclear material or while the material is in storage incidental to its carriage, an operator is not liable for damage to the means of carriage or to the place where the material is stored.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 9.


Limitations

No right of recourse or indemnity

10. Subject to this Act, an operator has no right of recourse or indemnity against any person in respect of his liability under this Act for any injury or damage attributable to a breach of the duty imposed on him by this Act.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 10.

No other person liable

11. Except as otherwise provided by or pursuant to this Act, no person is liable for any injury or damage attributable to a breach of the duty imposed on an operator by this Act.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 11.

Certain rights and obligations not limited

12. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as limiting or restricting

(a) any right or obligation of any person arising under

(i) any contract of insurance, including any insurance required by subsection 15(1) to be maintained by an operator,

(ii) any scheme or system of health or hospitalization insurance, employees' compensation or occupational disease compensation, or

(iii) any survivorship or disability provision of or governing any superannuation or pension fund or plan; or

(b) where a nuclear incident resulting in any injury or damage of the kind described in section 3 occurred wholly or partly as a result of an unlawful act or omission of any person done or omitted to be done with intent to cause injury or damage, any right of recourse of an operator against that person.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 12.

Limitation on bringing of actions

13. No action under this Part shall be brought

(a) in the case of a claim for injury other than loss of life, or for damage to property, after three years from the earliest date on which the person making the claim had knowledge or ought reasonably to have had knowledge of the injury or damage, or

(b) in the case of a claim for loss of life,

(i) after three years from the date of the death of the person for whose loss of life the claim is made, or

(ii) where conclusive evidence of the death of that person is not available, after three years from the date an order presuming the person to be dead is made by a court having jurisdiction in those matters,

and in no case shall any such action be brought after ten years from the date the cause of action arose.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 13.


Jurisdiction of Courts

Where action under this Part is to be brought

14. (1) An action under this Part shall be brought in the court that, having regard to the parties, the nature of the action and the amount involved, has jurisdiction and that exercises jurisdiction

(a) in the place where the injury or damage resulting from the nuclear incident in respect of which the action is brought was occasioned, or

(b) where the nuclear incident in respect of which the action is brought resulted in injury or damage occasioned in places in which more than one court would otherwise have jurisdiction under this subsection, in the place where the nuclear installation at or in relation to which the nuclear incident occurred was situated or, in the case of a nuclear installation that formed part of the equipment of a ship, aircraft or other means of transportation, was declared to be situated for the purposes of this section by the licence described in the definition "operator" in section 2 relating to that nuclear installation,

and that court, for the purpose of any question raised in the action relating to the place where the injury or damage was occasioned, shall be deemed to have jurisdiction throughout Canada.

Other laws and rules of practice and procedure to apply

(2) Except to the extent that they are inconsistent with any provision of this Act, all laws in force in the province where an action under this Part is brought and the rules of practice and procedure of the court in which the action is brought apply to the action.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 14.


Insurance and Financial Responsibility

Operator to maintain insurance

15. (1) An operator shall, with respect to each nuclear installation of which he is the operator, maintain with an approved insurer insurance against the liability imposed on him by this Act, consisting of

(a) basic insurance for such term and for such amount not exceeding seventy-five million dollars as may be prescribed with respect to that nuclear installation by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, with the approval of the Treasury Board, and

(b) supplementary insurance for the same term and for an amount equal to the difference, if any, between the amount prescribed under paragraph (a) and seventy-five million dollars,

and containing such terms and conditions as are approved by the Minister.

Minister to designate approved insurers

(2) The Minister may designate as an approved insurer for the purposes of this Act any insurer or association of insurers that meets the requirements that, in his opinion, are necessary for the proper performance of the obligations to be undertaken by an approved insurer.

R.S., 1985, c. N-28, s. 15; 1997, c. 9, s. 110.

Reinsurance agreements

16. (1) Subject to the approval of the Treasury Board, the Minister may, with respect to the supplementary insurance described in paragraph 15(1)(b), enter into an agreement with an approved insurer reinsuring the risk assumed by that insurer on such terms and conditions, including the payment of such fee, as the Minister deems appropriate.

