Reducing Risk By Creating Accountability

Elizabeth Brubaker
June 4, 2001

Energy Probe Research Foundation’s submission to the Walkerton Inquiry’s Expert Meeting on Guiding Principles for Drinking Water Safety explores the critical role played by legal liability in risk management.

“The distribution of accountability is, in essence, the allocation of risk. It governs who is responsible and, ultimately, who will pay the price if things go wrong. But accountability is not merely about punishment: More important, it is about prevention. The distribution of accountability affects the level of care that is taken by various parties. Different accountability regimes assign different levels of responsibility to the regulator, the provider, the polluter, and the public…. The current accountability regime in Ontario does little to increase the level of care or to minimize the risks inherent in the treatment and distribution of drinking water and the collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater. It is rare for polluters, providers, or regulators to be held accountable for the costs and risks of their actions or inactions. Risks are all too often borne by consumers, down-streamers, and taxpayers.”

Read the full submission here: Reducing Risk By Creating Accountability

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