A Cause of Action for Regulatory Negligence? The Regulatory Framework for Genetically Modified Crops in Canada and the Potential for Regulator Liability
23 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2012
Date Written: 2009
This paper considers whether, under Canadian law, a government regulatory agency could be found liable for “negligent regulation” of genetically modified (GM) crops. The paper begins with an overview of the Canadian framework for GM crop regulation and notes criticisms about the adequacy of this framework. The state of Canadian law regarding regulatory liability is then analysed. The authors conclude that litigants who wish to assert a claim of regulatory negligence face significant legal barriers, particularly since review of GM crop applications involves weighing complex scientific data and determining tolerable levels of risk, matters that would likely be non-justiciable in a negligence claim. Current jurisprudence, however, leaves open some unresolved bases of liability. The paper closes with a brief overview of recommendations to improve the Canadian regulatory framework for GM crops, focusing particularly on enhancing transparency in the decision-making process.
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