Agreements to be laid before Parliament

(2) An agreement entered into under this section shall be laid before Parliament within fifteen days after the making thereof or, if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that either House of Parliament is sitting.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 16.

Nuclear Liability Reinsurance Account

17. All amounts payable by Her Majesty pursuant to an agreement entered into under section 16 shall be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and charged to a special account in the accounts of Canada to be known as the Nuclear Liability Reinsurance Account, and all amounts received by Her Majesty pursuant to the agreement shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and credited to that Account.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 17.


Part Ii. Special Measures For Compensation

Proclamations

Issue of proclamation

18. Where the Governor in Council is of the opinion that

(a) the liability of an operator under Part I in respect of a nuclear incident could exceed seventy-five million dollars, or

(b) as a result of any injury or damage attributable to a nuclear incident, it is in the public interest to provide special measures for compensation,

the Governor in Council shall by proclamation declare that this Part applies in respect of that nuclear incident.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 18.

Effect of proclamation

19. Subject to section 20, where a proclamation is issued pursuant to section 18, the operator otherwise liable for any injury or damage resulting from the nuclear incident described in the proclamation ceases to be liable for the injury or damage, and any proceedings under Part I in respect of that nuclear incident including proceedings to enforce judgment, brought or taken against the operator in any court either before or after the issue of the proclamation, are forever stayed.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 19.

Liability of operator to Her Majesty

20. (1) An operator described in section 19 is liable to Her Majesty for an amount equal to the lesser of

(a) the amount of insurance that he is required by paragraph 15(1)(a) to maintain in respect of the nuclear installation at or in relation to which the nuclear incident occurred, and

(b) the aggregate of all amounts paid pursuant to sections 27 and 30 in respect of any injury and damage resulting from the nuclear incident.

Amount to be paid in accordance with demands

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the amount for which an operator is liable to Her Majesty under subsection (1) shall be paid to Her Majesty by the operator in accordance with demands therefor made by the Minister to the operator, and in the event of failure by the operator to pay any amount so demanded, the approved insurer with whom the insurance referred to in subsection (1) was maintained is liable to Her Majesty for that amount.

Limitation

(3) The aggregate of the amounts demanded from an operator by the Minister pursuant to subsection (2) shall not in any year exceed the aggregate of the amounts paid under sections 27 and 30 during that year in respect of any injury or damage resulting from the nuclear incident.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 20.


Establishment of Commission

Governor in Council to establish Commission to deal with claims

21. (1) Where a proclamation has been issued pursuant to section 18, the Governor in Council shall establish a Nuclear Damage Claims Commission, consisting of a chairman, a vice-chairman and not less than one other member, to deal with claims for compensation arising out of the nuclear incident described in that proclamation.

Qualifications of commissioners

(2) The chairman and vice-chairman of a Commission and, where the other members of a Commission number more than two, not less than a majority of the other members, shall be appointed from among persons who are

(a) judges of the superior or county courts of Canada; or

(b) barristers or advocates of at least ten years standing at the bar of any of the provinces.

Powers of chairman

(3) The chairman is the chief executive officer of a Commission and has the control and direction of the work and staff of the Commission, but if the chairman is absent or unable to act or if the office is vacant, the vice-chairman of the Commission has all the powers and may perform all the functions of the chairman.

Eligibility

(4) A person who has reached the age of seventy years is not eligible to be appointed to a Commission and a person appointed to a Commission ceases to hold office on reaching the age of seventy years.

Increase or decrease in number of commissioners

(5) Subject to this section, the Governor in Council may at any time increase or reduce the number of members of a Commission.

Remuneration and other expenses

(6) Members of a Commission, other than a member in receipt of a salary or pension under the Judges Act, shall be paid such remuneration as may be fixed by the Governor in Council, and every member of a Commission is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and other expenses while absent from his ordinary place of residence in the course of his duties under this Act.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 21.

