Montreal, December 5, 2022- The Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) is delighted that an ICSID Arbitral Tribunal decided, on November 21, 2022, to reject the claim for approximately $150 million by the American company Lone Pine Resources Inc. (“Lone Pine”). 

CQDE sought and obtained permission to intervene in this case as a friend of the court in order to defend the legal legitimacy of An Act to limit oil and gas activities adopted by the Quebec government, in light of the precautionary principle in environmental law.  

“Since our intervention in 2017, we have been eagerly awaiting the outcome of this long process. We are relieved that the decision was favourable and hope that it will help to increase the political will to enact broad-ranging legislative measures to rigorously protect the environment and public health, both in Quebec and the rest of Canada,” explains Geneviève Paul, Executive Director of the CQDE.

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Additional information:

It will be recalled that, in 2011, following public consultations and scientific research demonstrating the particular risks for the unique ecosystem of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec adopted An Act to limit oil and gas activities, instituting a complete ban on exploration and exploitation activities in a section of the river. In doing so, the licences that had been granted to oil companies were revoked, without compensation for these companies, all of which were Canadian.

The American company Lone Pine brought an action against Canada on the basis of a contract it held with Junex Inc., a Canadian firm whose licence has been revoked. Essentially, Lone Pine sued Canada pursuant to the investor protection provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to obtain compensation, in particular for loss of profits from future exploitation.

NAFTA was replaced by the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), signed on November 30, 2018, on the sidelines of the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and which entered into force on July 1, 2020. Pursuant to CUSMA, effective July 2, 2023, Canada can no longer be subject to lawsuits by American or Mexican private companies.