The Supreme Court of Canada rejected on Thursday to authorize the appeal of the judgment that Chevron Canada is not responsible for pollution caused in the Amazon rainforest by its parent company, Chevron.
As is the norm in the highest court in Canada, the Supreme Court did not justify the reasons for refusing to authorize the appeal but did say that the costs of the process should be paid by the plaintiffs.
Indigenous Ecuadorian groups affected by pollution have asked Canadian courts to declare Chevron Canada responsible for the actions of the parent company, but in January 2018 the Superior Court of the Canadian province of Ontario rejected the argument.
Subsequently, in May of that same year, the Court of Appeals of Ontario rejected the appeal on the grounds that accepting it would cause "substantial changes in the fundamental principles" of Canadian corporate law.
Despite this, one of the three judges of the Court of Appeals opposed the majority opinion and stated in a separate statement that the conclusion that Chevron Canada is not an asset of Chevron is completely unrelated to reality. "
Chevron Vice President R. Hewitt Pate said in a statement that they are "pleased that Canada's highest judicial authority has put an end to the plaintiffs' attempts to execute the corrupt Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron's indirect subsidiary. in Canada. "
Between 1964 and 1992, the Texaco company, which was acquired in 2000 by Chevron for around 36,000 million US dollars caused environmental pollution and serious social damages in the Amazonian region of Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian courts sentenced Chevron for the contamination and established a compensation of 9,500 million dollars.
But Çhevron refused to pay the compensation and rejected the legitimacy of the Ecuadorian court, for which the Ecuadorian indigenous communities affected by the contamination decided to sue their subsidiary Chevron Canada to be declared jointly and severally liable for the payment of compensation.
Paul Paz Miño, associate director of Amazon Watch, an organization that has provided support to the plaintiffs, said the decision "is an affront to the idea of corporate responsibility and a message to those seeking justice against corporations responsible for environmental crimes and crimes against humanity." human rights".
Paz Miño added that "Chevron has what represents a hidden bank account in Canada in its subsidiary and the funds in that account should be appropriate to force Chevron to pay for cleaning."
"This last sentence is another example of how judicial systems raise the rights of corporations over those communities, in this case indigenous and people of color," concluded Paz Miño.