Staff of Commission

22. A Commission may employ such officers and employees as it considers necessary for the proper conduct of its activities, may prescribe their duties and the terms and conditions of their employment and, with the approval of the Treasury Board, may fix and pay their remuneration and expenses.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 22.

Existing Commission may be authorized to act

23. Where a Commission has been established pursuant to section 21 and a proclamation is issued pursuant to section 18 declaring that this Part applies in respect of another nuclear incident, the Governor in Council may instead of establishing another Commission designate that Commission to be the Commission to deal with claims for compensation arising out of that nuclear incident.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 23.

Powers of a Commission

24. (1) Subject to this Act, a Commission has exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine every claim brought before it for compensation arising out of the nuclear incident in respect of which it was established or designated and, in its discretion, to decide the amount of compensation to be awarded in respect of that claim.

Exercise of powers

(2) A Commission shall comply with and shall exercise its jurisdiction in accordance with this Part and any regulations made under this Part.

Rules

(3) A Commission may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, make rules respecting

(a) the procedures for bringing claims;

(b) the time and place for sittings;

(c) the conduct of hearings; and

(d) the fees and travel expenses to be paid to witnesses.

Hearing of claims

(4) The chairman of a Commission may direct that a claim shall be heard by the Commission or by three or more members of the Commission.

Quorum

(5) Where the chairman of a Commission has directed that a claim is to be heard by the Commission or by more than two members of the Commission, a majority of the Commission or of those members directed to hear the claim, as the case may be, constitutes a quorum for the hearing of the claim.

Rendering of decisions

(6) Where a claim is heard by more than two members of a Commission, a decision thereon may be rendered by a majority of the members directed to hear the claim, and a decision so rendered has the same force and effect as if it had been rendered by the Commission.

Reports

(7) A Commission shall make such reports as the Minister may require it to make.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 24.

Evidence at hearings

25. (1) A Commission is not, in the hearing of any claim, bound by the legal rules of evidence.

Powers with respect to witnesses and documents

(2) A Commission has, with respect to the attendance, summoning and examination of witnesses and the production and inspection of documents, all such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in a superior court of record in civil cases.

Foreign evidence

(3) A Commission may issue commissions to take evidence outside Canada, and may make orders for that purpose and for the return and use of the evidence so obtained.

Examinations and investigations

(4) A Commission may

(a) make such examinations and investigations respecting a nuclear incident and injury or damage attributable thereto as it considers desirable or engage other persons to make the examinations or investigations on its behalf;

(b) require persons claiming compensation to undergo physical or other examinations or to assist in any investigation being carried out by or on behalf of the Commission; and

(c) take such other steps as it considers necessary or desirable to determine the suffering or hardship of persons affected by a nuclear incident.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 25.


Compensation Orders

Awards of compensation

26. (1) Where a Commission decides that compensation should be awarded in respect of a claim heard by it, the Commission shall issue an order specifying the amount of compensation awarded and the amount of any payments that may have been made by the operator, or any person on behalf of the operator, to or in respect of the person named in the order, on account of the injury or damage for which the award of compensation is made.

Orders to be sent to Minister

(2) Every order made by a Commission pursuant to subsection (1) shall be sent by the Commission to the Minister or to a person authorized by the Minister to receive it.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 27.

Payment of awards

27. On receipt of an order described in section 26, the Minister may, subject to any regulations made by the Governor in Council under this Part, pay out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to or in respect of the person entitled thereto an amount equal to the difference between the amount of compensation awarded as specified in the order, and the aggregate amount of the payments, if any, specified in the order as having been made to or in respect of the person named in the order and any interim financial assistance paid to or in respect of that person pursuant to section 30.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 28.

Regulations respecting claims for compensation

28. (1) The Governor in Council may, with respect to claims for compensation under this Part arising out of a nuclear incident in respect of which this Part applies, make regulations

(a) providing for the payment by instalments of compensation awarded by order of a Commission;

(b) providing for pro rata payments in satisfaction of compensation awarded by order of a Commission;

(c) establishing priorities among persons claiming compensation, on the basis of classes of persons, categories of injury or damage, or any other basis that he considers appropriate;

(d) excluding, temporarily or permanently, any kind or class of injury or damage from the injury or damage for which compensation may be awarded by order of a Commission;

(e) respecting the proving of injury or damage before a Commission;

(f) providing for the prescription of claims for compensation by the effluxion of time; and

(g) respecting the giving of notices to persons affected by the proceedings or decisions of a Commission.

Regulations to be submitted to Parliament

(2) Any regulations made by the Governor in Council under this section shall be laid before Parliament forthwith after they are made, or, if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that either House of Parliament is sitting.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 29.

Power to make agreements

29. With the approval of the Governor in Council, the Minister or a Commission may, on behalf of the Government of Canada, enter into agreements or arrangements with the government of any province or with any person or group of persons for the carrying out of any duty or function in relation to the payment of compensation under this Part.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 30.


Interim Financial Assistance

Regulations providing for payment of interim financial assistance

30. (1) Where the Governor in Council, as a result of the distress, suffering or hardship caused by a nuclear incident, is of opinion that it is necessary to provide interim financial assistance to persons affected by the nuclear incident, he may make regulations providing for the payment by the Minister out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of interim financial assistance to or in respect of those persons and may by those regulations

(a) specify the persons or classes of persons to or in respect of whom the assistance may be paid; and

(b) fix or determine the amounts that may be so paid to or in respect of any persons or classes of persons, and the terms and conditions on which the amounts may be paid.

Authorization of Commission to act

(2) The Governor in Council may authorize a Commission to perform any duty or function in relation to the provision of interim financial assistance pursuant to subsection (1) and may authorize the Commission to issue warrants for the payment of the assistance.

Warrant deemed to be cheque

(3) A warrant issued by a Commission pursuant to subsection (2) shall be deemed to be a cheque lawfully drawn on the account of the Receiver General in accordance with the Financial Administration Act.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 31.


Limit of Payments

Limit

31. Except as otherwise authorized by Parliament, the aggregate of all amounts paid pursuant to sections 27 and 30 shall not, in respect of any one nuclear incident, exceed seventy-five million dollars.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 32.


Part Iii. General

Binding on Her Majesty

32. (1) Subject to subsection (2), this Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

Her Majesty deemed to be operator

(2) Where Her Majesty in right of Canada operates a nuclear installation, Her Majesty shall, for all purposes of this Act except sections 15 and 20, be deemed to be the operator thereof.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 33.

Operator not liable where injury or damage occasioned outside Canada

33. (1) Except as may be provided for in rules made under subsection (3), an operator is not liable for any injury or damage occasioned outside Canada

(a) that is attributable to a breach of the duty imposed on him by this Act, or

(b) for which he may be liable pursuant to any law of a place outside Canada relating to liability for injury or damage resulting from the production, processing, carriage, storage, use or disposition of nuclear material,

and no court in Canada has jurisdiction to entertain any application or grant any relief or remedy arising out of or relating to any such injury or damage occasioned outside Canada.

Reciprocating countries

(2) Where the Governor in Council is of the opinion that satisfactory arrangements exist in any country for compensation for injury or damage resulting from the production, processing, carriage, storage, use or disposition of nuclear material in that country, including any such injury or damage occasioned in Canada, he may declare that country to be a reciprocating country for the purposes of this Act.

Rules implementing compensation arrangements with reciprocating countries

(3) The Governor in Council may, with respect to a reciprocating country, make such rules as he considers necessary to implement any arrangement between Canada and the reciprocating country relating to compensation for injury or damage resulting from the production, processing, carriage, storage, use or disposition of nuclear material.

Idem

(4) A rule made under subsection (3) may modify any provision of Part I of this Act relating to liability or the jurisdiction of courts, to the extent that the Governor in Council considers necessary in order to give effect to an arrangement described in that subsection.

R.S., c. 29(1st Supp.), s. 34.


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